Telehealth nurses offer remote nursing care through video calls and other forms of online communication. The ongoing digitization of healthcare has spiked interest in this niche. For patients in areas with no immediate access to healthcare, online services are the only option. The pandemic has accelerated this trend, as more and more patients simply cannot go outside. The following page will go over everything you need to know about this topical and exciting profession.
Telehealth nurses are registered nurses who offer healthcare services through telecommunication channels such as emails, private messaging, video chats and phone calls. After consultation and evaluation, the telehealth nurses determine whether they need further in-person treatment or can recover on their own. Patients contact these specialists for help with minor health problems, in most cases.
Telehealth nursing has changed the healthcare industry as we know it. Facilities are able to provide care services more efficiently, while patients get easy access to highly-specialized services.
Tasks and Responsibilities
Your specific responsibilities will depend on their chosen specialization and place-of-work. In most settings, however, a telehealth nurse can expect to carry out the following:
Offering high quality care services through video conferences, messages or phone calls
Scheduling appointments and referring patients to other specialists
Helping medical response teams with bringing patients to the hospital
Measuring vital signs like respiratory rate, blood glucose and oxygen saturation values
Educating patient and patient families on health management and prevention strategies
Giving advice and counsel, regarding minor medical concerns
Providing preoperative and post-operative care
Reducing patient load for doctors
Most telehealth nurses work with telephone triage centers. Depending on their specializations, they can find work in other places:
Outpatient care facilities
Poison control centers
Telehealth Nurse Salary
At the time of writing, Ziprecruiter estimates that Telehealth Nurses earn $72,201 a year. For reference, the BLS in 2020 listed the average Registered Nursing salary at $75,330 per year. While Nursing Telepractice salaries may seem lower than average, it is important to consider that healthcare salaries are highly variable. Glassdoor places the average Telehealth Nursing salary at $87,232 a year (not counting any additional pay). Additional certifications and experience will greatly influence how much you can earn.
Listed below are hourly wages arranged by years of experience.
1-4 years: $29.00
5-9 years: $23.00
10-19 years: $29.49
20+ years: $38.00
Because of their rising value to the healthcare system, facilities also offer a host of benefits packages to their employees. Though the specific package will depend on where you work, you can often expect the following:
Reimbursement for Certification and CE Costs
Assistance with site relocation and relocation packages
Dependent health insurance coverage
Paid Leave (Family Leave of Absence, Maternity, Bereavement)
Paid vacations and holidays
Insurance (Health, Vision, Dental, Life, etc)
Access to nursing conferences
How to Become a Telehealth Nurse
Step 1: Become a Registered Nurse
To become an RN, you first need to complete an accredited BSN or ADN nursing program. ADN nurses need to acquire their BSN through an RN to BSN bridge program, or an RN to MSN program that lets you earn your BSN and MSN at the same time. Once you graduate, you must take and pass the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse.
Step 2: Gain Bedside Experience
Before you proceed, you want to get some hours working in bedside care. Most companies look to employ telehealth nurses with several years of bedside care experience.
Step 2: Earn Certifications
Although there are no certifications specific to telehealth nurses, most opt to earn the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (RN-BC) offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Since telehealth nurses often provide care to patients in ambulatory care settings, this advanced certification provides helpful training and knowledge.
Active RN License in the US or a legally-recognized equivalent in another country
2 years of full-time RN experience
2,000 hours of clinical experience in ambulatory care settings or telehealth centers
30 hours of continuing education in ambulatory care and/or telehealth nursing within the last 3 years
As soon as you meet all the requirements, you can apply for the test. There is a $395 application fee, with discounts offered to members of the American Nurses Association and American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. The test itself will take 3-5 hours to complete, and consists of 175 multiple choice questions. 150 of the items are scored, and 25 are used to gather information on item performance, for tuning future exams.
As for the content, the test covers the following topics:
Systems/Legal and Regulatory
Just like any other RN, Telehealth Nurses have to renew their license by fulfilling a certain amount of CEU hours, paying a nominal fee and fulfilling a number of other requirements. Do note that certification requirements vary from state-to-state. You want to find your area’s specific requirements before you send your application. For more information, refer to your area’s State Board of Nursing.
According to the BLS, RN employment growth is projected to grow 9% annually from 2020 to 2030. This roughly translates to 194,500 annual job openings within this time. Telehealth nursing in particular is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years. The global telehealth industry is predicted to increase to $55 billion by 2025. In the present, 50% of all American hospitals offer telehealth care and 90% of healthcare executives plan to implement nursing telepractice eventually.