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How to work in telehealth nursing

At a glance

  • Telehealth can be a career option for registered nurses (RN) who want to work remotely and provide patient care off the hospital floor.
  • This career option can help seasoned RNs reduce stress while maintaining employment. It also has the benefits of improving accessibility to healthcare, reducing costs and increasing the number of patients who can receive medical care.
  • The same requirements to be an RN are needed to work in telehealth, but nurses may need bedside experience before making the move. 
  • University of Phoenix can help registered nurses enhance their careers by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree completely online while continuing to work full time.

Technology and remote work are constantly evolving. Advancing technology provides new opportunities in various fields, from sales to teaching to entrepreneurship. One field that has changed drastically with the increase in new technology is nursing. Telehealth nursing allows registered nurses (RN) to connect with patients through electronic means, such as videoconferencing, mobile apps, email and phone calls, from anywhere with an internet connection.

The field of healthcare provides patients with opportunities to seek care for medical conditions from the comfort of their home. It can assist patients who have mobility impairments or other conditions that prevent them from regularly going to a hospital, healthcare provider’s office or outpatient clinic. It can also be a helpful resource to people who have a fear of or an aversion to going to a hospital and may not otherwise seek treatment.

Telehealth may be an attractive job for established registered nurses, as they can explore the world of remote work while continuing to help others and provide quality patient care. From the daily tasks to the benefits, here are some things to consider about working in telehealth as an RN. 

Explore degrees that expand your skills and prepare you to lead in nursing.

What do telehealth nurses do?

Telehealth nurses may work remotely to assist patients. They are often the first point of contact for a patient, evaluate the severity of a patient’s condition and provide necessary information to a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. The daily tasks of a telehealth nurse may include:

  • Conducting virtual visits: Telehealth nurses conduct virtual visits with their patients. This can include messaging, emailing, texting, calling and videoconferencing. 
  • Arranging follow-up care: Sometimes patients need a follow-up appointment with their doctor or nurse. Telehealth nurses may be charged with arranging follow-up care as needed. 
  • Monitoring vitals: Patients with certain conditions or those who use telehealth services regularly may use handheld monitors and other devices that allow telehealth nurses to check the patient’s vitals. The nurse is responsible for recording the results and noting any differences. 
  • Communicating with healthcare staff: Telehealth nurses work closely with doctors to provide care for their patients. They may be responsible for supervising nurse aides as well.  

Much like in-person nursing, a telehealth nurse’s duties are focused on patient care. An RN already working in the field can transfer their current skill set into a virtual environment by working as telehealth nurses. 

Who hires telehealth nurses?

Telehealth nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings. Hospitals or doctor’s offices can hire them. Some are hired to work for companies that exclusively offer virtual healthcare services for their patients.

When hiring telehealth nurses, healthcare providers look for the same skills and qualifications needed for in-person nursing jobs. They also look for exceptional communication skills that will help the RN to succeed in providing care in a virtual environment.

If you are a working nurse interested in a telehealth position, you may wish to investigate whether your current employer offers a telehealth option and the possibility of shifting your work from in-person to remote. 

How do you become a telehealth nurse? 

To become a telehealth nurse, one must first become a licensed RN. This requires a specific education and state licensure. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses often follow one of three educational paths. They either earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN); a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN); or graduate from an approved nursing program. Some employers may require nurses with an ASN or ADN to earn a BSN degree.

To become licensed to practice in their state, RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN®). To meet the requirements for a telenursing position, some employers may require multiple years of bedside experience. After passing the NCLEX and obtaining state licensure as an RN, nurses can apply for positions where they can gain bedside knowledge of providing quality patient care.

Employers also may require additional certification, though there is no specifically required certification to work in telenursing. According to Nurse.org, practicing RNs may choose to obtain the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (RN-BC), offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. This certification covers skills necessary in an ambulatory care setting, which can be helpful to telehealth nurses.

What skills are important for a telehealth nurse? 

Many skills are beneficial for telehealth nurses. Since you’ll be performing examinations remotely, it is important to have good listening skills to understand what patients are saying. Even though you will be speaking to patients through a computer or phone, you should help them feel like they are being listened to and that their health problems are important to you.  

You also need to have good communication skills so that you can properly instruct your patients as to the next steps of their care. It’s important to have good people skills to judge the severity of issues, accurately describe symptoms and help people through the stress caused by health conditions.

Beyond listening and communication skills, critical and creative thinking skills are vital. You will need to be able to analyze data and propose effective solutions to health problems. 

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Benefits of working in telehealth  

Just as telehealth expands access to healthcare for a variety of people, it also expands the availability of jobs since the work is performed remotely. You can be a nurse and help patients while working from the comfort of your own home. This can be helpful if you need to be home for personal or health-related reasons or if there is a shortage of in-person open positions for nurses in your location.  

Furthermore, a virtual nursing job can be just as rewarding as a regular, face-to-face nursing job since you are helping people, interacting with patients and finding solutions to health issues. Everything that you love about nursing can be found in a remote nursing position.  

Working as a telehealth nurse, you can help people create better and healthier lives by providing aid in a virtual environment. Depending on your working environment, you will also be able to develop relationships with long-term and regular patients throughout your career. 

How much does a telehealth nurse make?  

As of May 2021, registered nurses in the United States earned an annual salary ranging between $59,450 and $120,250, according to BLS. This amount can change subject to location, experience, job level and level of education.  BLS also projects employment for nursing to grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031.

Salary ranges are not specific to telehealth nursing, students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

Working as a telehealth nurse allows you to experience more flexibility and comfort in your nursing career. You are able to work from home while still helping patients in your area, and throughout the country, who are experiencing difficult health conditions and chronic illnesses.

 

Earn a degree in nursing at University of Phoenix 

University of Phoenix (UOPX) does not offer degrees or certificates that can specifically guarantee a telehealth nurse position. However, UOPX offers a few online nursing degrees for registered nurses who are looking to earn their degree while gaining valuable bedside experience. If you’re eager to grow your knowledge and skill set within the nursing field, UPOX offers the following degree options:

 

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