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Reply by Authors Abbott and Shaw to Williams on "Virtual Nursing Avatars: Nurse Roles and Evolving Concepts of Care"

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April 20, 2017

Reply by Authors Abbott and Shaw to Kendra Williams on "Virtual Nursing Avatars: Nurse Roles and Evolving Concepts of Care" by Miriam Bowers Abbott and Peggy Shaw (August 15, 2016).

Thank you for your thoughtful comments.  Indeed, we could not agree more that virtual nurse avatars are not appropriate tools for all discharge events. Certainly, there are many cases such as the ones you describe, wherein patients may have a series of questions and concerns that are unique and unanticipated.

You may be familiar, however, with discharge events that are more “boiler-plate”.  In hospital systems that may be facing a nursing shortage, a patient may prefer to have access to a nursing avatar for speed and convenience. As the data indicates, there are also cases wherein patients are more comfortable and engaged when interacting with avatars.

Our culture is rapidly changing, due in part to increasing American reliance on technology. As our relationships with technology continue to evolve, we expect the roles and responsibilities of nursing avatars and professional nurses to continue to evolve as well. Regardless of the cultural shifts, the goal is to provide the best care for patients.


Miriam Abbott, MA
Peggy Shaw, MSN/ED, BSN, RN