For those of you nurses thinking it's time to log some continuing education hours, we'd like to encourage you to consider exploring telehealth education for part of it. Telehealth opportunities have grown over the years, and whether or not you're looking for opportunities to do remote work from home, or not, telehealth responsibilities may become part of your nursing duties.
What is Telehealth in Nursing?
Telehealth nurses are able to monitor, assess, and even treat patients via means of remote capabilities and telecommunications technology.
According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Telehealth is defined as "the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and public health and health administration. Technologies include videoconferencing, the internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and landline and wireless communications. Telehealth services may be provided, for example, through audio, text messaging, or video communication technology, including videoconferencing software."
As a consequence of the pandemic, Telehealth became a necessary practice for many healthcare professionals, nurses included, and while some people who accessed services through Telehealth during the pandemic have returned to face-to-face services, Telehealth has been identified as a key component for a broader-reaching healthcare delivery service. You can learn new skills specific to Telehealth and perhaps gain continuing education hours while you're at it.
What are Continuing Education Hours?
Continuing education hours (CEUs) are specially approved training courses available for nurses to further their knowledge in an already known subject, to learn something new, or to refresh on old training. In most states, CEUs are required for both registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs) to keep their licenses active.
What are Ways to Learn More at Home as a Nurse?
Some CEU courses require face-to-face classroom participation to demonstrate a mastery of the knowledge, but not all. In fact, many CEU courses can be completed online from your very own home.
Can I Get a Job as a Telehealth Nurse?
Telehealth nursing jobs are available, but it is important to note that training to provide empathetic telehealth services can help you stand out. While telehealth training is not a nationwide requirement for nursing program curricula, many nurse leaders and nursing organizations believe it should be. Until it becomes a requirement, it is incumbent on nurses to seek out telehealth training, which can be done as a part of the continuing education hours required to keep nursing licenses active. Check out the National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers or the HHS Events page.
There isn't a specialty certification specific to Telehealth for nurses yet. Nevertheless, the AAACN (American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses) includes content specific to Telehealth and is often recommended.
How to Find Remote Nursing Jobs in Telehealth
Finding remote telehealth nursing jobs isn't too terribly difficult. After all, Telehealth was explored broadly at the height of the pandemic, and its uses have not been disregarded since. Nevertheless, the consensus among nursing leaders is that training in Telehealth is important. Therefore, one of the best things a nurse who wants to work remote telehealth nursing jobs can do is prove her interest and dedication to the subject through learning and training.
Telehealth Nursing Job Settings
With an industry-wide focus on keeping patients out of the hospital entirely, or minimizing their time spent in hospitals, services in ambulatory care settings have expanded, and as such, so have the responsibilities and roles nurses occupy in ambulatory care, which includes the adaptation and utilization of technology (Telehealth) to better serve in these settings. Furthermore, Telehealth provides access not only for people in under-served rural communities but for clinicians with other clinicians (think multi-disciplinary teams and consultations for complex cases) as well. This means nurses may find telehealth jobs in many healthcare settings, as described by the ANA:
- Primary/Specialty Care Offices - In these settings, nurses "can track and manage chronic conditions for patients who suffer from illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes using remote patient monitoring. Such approaches by nurses are supported by major healthcare organizations and centers."
- Schools - "School nurses use technology to connect with community providers not available within the school, such as PCPs, social workers, and speech and language pathologists. Technology includes but is not limited to, Bluetooth stethoscopes, otoscopes, spirometry, oximetry, and glucometer machines. Technology is leveraged in these settings to broaden the reach of healthcare services to underserved individuals attending school."
- Correctional Facilities - "correctional telehealth nurse serves as the telepresenter, facilitating comprehensive care through technologies for inmates. Visits are conducted both asynchronously (store and forward) and synchronously (real time) using secure platforms and peripherals (e.g., Bluetooth stethoscope, high definition camera). An example of store and forward is sending x-rays via technology to be reviewed; the x-ray is stored and then forwarded to be reviewed. Nurses also provide teletriage in this setting; this allows more appropriate decision-making regarding necessary transportation."
- Federally Qualified Health Centers - "FQHC providers were early adopters of Telehealth. Technologies expanded access to quality healthcare services in sparsely populated, high need areas. Since COVID-19, 98% of these FQHCs now use telehealth services to reach their patients. Nurses serve as the telehealth leaders and champions in most FQHCs. The nurse is not only responsible for the delivery of nursing care through Telehealth, but also the development of telehealth protocols related to reimbursement, training, and safe patient connections."
- Military/Field Medicine - "The Department of Veterans Affairs developed numerous telehealth programs to provide comprehensive care for the veteran population. Telehealth has eliminated the difficult time that veterans who live in rural areas have had with access to specialty services. Military nurses have also deployed Telehealth during disasters such as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017. Nurses helped to provide synchronous critical care to the victims from various command centers such as the Naval ship, Comfort. In 2018, nurses on the Navy hospital ship Mercy transmitted for the first time a telemedicine broadcast to the specialists at the Navy Medical Center in San Diego."
- Home Health - "They track biometric data that are submitted both synchronously and asynchronously. Based on this data, the nurse utilizes critical assessment and communication skills to provide feedback and education, with the goal of keeping patients in their homes. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded telehealth coverage to include face-to-face telehealth visits. Home health nurses are now reimbursed for virtual visits."
- Hospice - "Telehealth is showing great potential and value for patients receiving palliative care. The telepalliative care nurse can monitor patients through RPM, which allows for continuous tracking of symptoms and improved care management. The nurse can monitor the patient in real time for functional decline. This supports early intervention to help the patient to return to a level of comfort as soon as possible. Real-time monitoring alerts telepalliative care nurses about impending death; this early notice can better assure their presence during the time of death."
- Nursing Homes - "Research has shown that 70% of the transfers that occur from a nursing home are unnecessary. Telehealth consultation has decreased these transfers. Nurses are key to facilitating these visits."
- Hospitals - "Nurses facilitate consultation with specialists at the bedside. Bedside nurses use tablets and smart phones to connect patients to family members to improve the patient experience. Telehealth nurses care for patients in intensive care and telemetry units from distant command centers where they can consult with providers and provide management and direction as needed. In the hospital setting, the telehealth nurse coordinates discharge management and care coordination via technologies."
- Emergency Departments - "The telehealth triage nurse is uniquely prepared with the critical thinking, virtual assessment, and virtual communication skills necessary to determine access prioritization. Telehealth triage nurses facilitate transitions of care ranging from calling 911 for emergent residential issues to connecting patients with social workers. The telehealth triage nurse has proven to be cost-effective, safe, and an appropriate triage modality for populations who seek emergency services. Research has shown that this type of care results in 50% less patients requiring an emergency room visit."
Find PRN Jobs by Using Nursa
Nursa has PRN shifts available in all sorts of healthcare settings for nurses. Download Nursa, verify your nursing license, and start browsing shifts near you. Maybe you'll find a telehealth shift that works for you.