The Use of Telemedicine to Train Perioperative Nurses in Rural Settings

Document Type


Publication Date



The training available to perioperative nurses in rural areas is often inefficient and can be difficult to access. We designed a distance training programme using educational material from the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN). Over a six-year period, we compared the performance of 22 nurses undertaking the programme via telemedicine with that of 13 nurses undertaking it conventionally, in person. The telemedicine nurses were based at six rural hospitals and interacted with their preceptors via remotely controlled videoconferencing systems. There was no significant difference in the time taken to complete the programme: 118 days in the telemedicine group and 84 days in the in-person group. There were no significant differences between groups in the AORN module scores. The average AORN final examination score was 88% for the telemedicine group and 91% for the in-person group. The scores from skills assessed were not significantly different between groups. The majority of students in the in-person and telemedicine groups considered that the programme was a success (92% and 91% respectively). The study suggests that telemedicine merits serious consideration for training in perioperative nursing specifically, and probably more generally in the nursing field.