Are you searching for a nursing job that allows you to skip the scrubs and stressful commutes? Remote nursing jobs offer these perks and more.
From telemedicine to teaching, nurses are finding that they don’t have to step inside a hospital or clinic to help patients.
No doubt, telemedicine certainly opened the door to more remote nursing jobs. For instance, Oregon Health State University’s telemedicine program captured about 13,000 telehealth visits in March 2020, a drastic rise from a mere 1,100 visits in February 2020, according to its website.
Demand for telemedicine services stems from many converging factors. These include the rapid expansion of healthcare technology, social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and growing disparities affecting patients’ access to health care. Rural communities are especially affected by disparities, according to the National Rural Health Association.
The first telehealth nursing jobs emerged in the late 1990s. These mostly consisted of nurse telephone helplines, or nurse triage, said Mona Stecker, DNP, NP-BC, CNRN, SCRN, who runs a private practice with neurology patients, in Fresno, California. Stecker is also president of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses.
After graduate school, Stecker worked for a health system that also operated an insurance branch with telephone nurse triage. The concept of telephone nurse triage evolved with the emergence of video technology and synchronous appointments, she said.
“At that time, RNs, LPNs, and LVNs could do triage over the phone,” said Stecker. “Now, big hospital systems with their own insurance plans are doing nursing triage, but you’re doing more than nursing triage and talking over the phone because you can visualize the patient with video.”
Patients also seem to appreciate having access to telehealth services. About 80% of patients reported satisfaction with telehealth visits, according to a literature review of academic and clinical studies published by the American Telemedicine Association, in their “Patient Satisfaction in Virtual Care” report.
In addition, in a small NIH study, nurses reported overall job satisfaction with working in telehealth nursing.
Virtual nursing jobs for all skill levels
As technology continues to keep people connected, virtual jobs will continue to expand, which can mean more remote nursing opportunities for nurses at all education and experience levels.
“For nurses with associate’s degrees or a BA, there are utilization review jobs at insurance companies and individual hospitals,” Stecker said. “In Fresno hospitals, utilization review jobs are completely remote.”
This job entails reviewing hospitalized patients’ medical records. RN reviewers compare labs, diagnostics, vital signs, and nursing notes to verify appropriate care based on diagnosis. Reviewers can downgrade patients from inpatient to outpatient ambulatory care, Stecker said.
Hospitals hire reviewers to ensure the proper level of patient care is justified “because hospitals do not want to be blindsided by insurance companies that will not pay for services,” Stecker added.
Whether the job applicant seeks a part-time remote nursing job, full-time remote, or a hybrid position (splitting time at home and in-office), hospitals hire utilization reviewers in all capacities.
Another option lies with insurance companies that hire RNs for virtual jobs as case managers. In this role, RNs review workers’ compensation claims and verify that the appropriate course of treatment is provided based on an employee’s illness or injury.
Advanced practice nurses (APRNs) looking for virtual nursing jobs have options as well, including teaching in online clinical nurse education programs. Academic institutions offer plenty of remote nursing jobs from home, Stecker said.
Content reviewing is another role APRNs can fill from home. To find these remote nursing jobs, Stecker suggested querying nursing journals and textbook publishers. There’s demand in telehealth for APRNs in telepsychiatry, urgent care, as remote telehealth nurse practitioners, and in executive level positions.
If the legal side of health care sounds intriguing, Stecker said legal nurse consultants (LNC) hired for malpractice cases often work remotely, as well. Law firms look for nurses at all levels, Stecker said.
“Education and experience is law firm dependent,” she said, so RNs with an associate’s degree and the right experience may qualify for certain jobs at law firms. “In a malpractice case, if a patient gets a catheter infection, an RN with bedside nursing experience can review the bedside notes to see if the patient was bathed and properly toileted.”
APRNs review diagnostic testing and medication orders. The goal is to determine if the right orders were placed and in a timely fashion, she said.
Remote nursing may not be for everyone, but tech-savvy nurses can find it a challenging, yet satisfying route, if the need or desire arises to try something new within the profession.
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