Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
School of Nursing and Health Professions
Problem: The intensive care unit has the highest rate of mortality and patient care costs in the hospital. There are significant challenges in improving care and controlling costs. One solution adopted by many healthcare organizations is intensive care telemedicine. Commonly known as eICUs or Tele Critical Care (TCC). These specialty units provide access to intensivists and nurses 24-hours a day and has shown success in reducing mortality and length of stay while providing cost savings.
Challenges exist in introducing telemedicine to a new setting. Barriers identified are high initial cost of equipment, competing priorities for resources, and nurse acceptance. The purpose of this paper is to focus on improving RN acceptance and perceived usefulness of telemedicine technology by providing staff education through a live class to introduce and familiarize staff with the benefits and rationale for implementing TCC in the target unit.
Context: An 8-bed ICU located in a 50-bed medical center was selected as the target unit for this project. The study population consists of ICU nurses regularly staffed to the unit who will have regular interactions with TCC.
Intervention: A pre and postsurvey using a validated tool, the TCC Implementation Survey, was envisioned for use in this project. These data will inform the direction and content of the educational component. Additional data from ICU quality reports could also guide development of the presentations. The postsurvey would be administered following the class. The goal of this project is to increase staff acceptance and perceived usefulness by 15% above presurvey levels with a 75% attendance rate in class and 80% response rate to the survey.
It was intended for the project to go forward contemporaneously with TCC implementation. Due to impacts of the COVID-19, TCC implementation was halted and the initial plan could not go forward. Also, discussions with union-represented employees did not occur, preventing their participation as a survey group. As a substitute, a small convenience sample of non-represented employees was selected; however, due to IRB concerns for anonymity, the original survey could not be used with this group. A modified qualitative survey was selected and administered to this cohort. The 25-question survey focused on areas of quality, safety, communication, availability of ICU consultation, and clinical decision making. The small sample size of nine participants limited making statistically significant conclusions regarding the results, but the impressions given by the responses give insight into staff acceptance and opportunities to improve care.
Results: The results were graded on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Of note, the question, “I think new technology would diminish independence in my practice,” was found to have the lowest score of 2.4, indicating the staff seem receptive to new technology. In the sections, “Safety climate in your ICU” and “Quality outcomes in your ICU,” the lowest scores were regarding RNs’ (3.2) and doctors’ (3.1.) rounding on the unit, showing a possible need for improvement. Clinical decision-making at night found a positive association regarding the management of antibiotics and pain and sedative medication, with scores of 4.2 in each category. Whereas, the decision to intubate had the lowest mark in this section (3.6). An indication that decision-making in this area may need to be supported.
Conclusions: The initial planning and tools are readily available to proceed when the TCC program resumes. Utilizing the modified survey allowed some data gathering and provided insights into the ICU staff’s perceived needs and perceptions of technology. Going forward, the design of this project could be used to support new-hire on-boarding and provide a refresher to staff during annual skill events.
Dover, Jeffrey, "Tele Critical Care Implementation and Education Project" (2020). Master's Projects and Capstones. 1059.