Virtual nursing eases workforce challenges at 5 health systems

Five health systems say they've been able to address workforce challenges by adopting virtual nursing.

Peoria, Ill.-based OSF Healthcare said it launched virtual nursing to alleviate staffing deficits on its med-surg units and reduce the heavy workloads of its in-person nurses, Advisory Board reported Sept. 19. The health system plans to measure its effect on nurse satisfaction and retention.

Meanwhile, Charleston, S.C.-based MUSC Health plans to expand its program to four rural hospitals, where the nursing workforce is most challenged, according to the article.

Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health told Becker's virtual nursing has helped older nurses stay in the profession longer and ease the jobs of nurses overall, while Tacoma, Wash.-based MultiCare Health System said it has made up for nursing shortages and provided existing nurses with "cognitive offload."

"What was very clear to us at the onset is that it doesn't matter how good we are at recruiting nurses. It doesn't matter how good we are at retaining nurses. We are never going to have enough if we keep on doing things the way we do them today," Syl Trepanier, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer of Renton, Wash.-based Providence, told Becker's after expanding virtual nursing to nine hospitals in June. "That was the impetus for us to change. Nibbling on the edges is not going to take us there. We really have to blow this model up and look at things very differently. And that's been our driving force."

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