Changes for the better
I joined the Telemedicine Hub at Airedale Hospital on secondment in November 2013, over 18 months ago now.
I was very nervous at first and felt very much like the new kid on the block, even though I’d spent the last 10 years working in the community as both a nurse and falls practitioner.
I’d never worked in an acute hospital setting but colleagues and other staff were kind and patient and put up with my constant (even now) queries.
After the first few calls, you get used to seeing yourself on the screen and talking to people who could be hundreds of miles away but what amazed me the most was that I liked it – and I hadn’t thought that I would.
I won’t call myself old, but let’s say I’m a nurse of a certain age, old enough to remember being relegated to the sluice as a student nurse when the consultants did their ward rounds; sheets and blankets, not duvets; hospital corners when making the beds; and wearing caps and capes!
What amazed me most was how fantastic the service is. How after years of ‘face to face’ nursing you quickly adapt your clinical consultation skills, how effective, easy and accurate a telemedicine consultation is, but most amazingly, how the patients love it.
They remain in their own home, familiar and comfortable in their own surroundings. Both carers and patients become very used to and recognise the different nurses in the Hub. And also, despite opinion to the contrary, our older patients are not fazed by the technology at all. They embrace it wholeheartedly.
A telemedicine consultation is not there to replace and never should replace a ‘face to face’ one, if that is what’s required but we are here to ensure that the nurses in the community can focus on visiting patients who need that contact and expertise- and telemedicine can play its part in supporting this. I can easily consult, via telemedicine, with double the number of patients I would have seen in their homes in the community, ensuring my community colleagues can visit those patients who need them most.
And I haven’t mentioned the immense effort and hard work that goes on in the Hub to avoid inappropriate hospital admissions and A&E attendances, where it is safe to do so.
Change and new things are unsettling for everyone but I can definitely, wholeheartedly, say that telemedicine is one new change for the better.
Fran Duxbury, Telemedicine Sister