Last summer, Christie Erickson – a nurse practitioner at
Essentia Health’s Hermantown Clinic – saw that the Journal for Nurse
Practitioners was seeking articles looking at innovative technologies for
providing patient care and improving nursing education. Erickson, who is
preparing to complete her doctorate in nursing practice at the College of St.
Scholastica, had just finished her 100-page thesis. The topic was integrating
telehealth into graduate level nursing curriculums.
“I had never intended to get my thesis published, but when I read that the
journal was seeking articles, I thought ‘I kind of have to do this,’ ” Erickson
says. “They accepted my paper in June and I spent the summer fine-tuning the
article and boiling it down to 5,000 words.”
|Hermantown Clinic Nurse Practitioner Christie Erickson (left) works
with Clinical Assistant Holli DeRosia. Erickson had her research on telehealth
published in the Journal for Nurse
The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, with a circulation of 90,000 readers
nationwide, is a prestigious journal that features original research and serves
as a venue for discussion and feedback on issues affecting nurse
Kate Dean, director of Health Science and Medical Education
at the Essentia Institute of Rural Health, says Erickson’s publication is a
major achievement. “Getting published in a journal like this is not easy.
Christie’s work, conducted in collaboration with Essentia Director of Telehealth
Maureen Ideker, is of high quality and very
relevant as we look toward the future of healthcare delivery. The article also
highlights Essentia’s forward-thinking approach to telehealth,” Dean says.
Telehealth uses video technology to connect patients and medical
professionals. It allows patients to interact in real time with a long-distance
physician, specialist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dietitian or
pharmacist from the convenience of patients' local hospitals or clinics,
avoiding long trips to out-of-town specialists. Essentia currently has
telehealth in more than 20 different specialties at 25 sites.
While researching her thesis, Erickson noted only one medical school in the
country offered telehealth as an elective. Many used telehealth capabilities for
lectures and videoconferences, but none used it for direct patient care.
“Because telehealth is a means for providing services to underserved, rural
populations, it’s vital to incorporate such education in technology into
graduate nursing curriculums,” explains Erickson, who began her career 22 years
ago as a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center. “Expanding telehealth
services are a reality. It’s a way for a new graduates to collaborate with other
medical professionals and allows the rural nurse practitioner to feel less
isolated and more supported.”
Erickson became deeply involved in telehealth about six years ago when the
College of St. Scholastica in Duluth received a grant to purchase several
telehealth carts. The college donated the carts to Essentia Health on the
condition that Essentia would provide services and teach Scholastica students by
offering clinical opportunities. That’s when Erickson got involved.
“Credit goes to those who initially started to do telehealth in Essentia –
dietitians and nurse practitioners in the congestive heart failure clinic at St.
Mary’s Heart & Vascular Center and the Diabetes Center at the Duluth Clinic.
Those individuals were teaching students while learning the new technology
themselves,” Erickson says.
Dean notes that the Education Department at EIRH works with many graduate
students on quality improvement and other projects. “While Essentia provides the
resources and location for learning, the findings from these studies often
influence our practice and procedures, helping us to enhance and improve patient
care,” she explains.
We’ve attached Erickson’s journal article below.
Download File (pdf)