How Do I Become a Telemedicine Nurse?

Everything You Must Know About Becoming a Telemedicine Nurse

Is the role of a telemedicine nurse a job you’ve considered when taking stock of your career? Perhaps you’ve a nurse friend or colleague who left your team and clearly relishes their new healthy work/life balance.

You may have read about it – It’s likely, as telehealth is getting increased attention in the healthcare spotlight. Perhaps you’re tired of the rigid shiftwork and commute or the office politics distracting you from enjoying your career. Maybe you simply want a little more control in your life. Becoming a telemedicine nurse could indeed be your solution.

Here, we tell you everything you need to know about becoming and being a telemedicine nurse.

What Is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine can be described as the remote exchange of health data through the internet, phone, email, or video – or newly emerging virtual technologies. And it’s starting to make waves.

Previously, while other industries surged ahead with their use of technology and remote connectivity, healthcare lagged, with an unfamiliarity in how technology would work compatibly with patient care.

However, the pandemic forced the world to realize it could – and should – be done. Afterall, it enables patients to receive quality and affordable healthcare, with all parties at an advantage.

Why Telemedicine Is Important to Healthcare

New changes in Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mean telehealth is in integral element to the growth and success of American healthcare. Not only did Covid present a need for telemedicine; this new way of connecting healthcare to patients offers reduced healthcare costs and improved patient outcomes and satisfaction. Demand is there from patients, too: 88% of Americans want to continue accessing healthcare through telehealth beyond the pandemic. As such, an increased supply of telemedicine nurses is required.

Here are some of the many benefits that made telehealth the silver lining from 2020’s thunderous cloud on healthcare:

  • Access is greater – Including less privileged areas where in-person access is poor
  • Closer monitoring of health prevents costly treatment
  • It’s more convenient – Patients lose less money and time from childcare costs, parking fees, and commutes to attend a 15-minute appointment
  • Important follow-up appointments are made – 79% of patients at Massachusetts Hospital said scheduling a telemedicine follow-up appointment was more convenient than scheduling an in-person follow-up appointment
  • Convenience to patients means less time is lost through no-shows or late cancellations
  • Less cancellations means less financial loss to providers, and greater ease to fill slots at short notice
  • Businesses (employers) lose less productivity from time off for their staffs’ appointments
  • Damaging sectors such as mental health are improving due to more regular contact
  • Treatment plans and diagnoses are made quicker due to quicker connectivity between professionals
  • Patients are better educated and taking a more holistic approach over their own health and monitoring
  • Healthcare professionals are enjoying a more rewarding career and lifestyle, meaning they’re more likely to stay in healthcare

The role of telehealth is also crucial in easing tensions of a current nursing shortage by improving nurse utilization with all these benefits. Telehealth has high aspirations – and so can you, in the role of the telemedicine nurse.

The Role of the Telehealth Nurse

There are four main ways telemedicine nurses deliver care:

·      Live Video Conferencing

What you’ll most often think of when someone says telehealth. It’s the live, two-way interaction between you and the patient, most commonly to diagnose minor illnesses or triage to the most local emergency room, or to provide counseling and education directly (virtually) to the patient.

·      Store and Forward (Asynchronous)

A patient’s details, answers, and data are sent to you, where you can refer to specialists and consultants if required and return outcomes and treatment plans to the patient or their referring professional.

·      Remote Patient Monitoring

A patient’s personal data is collected from one location and transferred electronically to you to monitor them (their vital signs, weight, blood pressure, etc.) remotely.

·      Mobile Health

Devices are used to convey information of a patient to you in real time to monitor remotely, with the ability to call a local nurse or unit, should the patient need medical assistance. Sometimes referred to as a “safety-sitter.”

Skills You’ll Need

As a telemedicine nurse, you will need the same nursing skills as you would practicing in-person in a clinical setting. However, in addition you will also need the ability to utilize technology affectively so that you can accurately assess and communicate a patient’s physical and mental status. You’ll also need to:

  • Have excellent communication skills for reassurance, professionalism, and clear instruction
  • Be patient
  • Have strong coaching skills (usually to provide technical guidance to patients)
  • Utilize advanced organization skills to ensure you’re working productively, accurately, and effectively
  • Be a critical thinker – with fewer professionals around you, this skill is crucial
  • Be confident with the use of technology, problem-solving, and software updates as technology advances

You should also think about how you’d feel working without the support of a physically present team around you. Understand that you’d be mindful of your own wellbeing and when to ask for support, especially if you start to show signs of stress and burnout.

Salary and Job Outlook

The median annual salary for a telemedicine nurse is $92,924 (as of June 2021), but salaries can range between $79,907 and $108,507 per year. This can, however, vary widely depending on a variety of factors, including state, level of experience, organization of employment, and more.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is predicted to grow by 7% from 2019-2029, with an increase of 221,900 jobs required within the same time. That’s a much faster rate than the average occupation, and in response the telehealth sector will likely be increasing its required proportion of nurses to meet demand.

How to Become a Telemedicine Nurse

You’re fully knowledgeable about the role of the telemedicine nurse and you’re keen to get started. Here’s what to do:

1.     Get Your BSN

If you haven’t already attended nursing school, then this is where to start. You need to attain your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. You can also access at entry-level with an associate’s degree, but to stand out with excellence and advance your career potential, we recommend the BSN.

1.     Pass the NCLEX-RN

You need to become a registered nurse by passing the NCLEX-RN examination.

2.     Gain Experience

Most telehealth providers will want their telemedicine nurses to have some bedside experience – usually two years. This allows you to understand patients, processes, and the role of the nurse and surrounding professionals and departments better.

3.     Get Certified

While there are no specific certifications required to become a telemedicine nurse, the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (RN-BC) reassures healthcare providers that you have the advanced knowledge and competency to provide care in ambulatory care settings. This course will cover:

  • Clinical Practice
  • Communication
  • Professional Role
  • Systems/Legal and Regulatory
  • Education

To do this advanced nursing exam, you’ll need:

  • A current and active RN license in a U.S. state or territory (or foreign legal/professional equivalent)
  • Two years’ full-time practice as a registered nurse
  • A minimum of 2,000 clinical practice hours and 30 hours’ continued education in ambulatory/telehealth care in the last three years

The exam lasts for 3.5 hours consisting of 175 multiple-choice questions.

4.     Get Licensed

No matter where you’re based, you’ll need to obtain licenses for where you are practicing, which is wherever your patient is. This is great, because you suddenly have a massive reach to patients across the United States – you’ll learn, earn, and experience plenty.

However, you are required to ensure you obtain the right licenses for your practicing states, whether they’re individually required or fall under a compact state which grants multiple licensure for a cluster of states in the agreement. You can find out more here through the IMLCC.

The Final Step to Becoming a Telemedicine Nurse

You’ve got all the information, certification, skills, and determination to drive your healthcare career into the rewarding path of telemedicine. Your final, perhaps most important step, is to partner with a specialist staffing agency. At Loyal Source, we have the expertise to rapidly respond to our clients’ needs by ensuring we have some of the best telemedicine nurses on our books.

We take time to match you up with and locate the most incredible job opportunities in telemedicine, as soon as they become available. We’ll support you all the way, too, and ensure your career gets the acceleration you deserve. After all, your dedication and commitment to healthcare, we believe you deserve the best chance of success – and we know where to find it for you.

Contact Loyal Source today, and discover how we can help your career in telemedicine rocket!

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