Registered Nurse Virtual Primary Care Practice Guide

Are you a family doctor or primary care RN adjusting to working more virtually?

We have created this brief guide for you. This is designed to help you work together to better support your patients as you are doing more virtual care.

We have broken this up into four steps:


Review the content below to get quick sense of the areas where RNs can be most helpful in virtual primary care.


Look at your practice to see where there are needs (this could be through your EMR or just reflecting as a team on the perceived needs and gaps).


Discuss together as a team where your practice would benefit most from having focused, virtual nursing care.


Reflect as a team after a few weeks and adjust based on what you have learned.

In each clinical area you will find specific ideas and visits for how they could be adapted for virtual care. We highlight where some of the challenges may be and how to adapt (or not) to using virtual health tools. Please use your professional, clinical judgment when applying these ideas. 

RNs can assess and triage patients virtually, determining the urgency and if patients need to be seen face to face or if a higher level of care is needed. Each of these visits would include taking a person-centred approach that considers personal health status/determinants of health. Learn more…

  • Triage new issues
  • New patient registration
  • COVID symptom screening
  • Pre-op assessment
  • Medication review
  • Review advanced directives
  • Cognitive assessment
  • Pain assessment
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Sexual health assessment

RNs are skilled at providing health education in person and remotely. These may be considered as specific visits or embedded within other visits (e.g. CDM). Learn more…

  • Individual health education visit
  • Well child visit (education)
  • Group educational sessions

RNs can provide virtual counselling and anticipatory guidance, including counselling around immunizations and well child and perinatal appointments. These can precede a face to face visit, if one is required. Learn more…

  • Preventive care visit
  • COVID proactive public health visit
  • Immunization review
  • TB history and testing
  • Well child visit
  • Routine Prenatal and postnatal visits
  • Contraceptive health

RNs can provide a range of virtual CDM: review care plans, provide education, lifestyle counselling, and follow-up on results. RNs can work with patients to promote self-management and collaborative care (e.g. supporting self-management plans and reviewing home monitoring). Learn more…

  • Chronic disease management follow up visit
  • Self-management promotion visit
  • Mental health and substance use visit
  • Smoking cessation counselling visit
  • Wound care follow up visit

RNs have considerable experience coordinating care for patients with complex needs, much of which would be done virtually. Learn more…

  • Coordinating with acute care for complex discharge planning.
  • Coordinating to attend specialist appointments.
  • Coordinating with family or community services
  • Coordinating within the primary care team

There is increasing need in the pandemic to support patients in several ways related to the pandemic including issues directly related to infection or indirectly as well as proving education and support. Learn more…

  • COVID symptom screening
  • Active COVID follow up
  • COVID risk review for high risk patients
  • COVID mental health check-in

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