What Is Telehealth Nursing?

Telehealth nursing is a career that enables you to give much-needed care to people who may not have reliable transportation, those who struggle with chronic disease, or those who are otherwise unable to receive in-person care. Telehealth nurses typically see patients via video chat and can help offer care remotely.

Nurse speaking virtually to patient on tablet

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen an even greater need for care without close contact — resulting in telehealth visits increasing by 50% in March 2020. The Madonna University Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program prepares you for a career in telehealth nursing by enabling you to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree on an accelerated timeline.

In this blog, we’ll go over the benefits of telehealth nursing, how to become a telehealth nurse, and the career outlook of the profession.

What Does a Telehealth Nurse Do?

Telehealth nurses are able to treat patients regardless of their location. This is a huge advantage for patients who live in rural locations, those with chronic diseases, people who have trouble getting around, or those who might be physically unable to receive treatment in person.

Telehealth nurses offer care in schools that may not be able to staff an on-campus school nurse, and they also provide care in hospitals wanting to mitigate overcrowded emergency rooms and long waiting times.

Telehealth nurses can interview patients, monitor vital signs, and even talk patients through addressing minor injuries like burns or scrapes. They can also assess maladies like rashes or allergic reactions and explain treatment and medication plans to patients.

Where Do Telehealth Nurses Work?

Telehealth nursing can be done anywhere, as long as the technology needed is available. As such, telehealth nurses can hold telehealth sessions in their homes, at clinics, at hospitals, in prisons, and in private practices.

5 Steps to Becoming a Telehealth Nurse

As a student enrolled in the Madonna ABSN program, you’ll graduate prepared to sit confidently for the NCLEX and take the next steps toward becoming a registered nurse. Once you’ve successfully passed the exam and earned your RN, you’ll be ready to make the next move toward being a telehealth nurse.

1. Earn a BSN

The first step on your career path toward becoming a telehealth nurse is to earn your BSN. Madonna can help expedite this process, empowering you to earn your BSN in as few as 16 months — depending on your previous education. Rather than spending years earning your nursing degree, we offer a comprehensive curriculum on an accelerated timeline without compromising quality.

Madonna ABSN student working with sim manikin

What is nursing school like? Find out how to prepare for our ABSN program in this blog.

2. Gain Experience as an RN

Before you transition to a career as a telehealth nurse, it’s important to get a year or two as a registered nurse under your belt. Once you’ve mastered rotations in a hospital or healthcare facility, translating those skills to telehealth will be more seamless.

3. Meet Licensure Requirements

In addition to your RN license, as a telehealth nurse, you may need to practice in several states — which could mean obtaining multiple state licenses. The nurse licensure compact may be a great way to do so, as it allows registered nurses to practice in all compact member states.

4. Meet Competency Standards

Telehealth nurses practice within the American Nursing Association standards for safety. Because telehealth nurses treat patients who are in ambulatory care settings, it’s vital that they have the knowledge and skills to provide ambulatory care. You can obtain certification through the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses and the American Nurses Association, although depending on the position, it may not be required.

5. Research Telehealth Positions and Apply

There are many options when it comes to finding a job as a telehealth nurse. You could work for a school system, providing rural schools with telehealth care as a remote school nurse. You could work for a healthcare facility or hospital, or you could offer accessible care through a pharmacy. Understanding the opportunities telehealth can provide and deciding where you’d fit best will serve you well when searching for a position.

6. Have a Love and Understanding of Technology

elderly patient at home talking with a doctor virtually on a computer

Because this career depends heavily on technology to bridge the gap of patient care, it goes without saying that a great telehealth nurse knows how to not only utilize technology, but also how to troubleshoot when issues arise. Telehealth nurses need to be comfortable navigating many different platforms to communicate with patients and need to be comfortable on videocalls and online chats. Communication here is key — specific and clear instructions will be vital in communicating care and treatment plans as a telehealth nurse.

Employment Outlook for Telehealth Nurses

Think about a typical doctor’s visit: you may have to take time off of work, you drive to the office, check in, wait in a waiting room for a while, and then you’re shown to an exam room where you wait a while longer before being seen. It makes sense that patients who have minor concerns or questions would want to skip all of that and talk to their healthcare professional directly from the comfort of their home or workplace.

With that in mind, the employment outlook for telehealth nurses seems to be strong. As the demand for telehealth nursing is relatively new, there’s not much hard data yet about how the profession may grow. However, a report from McKinsey & Company found that usage of telehealth services is 38 times higher than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The report stated that 13-17% of all outpatient appointments were conducted virtually.

Change Lives in as Few as 16 Months

Ready to put your dream of becoming a registered nurse into action? With the [email protected] program, if you have a minimum of 60 college credits from a regionally accredited university, you can become a nurse in as few as 16 months. To see if Madonna University is right for you, fill out our online form, and an admission officer will contact you.