Telehealth Nursing Jobs: the Skills they Require and What to Expect

telehealth nursing jobs

Telehealth nursing gives nurses an opportunity to use their knowledge and skills through a virtual platform in a way that dramatically improves patient access to quality care. Telehealth nurses can provide valuable resources like clinical evaluations, public health information, and patient education through mediums like video conferencing or remote patient monitoring.

Due to events like the global pandemic and efforts to close the gaps in health equity, telehealth has become a well-known resource in healthcare. It’s flexible, innovative, and is a meaningful way to leverage our technology while offering excellent outcomes in fiscal responsibility, reductions in hospital readmissions, and the management of illness.

Telehealth nursing is also quickly becoming a specialty within the nursing profession. Not only does it build on foundational nursing concepts, but it requires unique knowledge and skills to offer safe and effective care. Participating in continuing education opportunities like Premiere Education’s Introduction to Telehealth and Telemedicine can help set you up for success when considering telehealth nursing jobs.

Telehealth Nursing vs Bedside Nursing

When people think about nurses, they’re most likely picturing them in hospitals, physician’s offices, or long-term care facilities. While this is certainly true for the bulk of the 4.2 million nurses working in the U.S. today, some nurses are choosing telehealth nursing jobs as a unique and rewarding alternative. 

Bedside Nursing

The traditional role at the bedside is how most nurses plan on engaging the nursing profession. After graduating from a nursing program and passing their national licensing exam, they often pursue entry into practice at a place like a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

If those aren’t appealing, there are also diverse roles like school nursing, private practice nursing, or home health nursing. While these all offer their own challenges, the common denominator is in-person, face-to-face care. 

Telehealth Nursing

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) estimates that more than half of healthcare services offered in the nation will be offered virtually by 2030. The impressive advantages of telehealth nursing jobs are driving the popularity of this healthcare resource, and represent an industry paradigm shift many nurses are embracing. 

There are numerous roles in telehealth nursing that draw on unique experience and expertise. For instance, telehealth nurses are capable of supporting the direct care of patients with acute and chronic medical conditions. A telehealth nurse who is credentialed as an advanced practice nurse, or is facilitating care under the direction of a physician, can have a substantial impact on providing critical services in a digital setting. 

Other roles for telehealth nurses might include remote monitoring, where the interpretation of physiologic information can guide patient management. Telehealth nursing directed at patient care can include elements of triage that support decision-making when determining if a patient needs to be seen in person or not.

Finally, while telehealth nursing offers new avenues of care for patients, it also requires skills above and beyond traditional nursing. Being technologically savvy while deploying the clinical expertise to pick up on subtle indications of illness or injury when a patient isn’t physically present is no easy task.

While there is no telehealth nursing specialty certification at this time, continuing education for telehealth services should be strongly considered for nurses active in the role or considering pursuing telehealth nursing jobs. Because education is critical for supporting safe and effective care for patients in the virtual space, some states like Washington require anyone who provides telemedicine services to have telemedicine training.

Essential Skills for Telehealth Nursing

Nursing school prepares you for entry into practice, but it isn’t going to teach you how to be a telehealth nurse. Telehealth nursing jobs can require nurses to lean more heavily on particular skill sets, in addition to requiring a strong foundational knowledge in nursing care.

Effective communication skills develop over time with experience in the nursing role. Without a good rapport, the patient may have a lack of trust in the nurse and the process. Communication in telehealth nursing is especially important for building a rapport with patients who won’t get the added comfort of in-person healthcare. 

Telehealth nursing also requires using and troubleshooting technology. Practitioners will need to be comfortable managing system and equipment problems, and well as helping their patients manage them. Additionally, the patient may need to be an active participant in their care using things like vital sign equipment. A telehealth nurse needs to empower and support patients through these experiences. 

Telehealth Nursing Opportunities

Just as the popularity of telehealth nursing jobs has exploded, so have the opportunities in a variety of settings. Telehealth is blossoming in rural communities where the logistics of travel make telehealth an incredible cost- and time-saving advantage. Within these rural communities, telehealth can connect patients to acute care institutions, as well as primary care offices. 

Nurses have been supporting telehealth in the prison system for years to enhance the care of large correctional populations for acute and chronic illnesses. In addition to facilitating the actual care of patients, telehealth nursing in prison offers a means of triaging patient complaints under circumstances where the transportation of patients is complicated by the resources needed to safely move someone in custody.

Additional opportunities can include home health, palliative care, field medicine, ambulatory care, and school nursing.

Could Telehealth Nursing Jobs Be For You?

Telehealth nursing jobs are an up-and-coming specialty that will continue to make their way into areas once considered best served by more traditional nursing roles. Telehealth nursing does, however, carry with it an enhanced set of responsibilities that require solid foundational nursing knowledge.

To learn more about telehealth nursing and the skills it demands, #1 Premiered Continuing Education’s Introduction to Telehealth and Telemedicine, created by Kathy Gardner, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CNM, CNE, and faculty at Frontier Nursing University, is an excellent resource for familiarizing yourself with the field. All Premiere Education courses are developed by industry professionals and offer the highest standards of content and convenience.

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