The field of nursing has witnessed remarkable growth and transformation over the years. From Florence Nightingale’s pioneering efforts during the Crimean War to the diverse roles nurses play in today’s healthcare landscape, nursing continues to evolve. One of the latest additions to the nursing profession is the telehealth nurse. In this article, we will delve into the world of telehealth nursing. We will look at the telehealth nurse salary, explore the responsibilities it entails, and whether it presents a promising career path. If you’re considering a career in nursing or are already a healthcare professional, read on to discover the exciting realm of telehealth nursing.
What is a Telehealth Nurse?
Telehealth nurses are RNs who employ telecommunication technology to deliver patient care.. While telehealth has been in existence for decades, recent technological advancements have catapulted this field into prominence, expanding its reach to more patients than ever before.
In essence, telehealth nursing revolves around the remote delivery of healthcare services. Telehealth nurses leverage technologies like telephones, video conferencing, and digital platforms to assess patients’ health conditions, provide guidance, and offer support. Unlike traditional in-person nursing, telehealth nursing transcends geographical boundaries, offering flexible solutions for patients and healthcare providers alike.
What Do Telehealth Nurses Do?
The role of telehealth nurses is diverse, resembling that of their in-person counterparts. Their duties include:
- Patient Triage – Telehealth nurses engage with patients over the phone, drawing from their medical histories and descriptions of symptoms to assess their conditions. This initial triage helps determine the appropriate course of action.
- Remote Monitoring – Using telehealth technologies, they perform remote patient monitoring, collecting vital health data such as blood pressure and heart rate. The ongoing gathering of data is of great importance when it comes to managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Patient Education – Telehealth nurses provide patients with information about their healthcare conditions, available treatment choices, and self-care techniques. Clear and effective communication is paramount in helping patients manage their well-being.
- Supporting Physicians – They collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals, providing essential patient information and offering insights into the patient’s progress.
How Much Do Telehealth Nurses Make?
The financial aspect of any career is a significant consideration. Telehealth nursing offers an attractive compensation package, often exceeding the median salary for all occupations in the United States.
According to ZipRecruiter, the annual salary of a telehealth nurse is at $66,559 on the average. The lowest being $24,000 and the highest at $118,000. If you break it down per hour, the average is $32 per hour, with the highest at $56.73 and the lowest at $11.54.
The substantial earnings of telehealth nurses can be attributed to several factors. Their specialized skill set, which combines medical expertise with proficiency in telehealth technologies, is in high demand. Additionally, the telehealth industry’s rapid expansion, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has further boosted their earning potential.
It’s crucial to emphasize that the specific income of a telehealth nurse may fluctuate based on various factors such as professional experience, credentials, geographical location, and the employing organization. As with any profession, career advancement and specialization can also lead to increased earnings.
How Do You Become a Telehealth Nurse?
Becoming a telehealth nurse follows a path similar to that of a registered nurse, with some unique considerations:
- Nursing Education – To embark on a career in telehealth nursing, you must first become a registered nurse (RN). You can accomplish this through diverse educational pathways, including enrolling in a nursing diploma program, pursuing an associate of science in nursing (ASN) degree, or opting for a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. While all these paths lead to RN licensure, the BSN is increasingly becoming the standard in the profession. Certain employers might have a preference for candidates holding a BSN degree.
- NCLEX and Licensure – Upon finishing your nursing program, it becomes necessary to successfully pass the NCLEX-RN examination, which is conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Meeting the requirements of this examination leads to the acquisition of your RN licensure. Licensure requirements may vary by state, and some telehealth nurses may need licenses in both their home state and the state where their patients are located.
- Consider Certification – While there’s no official telehealth nursing certification, you can enhance your qualifications by pursuing certification in ambulatory care through the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) or through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This certification includes telehealth nursing content and can demonstrate your readiness for a career in telehealth.
- Gain Clinical Experience – Many employers seek telehealth nurses with prior experience in providing bedside care. Acquiring experience in in-person patient care equips you with essential clinical skills, which are invaluable when transitioning to telehealth nursing.
- Develop Crucial Skills – Telehealth nurses must possess strong communication, empathy, and active listening skills in addition to medical knowledge. Effective virtual patient care hinges on these skills, ensuring patients receive the support and guidance they need.
Is Telehealth Nursing a Good Career Path?
Aspiring healthcare professionals often contemplate the viability of various career paths. Telehealth nursing stands out as an excellent choice for several reasons:
- High Earning Potential – Telehealth nurses enjoy competitive salaries, surpassing the median income for most occupations. The promising financial outlook reflects the specialized nature of their role and the growing demand for telehealth services.
- Positive Job Outlook – The job outlook for telehealth nursing is optimistic. While specific data on telehealth nursing positions is limited, the broader field of registered nursing is expected to grow by six percent between 2021 and 2031. The remarkable surge in telehealth utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic further underscores the potential for expansion in this sector.
- Flexibility – Telehealth nursing offers flexibility in terms of work settings. While some telehealth nurses operate within traditional healthcare environments, others work from medical call centers or the comfort of their homes. This adaptability appeals to healthcare professionals seeking a more versatile work environment.
- Healthcare Accessibility – Telehealth nursing contributes to improved healthcare accessibility, particularly for patients in remote or underserved areas. By transcending geographical boundaries, telehealth helps bridge healthcare gaps and ensures patients receive timely care.
- Technological Advancements – The integration of advanced technologies in healthcare positions telehealth nurses at the forefront of innovation. They gain expertise in digital health solutions, positioning themselves for a dynamic and evolving career.
Telehealth nursing represents a promising and lucrative career choice within the nursing profession. The role of a telehealth nurse encompasses remote patient care, leveraging telecommunications technology to provide essential healthcare services. With a competitive salary, positive job outlook, and opportunities for flexibility, telehealth nursing appeals to healthcare professionals seeking a rewarding and innovative career. While the journey to becoming a telehealth nurse shares similarities with the path to RN licensure, it includes unique considerations such as developing strong communication skills and gaining clinical experience.
These prerequisites ensure telehealth nurses are well-equipped to deliver high-quality virtual patient care. In an era where healthcare technology continues to advance, telehealth nursing stands as a testament to nursing’s adaptability and commitment to providing accessible and quality care to patients across the nation. Whether you’re an experienced nurse seeking to venture into new opportunities or a prospective healthcare practitioner, telehealth nursing is a career path that merits contemplation.