With telehealth exploding in popularity, remote nursing opportunities are accelerating too.
From phone triage to video consultations to patient education, nurses play pivotal telehealth roles.
If you’re considering this emerging field, these tips will help you evaluate potential positions and excel in virtual nursing careers.
Honestly Assess Your Telehealth Fit
Consider your personality and strengths. Do you gain energy and fulfillment from in-person patient connections? Or do you thrive when leveraging technology to care for patients remotely?
Nurses who cherish bedside relationships may not find telehealth interactions as rewarding.
Take time to self-reflect.
Schedule informational interviews with telehealth nurses to gain insights on the pros and cons of those already in remote roles. Evaluate whether you’ll miss hands-on assessments or if you appreciate the flexibility telehealth nursing offers.
Don’t assume virtual roles are a perfect fit without careful consideration.
Scrutinize the Salary and Pay Structure
Telehealth nursing salaries can vary widely. Carefully analyze the pay rate and model before accepting a position.
Many remote roles allow you to be location agnostic but may pay a flat hourly rate or even a per-call fee. Others provide benefits and 401k matching more like a traditional staff job.
Get pay details in writing rather than vague verbal assurances. Calculate your potential earnings based on expected hours or patient volume to determine if the opportunity is financially viable long-term.
Understand exactly what your income will realistically be.
Clarify Technology Requirements and Support
Ask detailed questions upfront about what equipment you must supply versus company-provided technology.
Will you use their devices or your personal computer? What about webcams, BP monitors, thermometers, or other clinical tools?
Make sure no major personal tech investments are required.
Also, understand the level of technical support offered for troubleshooting glitches.
Proactively discussing expectations around equipment needs and IT support prevents frustrations down the road.
Verify Internet Capabilities
Having robust, reliable home internet is non-negotiable for productive telehealth work.
Ask about minimum upload and download speed requirements. Inquire if your employer provides any stipends or reimbursements for upgrading home internet capabilities.
Test your network speed to pinpoint and resolve any lags before you begin working.
Upgrade routers, switches, or entire service plans if essential to prevent frustrating connectivity issues that undermine patient care.
Master All Digital Systems
Get trained extensively on electronic medical records, video chat platforms, referral systems, prescription interfaces, and all other technology you’ll interact with daily.
Fluency in navigating these portals is mandatory for efficient quality care.
Request access immediately after accepting an offer to begin the learning curve.
Take initiative in mastering digital systems through tutorials and vendor support before day one. Complete dry runs to cement comfort. Virtual care hinges on digital proficiency.
Learn Licensure Limitations
Determine if the remote role requires you to hold licenses in certain states you’ll be serving virtually.
Other companies have corporate licenses enabling remote work anywhere. Know the regulations for your situation to prevent legal issues.
Acquiring multi-state licenses takes time, so start the application process immediately if mandated for your role. Seek reimbursement for new license expenses as part of your negotiation.
Don’t begin virtually treating patients before proper credentials are secured.
Master Video Call Professionalism
Unlike bedside manner, your on-camera presence and video call etiquette make immediate impressions on remote patients.
Ensure proper lighting, an uncluttered background, professional dress, strong eye contact, and an engaging communication style.
Practice video consults extensively before going live. Record test calls to identify areas like distracting mannerisms, technical glitches, or choppy responses needing polishing.
Proactively mastering best practices for professional video interactions is essential.
Optimize Your At-Home Workspace
Set up an ergonomic, distraction-free home workspace that allows you to provide your full attention to patients.
Position your camera, lighting, and telehealth technology conveniently while also portraying a tidy, professional backdrop.
Avoid noisy household spaces. Keep your work area neat and calm.
Having an optimized physical environment translates directly to higher-quality virtual care and conversations.
Set Clear Provider Communication Norms
Collaborating remotely with doctors and specialists you haven’t met in person can be awkward initially. To nurture effective relationships:
- Agree on preferred contact methods – phone, email, messaging?
- Set expectations for response times to questions or referred patient needs.
- Discuss case handoff procedures and clarify documentation system nuances.
- Overcommunicate early on until efficient patterns emerge.
Proactive discussions foster smooth coordinated patient care between you and remote ordering providers.
Maintain Set Schedules
Adhere to a set work schedule with designated start and finish times for each day.
Communicate the exact hours you are available to patients. Boundaries prevent you from overextending yourself.
Avoid the temptation of working from your laptop in PJs all day. Change out of sleepwear, take scheduled breaks, and disconnect at a set time to maintain healthy work-life separation.
Having structure benefits productivity and prevents burnout.
What qualifications are required for telehealth nursing jobs?
Most telehealth roles require a current RN license and 1-3 years of nursing experience. Some specialties like telephone triage prefer ER or ICU backgrounds. Strong communication and tech skills are essential.
Can I work remotely anywhere in the country?
It depends on your role – some require you to live in certain states to align with licensing. Others allow you to live anywhere but limit which states you can virtually serve patients in.
What hours are expected for telehealth nurses?
Hours vary based on role. Some provide after-hours or weekend coverage. Most involve schedule flexibility but expect availability during standard daytime office hours. Discuss typical hours expected.
Is the work primarily phone-based or video-based?
It depends on the specialty. Some focus heavily on triaging patient phone calls. Others incorporate more video visits and telemedicine. Ask about the mix of media used.
What are the main upsides of these roles?
Top benefits include schedule flexibility, working remotely, less physical demands of bedside care, and utilizing technology skills. The ability to practice nursing from anywhere provides a better work-life balance for some.
With proper preparation, a telehealth nursing role allows you to deliver quality care to patients through modern technology.
By proactively addressing key considerations upfront, you’ll be well-equipped to thrive in this emerging field.