There are several nursing specialities for RNs to choose from. One in-demand specialty is telehealth nursing, which is what this guide will explore further!
In an increasingly digital age, it’s no surprise that technology has drastically changed the medical field. One such way technology has infiltrated medicine is the creation of telemedicine. Telemedicine encompasses any care that is delivered by distance through the use of computers, phones, apps, and more.
Telehealth nurses are vital parts of medical care, and this field has become increasingly popular amongst nursing school graduates! To learn more about how to become a telehealth nurse, the duties they perform, and their expected job outlook, read on!
Providing medical care at any level requires a high level of training. While telehealth nurses do not deal with patients in a direct manner or treat them, they’re still required to have a thorough understanding of medicine.
Gaining this expertise can take anywhere from three to eight years, depending on the education and experience you pursue. Here are the steps that will influence your timeline to becoming a telehealth nurse:
Your high school grades will have a major impact on your career trajectory. These grades will directly influence the type of nursing school you get accepted into. As such, you should maintain a high GPA to ensure you have the most opportunity.
As an aspiring nurse, you want to demonstrate your dedication to the field by gaining basic clinical experience while you’re in high school. As a student, it’ll be difficult to gain paid placements working with patients, but you should be able to find volunteer positions at local clinics, hospitals, or shelters.
There are also several medical volunteer brigades that students can join to travel abroad and help patients in developing countries.
Aside from gaining volunteer experience, ensure you also participate in useful extracurriculars. These do not have to be medical-related but should involve your passions and hobbies!
While more schools are opting for test-optional application cycles, there are still several nursing schools that require students to write the SAT or ACT to be considered for admission.
Either test will suffice, but it’s imperative you create a good study plan that can help you reach your target score.
There are two degrees you can pursue to become a telehealth nurse. While both degrees give you an RN designation, they offer different benefits.
One of the degrees you can pursue is an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). While this degree will only take two years to complete and will have lower score requirements, it doesn't hold the same weight as a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN).
BSNs are the preferred degree for RNs but take double the amount of time to complete. These four-year programs equip nurses with a comprehensive medical foundation and extensive practical training to prepare them for all entry-level nursing careers.
Depending on your desired time frame, budget, and career goals, you should pick the degree that best suits your needs. There are many nursing schools without prerequisites, as well as several accelerated programs that allow ADN holders to pursue BSNs in as little as two years.
Once you’ve submitted your applications and received offer letters from your top choices, consider your decision wisely. Research the resources, support, and experiences these schools can offer you, so you can make the most informed decision.
Once you’ve accepted an offer, prepare to spend the next two or four years completing a rigorous curriculum to learn the fundamentals of nursing.
By this stage you’ve received the necessary education to become an RN. The next step is to prove you’ve absorbed this knowledge and can apply it in various situations.
The NCLEX-RN exam will assess four major Client Need categories:
Passing the NCLEX exam is necessary to receive licensing to practice as an independent RN.
Most telehealth positions will ask that nurses have a minimum of one to four years of bedside nursing. This experience will make you a more effective telehealth nurse as you’ll be expected to care for patients without actually touching them!
While there is no specific certification for telehealth nursing, many nurses wishing to pursue this career complete an Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification exam. This exam involves content on telehealth nursing, as it’s integral to ambulatory care.
Nurses planning on receiving this certification must have the following:
Completing this exam is not necessary but can give you an advantage in your job search!
Now that we’ve discussed how to become a telehealth nurse, your next inquiry might be what do telehealth nurses do? Broadly, telehealth nurses provide healthcare, education, and administration using telecommunication technologies and electronic channels such as the internet.
More specifically, they perform the following medical tasks:
Overall, these professionals increase the efficiency of healthcare and ensure medical care is accessible to a broader range of patients. Since they rely on the use of telecommunication channels and devices to perform these tasks, telehealth nurses are able to work remotely—which is typically unheard of in any other nursing specialty!
Since they’re able to work remotely, this job offers a high level of flexibility, which is another draw for nursing students considering this profession!
Considering 90% of healthcare executives say they plan on implementing telehealth programs at their clinics and hospitals, there is an increasing demand for these professionals.
Telehealth nurses make an average of $81,220 a year, but this salary can increase or decrease depending on their location and experience.
For any remaining questions on how to become a certified telehealth nurse, read on to find your answers.
No, being a telehealth nurse is challenging! These nurses must have significant experience treating a range of illnesses and issues to be able to adequately care for patients without direct contact. Telehealth goes against normal healthcare practice, which involves face-to-face interactions and the ability to perform physical assessments.
Accordingly, these nurses must be able to provide the best care they can without performing any direct assessments.
Nurses in telehealth offer a range of medical services relating to health promotion, education, and assessment. Using telecommunications devices like computers, apps, and phones, and different channels like the internet, they offer more accessible health care to patients.
Of course, you don’t simply want to know how to become a telehealth nurse, you want to know how to become the best telehealth nurse you can!
To provide the most effective care to your patients you should have the following skills:
It’s important that telehealth nurses also have a high degree of knowledge in nursing. You will be expected to treat diverse patients with a range of issues.
Yes, telehealth nurses are in high demand, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic when people wanted to connect with healthcare professionals without leaving their homes! In fact, at the peak of the pandemic, telehealth use increased 38 times!
After this great increase in telehealth service providers, it was found patients were more likely to take proactive approaches to their care, patients experienced less financial burden, and there was higher patient retention, as telehealth nurses were available around the clock.
Considering this positive feedback, many medical institutions have maintained these services or increased them, meaning there is still high demand for these nurses post-pandemic.
Depending on the degree and job you pursue, it can take anywhere from three to eight years to become a telehealth nurse. You can either complete a two-year ADN and gain at least one year of clinic experience or complete a four-year BSN degree and gain one to four years of experience.
Telehealth nurses are required to have a diverse and experienced resume, so most jobs will require you to have at least two years of bedside experience!
No, there is no official certification in telehealth nursing. While the National Certification Corporation (NCC) used to offer a telehealth certification, it was discontinued in 2007. As an alternative, it’s recommended nurses obtain an Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification through the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN).
This certification involves content on telehealth nursing and is considered to be sufficient to prove nurses have the required knowledge and expertise to provide telehealth services.
Technology continues to play a larger role in society as it offers people more convenience and efficiency. The healthcare sector is no exception—telehealth has had a great impact on patient care and is becoming increasingly popular in medical institutions.
By following the steps shared in this guide, you can join this growing profession and be part of a fast advancing medical field!