Interview with nurse Claudia C. Bartz

To continue the tradition of Medetel interviews, here’s a most interesting discussion that we had with the very experienced nurse Claudia C. Bartz:

“I’m Claudia Bartz, I live in Wisconsin, US. My lifetime as a nurse includes a career in the US Army, I retired in 1999 and then I spent about 5 years at the University of Wisconsin at the College of Nursing, teaching a few semesters and I was project director on 4 grants. Then I met the person at the University who was working for the International Council of Nurses and we decided, back in 2005, that I would work with her and since I spent 10 years with ICN. It is a really fantastic opportunity to see the international side of nursing ! Then in 2009 I started managing the new ICN Telenursing network.

About the same time the ISfTeH invited the ICN CEO to give a plenary speach here at Medetel and David was unable to come and I ended up doing it instead of him. So that was my first introduction to Medetel and it was really great and from the start I found it was an organization open to nursing, partially because Frank Lievens is soliciting nurses and other professionals in addition to physicians and I’ve been coming every year ever since and presenting at least one paper.

Several years ago we started organizing virtual nursing sessions too and also during the year we had several educational sessions using the animated platform from the ISfTeH. So, it’s been really great, I really find it a very welcoming organization, I like the smallness of it and multidisciplinary nature. My primary wish would be that more nurses could attend, unfortunately they don’t have the money for registration and traveling.

Then I retired from ICN and University in 2015 and now I’m self-directed. I’ll plan to stay as the chair of the Telenursing working group, make a contribution as much as I can.

Why an interest in Telenursing ?

A long time ago, when I was working as a clinical nurse I worked in critical care. So you are exposed to more machinery there than in any other kind of care delivery and I was never frightened, I guess, by new technology. And with the army I lived in Belgium and Germany, Ethiopia … around the world pretty much and I’ve seen a lot. And as distance education became more popular I could see that there was an application already in existence for healthcare and so many opportunities, I just joined the stream. It just makes so much sense to me. Now especially I live in a rural area and so much education needs to be done and so many opportunities exist for distance education.

Please explain what is Telenursing in practice.

It’s like asking what’s nursing, depends on who you ask. Telehealth nursing is nursing practice that deals with people with healthcare needs or people with educational needs (such as nurses or families) over distances and barriers. In a city area a barrier might be not being able to get to a healthcare facility. Or another example: a nurse from Nigeria came to Medetel a few years ago and explained how she worked with the nursing minimum data set (you collect the minimum data on every client and you have an idea of the culture of the clients; he vital signs, their location, complaints). I was here at Medetel , she was presenting her work and I was just so excited to see that the idea of the minimum data made it all the way to Nigeria. It was so exciting how she was helping all these women stay at home and not have to go the whole distance to the care facility to get the treatment that she could deliver at their homes. To me that was really a neat example.

Please give a short resumé of your presentation about Telehealth Education for Nurses.

What I’m trying to differentiate is normal education that we all need (all healthcare providers) versus Telehealth education and it goes back to the definition. Some of my nurse colleagues say “every nurse uses at least a telephone, so every nurse is a Telenurse”. But I don’t really agree with that. I think the Telehealth nurse has a greater commitment to not only using the available technology but to pushing further so that more and new kinds of technology.

Telehealth education is of course more about the ICTs and the new ways they can be used to advance the healthcare but also the issue of Data. Because you are obviously generating even more data than before. You acquire it, you store it, you use it … who’s data is it? All the questions around the ethics of data are a big issue for automated systems.

I pointed out that Telehealth care providers need to be motivated to learn about new things and not think “this is what I trained with, this is where I’m staying”. To my knowledge we don’t really have any Telehealth for Nurses master’s program, where as there are plenty of nursing informatics master’s programs. But that’s another specialty and Telehealth nursing gets buried under it”.


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