Innovative telehealth education for Hawaiʻi nursing students

Telehealth equipment expands access to healthcare by connecting a student with a nurse practitioner at a different location.

A new telehealth toolkit is helping to train the future healthcare workforce across the state. A $ 130,000 innovation grant supported the University of Hawaii at Mānoa Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing (NAWSON) ‘s creation of a telehealth training toolkit that is culturally appropriate, immersive and experiential for healthcare providers and students, so they can provide high quality team-based healthcare.

In April 2020, NAWSON was awarded an innovation grant from the State of Hawaii Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund, as part of the federal CARES Act. NAWSON received one of 31 innovation grant awards encompassing STEM education, project-based learning opportunities and leadership development programs. NAWSON‘s Telehealth Training grant was one of 11 UH System GEER grants and was recently successfully completed.

Related: From aerospace to agriculture, grants to UH programs for COVID responses

Watch an informational video overview of the NAWSON Telehealth Training grant.

GEER aimed at fund innovative initiatives that address the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on students, families and educators across the state. Initiatives included creating digital equity, providing support for families and distance learning. The grants also supported continuing efforts to provide quality and impactful educational services and to support the ongoing function of schools and campuses.

NAWSON‘s Deborah Mattheus and Lorrie Wong were co-principal investigators on the Telehealth Training GEER grant.

“Telehealth has emerged as an important tool for healthcare providers,” said Mattheus, Nancy Atmospera-Walch Professor in School Health and associate professor. “By educating nursing students, we can ensure that our graduates are prepared to function utilizing telehealth which can expand quality healthcare to the people of Hawaii without expanding the cost. ”

Mattheus and Wong accomplished four key deliverables:

  • Developed a telehealth toolkit for five UH System nursing programs: Kauaʻi Community College, UH Maui College, Kapiʻolani CC, UH Hilo and UH Mānoa. The toolkit is available online and includes: the basics of the telehealth process; training on how to write, facilitate and debrief a telehealth simulation; and pre-recorded telehealth simulation scenarios and videos related to behavioral health, pediatric illness, acute and chronic disease management for elderly; and women’s health.
  • Purchased telehealth equipment and software licenses for the five UH System nursing programs and provided training on use of the equipment.
  • Trained nursing faculty at the five UH System nursing programs on the implementation of the telehealth toolkit to optimize student learning.
  • Evaluated the five UH System nursing programs trainings.

“Our nursing program is always at the forefront of innovation and technology,” said Wong, interim associate dean for academic affairs, director of UH Translational Health Science Simulation Center and HMSA distinguished professor. “To ensure that our students are prepared for the ever-changing healthcare environment, we quickly integrated telehealth into our nursing curriculum. Telehealth aligns with the existing technology modalities already utilized in our program. We were quite fortunate to receive this grant and were pleased to purchase telehealth equipment and provide training to the other UH nursing programs. ”

Faculty at the UH System nursing programs are currently implementing the telehealth equipment and simulation trainings during the 2022–23 academic year. The dissemination of the telehealth equipment and the telehealth toolkit across the UH System programs allow for statewide training of the future healthcare workforce.

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