District nurses’ views on and experiences with a telemedicine educational programme in palliative care

Eithne Hayes Bauer*, Georg Bollig, Karin Brochstedt Dieperink

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background
Medical advancements, limited resources and shifting demographics have increased the number of patients with palliative care needs in primary care. To address educational needs, the specialised palliative care team of South Jutland, Denmark, created a telemedicine educational programme in palliative care to empower district nurses.

Aim
The study aimed to explore district nurses’ views on and experiences with a telemedicine educational programme in palliative care.

Research methods
A qualitative explorative study based on interpretive description was conducted. Data collection consisted of four focus group interviews with district nurses from three municipalities, supplemented by participant observations and a focus group interview with teachers from the specialised palliative care team. Data were analysed using predominately inductive thematic analysis.

Results
District nurses (n = 15) who participated in the programme and members of the specialised palliative care team (n = 6) who taught the programme were included. Analysis revealed the following advantages: reaffirming and updating existing knowledge, reduced professional isolation and creation of a forum to promote knowledge dissemination. A disadvantage was limited interaction between teachers and district nurses, questioning suitability for teaching complex palliative care. Initial technical problems affected motivation to participate. Organisational support differed between participating municipalities resulting in varying degrees of programme integration. Despite advantages of IT‐expert‐led sessions, key‐nurse‐led sessions in smaller groups proved more beneficial, suggesting a combination of IT support and key‐nurse management to maximise benefits.

Conclusion
The use of an inter‐professional telemedicine educational programme to teach palliative care to district nurses is beneficial. However, programmes should be designed for interactivity and address varying educational needs. Key‐nurse roles require managerial and IT support to optimise knowledge dissemination. Further research on implementation of telemedicine education in palliative care is needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Volume34
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1083-1093
ISSN0283-9318
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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