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SoutheastHEALTH Launches Virtual Nursing Program


Healthcare systems across the country have been struggling to keep up with the needs of patient care due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, specifically facing staffing shortages among nurses.

Due to the shortages, many nurses have had to leave their permanent hospital staff jobs and work as traveling nurses, creating new challenges with costly traveling and fragmentation in hospital networks.

Regional hospitals, including SoutheastHEALTH, haven't been immune to these workforce woes. On Friday, January 7, SoutheastHEALTH announced the launch of a new virtual nursing program, providing the hospital with additional nursing coverage, increasing the efficiency in patient care.

SoutheastHEALTH Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Gina Leath explained the nursing program was in the works prior to the pandemic, but it became the priority of focus when the pandemic hit.

While the hospital has offered telehealth opportunities prior to the program, this care allows nurses to provide constant attention and focus to the medical needs of their designated patients, additionally easing the volume of their work.

“Telehealth, traditionally, has been implemented to address Physician support, but this program addresses support for the nurses and patients and really focuses on patient-family education and nurse support,” said Leath.

Leath said virtual nurse technology will act as a support between staff and patients with paperwork, medication history, monitoring, and care coordinating.

Statistics show that more than 70 percent of healthcare providers currently use some form of virtual care, a rise from 54 percent five years ago.