Atrium Health nurses are once again leading the way in revolutionizing patient care by expanding the nationally recognized Virtual Nurse Observation (VNO) program. Launched as a pilot program at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the VNO program offers an innovative approach to patient care and staffing support. Now, two years later, the program is active in 40 patient beds at Atrium Health Pineville and Atrium Health Cleveland, and has resulted in fewer errors, fewer falls, and increased teammate and patient satisfaction. 

“Since implementing the Virtual Nurse Observation program, we’ve witnessed a more confident nursing care delivery team, as well as an increase in positive patient outcomes,” said Nicole M. Deal, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer at Atrium Health, who oversees the program.

Through the VNO care model, video cameras are set up in patient rooms to enable two-way communication between a virtual nurse and up to 10 patients. The virtual nurse provides an additional layer of support to the bedside care team by performing admission assessments, hourly rounding, medication teaching, discharge, second nurse checks, and more.  

Atrium Health’s VNO program has received recognition from across the country, with other hospitals and health systems looking to follow suit. It could help shape the future of the nursing profession and address staffing shortages. Our nursing teams are continuing to see benefits for safety, satisfaction, retention and recruitment. As we build new hospitals, we’re making sure patient rooms are wired for this technology from the beginning. 

“Our goal is to expand to 90 cameras within the coming year with expansions into the Emergency Departments, continue to positively impact patient outcomes, increase nurse retention, and improve overall job satisfaction in nursing roles,” said Deal. 

Contributions to the Atrium Health Nursing Fund can directly support the VNO program by funding additional cameras and new technology. To learn more or make a gift, visit