Texas Children’s launches Virtual Care Network

January 29, 2024

On January 23, Texas Children’s Hospital launched its most recent major care venture – virtual nursing. The Virtual Care Network will transform the bedside care model, provide on-demand support and offer real-time surveillance.

While virtual nursing has recently grown in popularity among adult hospitals, Texas Children’s is set to be the first major children’s hospital with a robust program. Focused initially on care model redesign, it reimagines typical patient care at the bedside – removing administrative tasks from the bedside nurse and taking family-centered care “beyond the bedside” by offering coordinated, convenient support to patients using technology.

In October, over 60 providers, leaders, parents and care team members assembled to bring the vision for virtual nursing to life. “Innovation is contagious, and nurses are especially primed for it,” said System Chief Nurse Executive Jackie Ward as she opened the kickoff event. “They are critical thinkers who get creative with solutions and look at problems from multiple angles…they are tenacious and caring, constantly assessing situations to improve patient care.”

The NICU is the first department to pilot the virtual nursing care model redesign. This hybrid model adds a virtual nurse to the clinical care team from a remote hub, and through these virtual interactions, parents and caregivers can access supportive resources without interruption of bedside care. Virtual nurses will focus on department orientation following admission, enhanced education, support during the length of stay, and robust discharge readiness planning with intention to expand to different inpatient areas over the next year.

“Protecting our teams from burnout continues to be a top priority…with this redesign of duties, we can work to retain nurses who may have otherwise left the bedside and continue delivering compassionate care to families” shared Ashley Simms, Assistant Vice President, Nursing.

Virtual nursing offers game-changing opportunities around how we cater to our patients, families and nursing teams with evolving needs. The creation of this network highlights all the talents that make us One Amazing Team – problem solving, collaboration, patient advocacy, continuous learning and adaptability.

Stay tuned for more to come from the Virtual Care Network! For more information about the initiative or NICU pilot, please connect with one of our workgroup leaders: