Telehealth Nursing: Is It Right for You?

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What is telehealth nursing? Telehealth nursing is the practice of delivering care remotely using telecommunications equipment or other digital technologies. To become a telehealth nurse, you’ll need a nursing degree, nursing license, and clinical and bedside experience, as well as optional nursing certifications.

nurse on computer

You can find nurses working just about anywhere—from schools and camps to cruise ships and medical evacuation flights. You’ll even find nurses working remotely from home via telehealth nursing. What is telehealth nursing? Telehealth nursing involves providing care to patients in a different physical location than the nurse.

As a nurse, you can choose from many career path options and work settings. At the College of Mount Saint Vincent, you can graduate with your BS in Nursing in as few as 16 months, provided you meet the admission requirements for our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.

Let’s take a closer look at how to become a telehealth nurse.

What Is Telehealth Nursing?

Telehealth nursing involves using technology to enable remote communication between a provider and a patient. Remotely, a registered nurse (RN) can assess a patient’s symptoms, determine the severity of their condition, and recommend an appropriate treatment. When the patient needs in-person care at a medical facility, the telehealth nurse advises the patient to schedule an in-person appointment or seek immediate medical care.

A telehealth nurse may work from the comfort of home for a pharmacy, insurance company, doctor’s office, or other healthcare organization. A telehealth nurse might also work within a medical facility, seeing patients in person or conducting appointments remotely. They may use various technological tools to conduct these remote appointments, such as secure videoconferencing software on a laptop or smartphone. A simple phone call—without a visual element—can also be considered telehealth nursing.

Examples of Telehealth Nursing in Action

Telehealth nursing is nothing new, but the COVID-19 pandemic significantly expanded its usage. Remote healthcare delivery can be used in many ways, including the following:

  • A patient may take a digital picture of a skin rash and transmit it to a nurse for remote assessment.
  • A nursing department may digitally transmit a patient’s X-rays to a specialist’s office for interpretation.
  • A patient could do a live videoconference with a nurse if they have trouble changing their dressings following surgery. The nurse can provide step-by-step instructions while observing the patient correctly perform the task.
  • A high-risk patient with a suspected respiratory infection could be prescribed appropriate medications remotely rather than going into a hospital and potentially being exposed to more germs.

Remote healthcare technologies even allow nurses to monitor patients’ statuses. For example, remote patient monitoring technologies include devices worn by patients, such as blood glucose monitors. A nurse can tell if a patient with diabetes has missed blood glucose checks or has a risky blood glucose level, which allows the nurse to contact the patient and provide guidance.

nurse on her ipad

If you’re excited about becoming a telehealth nurse, check out this guide on how to enter nursing as a second career!

The Benefits of Telehealth Nursing

There are many benefits of telehealth nursing for both patients and nurses. Let’s take a closer look.

Cost-Effective Healthcare

In the U.S., healthcare spending totals more than $4 trillion. The industry, public policymakers, patients, and healthcare organizations are always looking to manage healthcare costs. Telehealth nursing is one way to reduce the cost of healthcare.

Providers benefit because when nurses work from home, and patients receive care remotely, they can spend less on office space. Patients may also save money on healthcare by seeing a telehealth nurse since they won’t incur transportation and parking costs. Often, patients don’t even need to take time off work and can schedule a virtual appointment on a break.

Convenient and Safe

Many patients and providers find telehealth nursing a more convenient care delivery model than in-person appointments. It reduces the need for commuting and limits disruptions to one’s schedule. For nurses, remote work can provide greater flexibility in a healthcare career. For patients, telehealth appointments can mean greater access to care, particularly for patients who live in remote areas without many healthcare facilities nearby.

Plus, remote nursing can promote better safety, both for patients and nurses. Since it limits in-person contact, telehealth nursing reduces the spread of germs.

Promotes Preventive Health

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but sometimes, nurses struggle to help patients understand the importance of preventive wellness. Remote nursing can facilitate preventive health.

For example, remote patient monitoring technologies can enable patients and their nurses to more easily track health metrics, such as blood glucose levels and weight. Of course, patients will still need to visit a medical facility for certain preventive wellness services, such as mammograms and cholesterol checks.

How to Become a Telehealth Nurse

If you’re passionate about helping patients access the care they need no matter where they are, it may be time to consider how to become a telehealth nurse. It all starts with earning your nursing degree at the Mount.

group of nurses

In addition to telehealth nursing, there are lots of other healthcare career options. Explore these 10 alternative nursing careers!

Earn a Nursing Degree

If you hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you may qualify for the ABSN program at the Mount in New York City. This is an accelerated pathway toward earning a second degree and doesn’t require any prior healthcare experience or education. Our ABSN program has three start dates per year, and students can graduate in as few as 16 months.

It all starts with onsite coursework, which offers in-person access to instructors and support from fellow nursing students. In nursing skills labs, you’ll develop core nursing skills, while in nursing simulation (sim) labs, you’ll encounter patient case scenarios and practice your nursing skills on realistic medical manikins.

You’ll also be placed in clinical rotations at hospitals in the NYC area. Here, you’ll gain experience working with patients and healthcare professionals and deliver direct patient care under the supervision of your preceptor.

Obtain Licensure

After earning your BS in Nursing, the next step toward becoming a telehealth nurse is passing the NCLEX-RN and obtaining state licensure. The NCLEX is a rigorous exam that evaluates your knowledge of nursing concepts and your ability to assess patients and form appropriate clinical decisions. Once you pass the exam, you can apply for state licensure.

Gain Clinical Experience

After obtaining your nursing license, your next step is to apply for an in-person nursing job. Even if you’re certain you’d like to pursue a telehealth nursing position, you must first gain at least a few years of bedside experience. As a telehealth nurse, you must be able to assess patients remotely, and having in-person clinical experience will aid with this.

When applying to nursing jobs, keep your primary interests in mind. For example, you might like to focus your telehealth nursing career on a specialty area, such as mental health, endocrinology, or pediatrics. Consider looking for an in-person nursing position where you will gain experience in your preferred specialty area.

Pursue a Telehealth Nursing Job

Once you have some clinical experience, you may feel ready to apply for a telehealth nursing position. In addition to hospitals and doctor’s offices, insurance companies and pharmacies hire remote nursing professionals.

Consider adding to your qualifications by earning one or more nursing certifications. Although no certifications are aimed explicitly at remote nursing professionals, one option is the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification administered by the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN). The certification exam covers content pertaining to remote nursing.

Ready to Begin Your Nursing Career?

counselor and student

When you’re ready to pursue a meaningful career helping patients and families, the Mount is here to support you. Call our admission team today, and you’ll be assigned a dedicated admission counselor to walk you through the process step by step. With three start dates per year for our ABSN program, you can be on your way toward becoming a telehealth nurse sooner than you might think!