How to Become a Telehealth Nurse – Overview
The concept of telehealth nursing is not new, but it has been steadily gaining more traction recently. Telehealth nursing manages to improve healthcare efficacy as well as boosting patient access to health services, making it an instrumental tool in healthcare.
Telehealth nursing is more than just answering phone calls or video chat inquiries. It’s a means for RNs (Registered Nurses) to utilize technology for their own benefit, the benefit of their patients, and the benefit of the healthcare system.
The demand for telehealth nurses has risen even more due to Covid-19. So if you’ve ever considered pursuing telehealth nursing as a career, there is no better time.
So what are the qualifications of telehealth nursing? What are the duties of telehealth nurses? Also, what are the advantages of this practice? In this review, we’ll discuss all these queries in detail, among other things.
The Academic Qualifications of Telehealth Nursing Include:
Apart from finishing nursing school and passing the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses), telehealth nurses also have to work for a couple of years providing beside care prior to being remote workers.
While there is no specific certification that can prepare you for telehealth operations, having the knowledge and abilities to provide care to patients in ambulatory care environments can further propel your career as a telehealth nurse.
As a result, nurses get ACNC (Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification) prior to applying for telehealth positions. To get your ACNC certification, you’re required to:
- Have an active RN (Registered Nurse) license in any U.S. State or territory. You can also use a recognized equivalent from another country.
- Have worked as a full-time registered nurse for at least two years.
- Have put in at least 2,000 hours in ambulatory care within the last three years.
- Have completed 30 hours of extra ambulatory care training within the last three years.
What Skills Do You Need to A Be a Successful Telehealth Nurse?
Exceptional Listening Skills
Having exceptional listening skills is one of the building blocks of a successful telehealth nursing career. Being that you can’t physically examine a patient, you mostly rely on what they tell you. So you must listen carefully; this will enable you to understand what the issue is and even when to ask for more information if need be.
Great Communication Skills
Excellent communication skills are also of paramount importance because you can build a rapport with a caller and advise them accordingly. In some instances, this is the difference between life and death. Good communication skills enable you to convey information well such that when a patient ends the call, they have understood you completely.
If you’re to pursue telehealth nursing, you must also be a critical thinker. As a telehealth nurse, you must methodically decide how serious a problem is from the caller’s description. Can they be assisted while at home? Do you need to refer them to another specialist? You also need to interpret the information patients give you quickly and efficiently.
What Are Your Duties as A Telehealth Nurse?
Being a telehealth nurse is not as straightforward as it sounds. The responsibilities are complex, and they can vary from calming down a person experiencing a panic attack to talking people through life-threatening situations. Some of the most common duties include:
- Giving medical advice to patients with minor health issues.
- Scheduling appointments for callers with the appropriate physician.
- Ensuring callers are well informed such that they can manage symptoms at home.
- Providing pre-op and post-op nursing care.
- Assisting support teams dispatched to get one of your callers to the hospital.
- Weighing outcomes.
Which Technologies Are Utilized in Telehealth Nursing?
Live Video Conferencing
Live video conferencing is perhaps the most used technology in telehealth. Typically, virtual visits with a nurse involve either a phone call or video chat. Live video conferencing resembles face-to-face chats making the experiencing of getting help for patients more assuring.
Live video conferencing acts as the initial stage, and it’s used to examine the patient and determine if their condition necessitates an in-person visit. It can also be utilized as a follow-up for a clinical visit or at-home visit.
RPM (Remote Patient Monitoring)
This technology is vital because it enables telehealth nurses to accrue data regarding a patient’s condition. Various gadgets, including wearables and healthcare apps, observe and wirelessly upload data to the server to be assessed by the appropriate specialist.
Such data can include heart rate, B.P. (blood pressure), and glucose levels. RPM enables telehealth nurses to spot changes in a patient’s condition and get them the necessary help before they develop more severe complications.
Unlike video chats, this technology doesn’t necessitate real-time interaction. Instead, it utilizes secure channels and servers to retrieve, store and convey vital patient data. This data can include images of a patient’s symptoms, X-Rays, CT-Scans among others.
For instance, a patient can take a picture of what’s bothering them (a boil, wound, rash, pimple, etc.) and send it to the nurse. The nurse or doctor will then examine the symptoms and respond to help the patient resolve the issue.
How Much Can You Make as A Telehealth Nurse?
As per the U.S BLS (Bureau of Labor and Statistics), the average salary of a nurse with a Bachelor’s degree is at least $35 per hour or $73,000 per annum. As a telehealth nurse, you can earn much more as your experience grows.
If you have experience of about ten years, you’ll be paid $30 per hour and up to $38 per hour for 20 years of experience in clinical nursing. Also, annual performance reviews can provide a boost to your paycheck. Therefore, if multiple callers deem you to be of great help to them, you might get a bump in your hourly pay.
To sum it all up, you need to possess some qualifications and skills before you’re a certified telehealth nurse, as illustrated above. This practice can be a good career path if you’re willing to put in the work, and it even has above-average pay.