The Newest Member of Your Care Team - McLaren Northern Michigan

There is a new member to the care team at McLaren Northern Michigan. This team member assists patients, supports physicians, and can answer questions for a patient’s family. This team member is there for you on demand at a touch of a button. Have a guess who this new care team member is?

If you guessed nurse, you are right! But this is not just any nurse… it is a Virtual Nurse.

McLaren Northern Michigan employed nurses located within the hospital, as well as BANYAN virtual nurses specially trained to be virtual nurse leaders. These virtual nurses use audio and visual technology to respond to the needs of the patients and caregivers. Virtual nurses can answer questions from the patient and their family, educate patients, give discharge instructions, and display content on the screen.
“The best way to describe it would be FaceTime with a nurse,” stated Jennifer Woods, Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer at McLaren Northern Michigan. “You can ask questions to an experienced nurse. It is a timely conversation with a medical professional.”

It is simple to use for both a patient and family members. When the virtual nurse call button is selected, the virtual nurse will ask if it is ok to turn on the camera. A TV monitor turns on and displays the live nurse and a camera located within the patient room will turn on, allowing the virtual nurse to see the patient. The nurse will always ask for permission to turn on the camera. Patient privacy is of the upmost importance.

“My husband was a patient at McLaren Northern Michigan. The virtual nurse would always ask permission before ‘coming in’ and would answer any question he or I had. She would even update us on tests needed,” stated Irene McCamant. “When he was released, the virtual nurse went through all the discharge information with us. She was very professional.”
The virtual nurse is a resource to patients, bedside nurses, and physicians. Patients will continue to have a dedicated bedside nurse who provides all the hands-on care that is needed to continue the road to recovery, including medical assessments, medication administration, and treatments. The virtual nurse is there to assist with admission, rounding, education, and discharge. Physicians can call the virtual nurse to bring up lab work or imaging results to support the physician consult.

“It is a team effort that results in improved coordination of care, better communication between the patient and care team, and added involvement with health care decisions,” stated Woods. “The virtual nurse will bring more collaboration and care to the patients and families. This is a wonderful addition to care program at McLaren Northern Michigan.”