How Nurses Are Changing TeleICUs

Only 47% of ICUs in American hospitals employ full-time intensivists, yet nearly 6 million patients are admitted to ICUs annually. That’s why teleICU services are in such great demand – and critical-care nurses are helping shape the future of the remote ICU.

Although the first teleICU programs were designed primarily for physicians, they have steadily evolved to include nurses. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently issued a new consensus document to help health systems across the U.S. better integrate nurses into teleICU care delivery. The new document amplifies the findings from a 2016 AACN survey where almost 80 percent of the ICU nurses polled felt that telehealth gave them opportunities for improving patient care – and 64 percent felt that it improved their job performance.

The consensus statement contains three recommendations for health systems that have teleICU programs:

  • Establish a work environment that encourages communication, collaboration, and collegiality
  • Increase nurse proficiency and competencies needed for the teleICU environment
  • Conduct ongoing research and implement best practices regarding teleICU nurses’ contributions to care


The AACN document concludes that “the contributions of teleICU nurses have expanded to embrace additional risk assessments, interventions and patient safety measures related to issues such as physiologic instability or sepsis.”

Every day, teleICU nurses are helping save the lives of patients who may be miles and hours away. They have an indispensable role to play in tomorrow’s teleICUs.