Getting a Picture: A Grounded Theory of Nurses Knowing the Person in a Virtual Environment

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Delivery of care by nurses in virtual environments is rapidly increasing with uptake of digitally mediated technologies, such as remote patient monitoring (RPM). Knowing the person is a phenomenon in nursing practice deemed requisite to building relationships and informing clinical decisions, but it has not been studied in virtual environments. Purpose of Study: The intent of this study was to explicate the processes of how nurses come to know the person using RPM, one form of telehealth technology used in a virtual environment. Study Design and Method: The study was informed by Charmaz’s constructivist grounded theory and included 33 interviews and 5 observational experiences of nurses using RPM in 7 different settings. Findings: Getting a Picture evolved as the core category to a theoretical conceptualization of nurses knowing the person through use of RPM and other technologies, such as telephone and electronic medical records. Getting a Picture reflected a dynamic flow and integration of seven processes, such as Connecting With the Person and Recording and Reflecting, to describe how nurses strove to attain a visualization of the person. Conclusions: While navigating disparate and disconnected information and communication technologies, Getting a Picture was important for providing safe, holistic, person-centered care.

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