Telenursing refers to an emerging practice in the field of nursing where nurses can remotely relate, treat, prescribe and respond to patients anywhere in the world with the aids of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs).
There are several factors that are currently responsible for the growing nature of telenursing in the world and in Nigeria in particular such as high demand for easy access and convenience health treatment, high media literacy, access to the internet and other ICTs tool, confidence and determination to explore and seek help anywhere. Another responsible factor is the enactment of laws that and policies by the various parliament especially in the US to support the emerging phenomenon that has been brought by the technology.
Nurses use commercially available protocols that have been developed by physicians & nurses in their own ambulatory care organization to assess the client over the telephone and to recommend approved interventions.
Telenursing started in a form of patients booking appointments with nurses over the telephone line which advancement in information and communication technology has transformed into more responsive, live and interactive. Patients are remotely attended to not only through telephone line today but via smartphone and computer with the aids of various applications and software such as social media (Youtube, Whatsapp, special health apps,), email, blog, Skype and other live streaming tools. In short, nurses and patients are meeting without necessarily having physical contact. It can also paint as a mediated-nursing (Alex, 2016).
It should be noted that the process and scope of telenursing are often the same as the usual nursing that is practised in a physical atmosphere. The major difference now is the use of modern information communication technology to deliver the same message- health treatment or advice when there is a barrier to the physical meeting which could be caused by the distance, time frame, nature of health issue at hand and so on (Dunk, 2004).
This emerging nursing practice is now becoming popular in several developed countries, such as the United States of America, China, the United Kingdom, France among others. Telenursing provides nursing care to each patient, monitor their physical and health condition and interact with them using computers, audio, and visual accessories. It can be practised by nurses who are technologically oriented irrespective of their area of specialization, using technology devices like such as web cameras, internet, telephone, etc, to deliver care over long distances. Telenursing can be done anywhere, provided technology to conduct telehealth session is available in the homes, at doctors’ offices, in the prison clinic and in hospitals. Anywhere there is proper technology could be best-used practice telenursing.
However, due to poor internet access in Nigeria and inadequate ICTs knowledge of advanced communication gadgets among the nurses and most people in the society especially the rural dwellers, telenursing is poorly practised.