Telehealth nursing is in high demand. You can thank the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns when, for the first time ever, people were advised against going to their doctor’s office.
The only alternative to in-person healthcare visits is telemedicine. Although it can’t replace in-person appointments fully, telemedicine can help provide patients with necessary medical care — all they need is a stable internet connection and smartphone, tablet, or computer with a camera.
Thousands of practitioners want to utilize telemedicine solutions and reap its benefits, including nurses, because telehealth usage is at its peak — patients like the convenience of it, whether remotely visiting with a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional. Healthcare professionals like providing remote healthcare services because they can optimize their workflow, resulting in seeing more patients and increasing revenue.
Nurses are in high demand across the country, and telehealth nursing is too. Telehealth nursing delivers care remotely to improve efficiencies and access to healthcare.
To become a telehealth nurse, you need to be aware of the rules, policies, and regulations.
What is telehealth?
The Health Resources & Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines telehealth as the use of telecommunications technologies and electronic information to promote long-distance health care, public health administration, and patient and professional health-related education.
All of these elements are intended to assist those who are unable to see a doctor or healthcare professional in person. The telecommunication technologies include the internet, streaming media, store-and-forward imaging, videoconferencing, and terrestrial and wireless communications.
Every state has different telehealth definitions, though. The majority of the definitions have a huge overlapping area, and some of them are nearly identical. Certain state laws make a clear distinction between telemedicine and telehealth, whereas others use the terms interchangeably.
States that do make a distinction between the two use telehealth as a broader term — it covers the remote delivery of both clinical and non-clinical treatment. Telemedicine, within these definitions, refers to clinical treatment only and always includes diagnosis and treatment.
For example, California’s telemedicine definition is shorter, stating that telehealth is a way of delivering public health and healthcare services when the recipient is at an originating site and the practitioner at a distant site.
But, Louisiana defines telehealth as a mode of delivering healthcare services that utilize information and communication technologies to enable the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of patients at a distance from healthcare providers.
That’s two definitions from two states. Add the definitions provided by other regulatory bodies, medical boards, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the mix, and it’s easy to see where confusion regarding telemedicine and telehealth could occur.
For telehealth nursing or telenursing, you must familiarize yourself with the definition your state provides.
What are the requirements for telenursing?
You need to meet certain requirements if you want to become a telehealth nurse. These steps are:
- Attend Nursing School
To be a registered nurse, you need to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. ADN-prepared nurses must complete an additional step of either completing their BSN degree or entering into an accelerated RN to MSN program, which lets them earn their BSN and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at the same time.
- Pass the NCLEX-RN
You become a registered nurse by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
- Gain Bedside Experience
Before transitioning to telehealth nursing, gain bedside experience. It’s an essential task to accomplish, and most healthcare companies may want several years of bedside experience before considering a nurse for telenursing.
- Earn Your RN-BC Certification
Since telehealth nurses often provide care to patients who are in ambulatory care settings, they must possess the right knowledge and key competencies. That’s why telehealth nurses take the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (RN-BC).
The above may be the basic requirements for telenursing, but, in general, a telehealth nurse should also:
- Have clinical knowledge
- Know the limitations of telenursing in their state
- Understand protocols, policies, and procedures
- Know what to do in case of an emergency
- Be able to maintain their equipment
- Understand how they can utilize technology to share information with colleagues
- Follow the regulations and laws regarding the protection of medical data
- Know how to collect the data necessary for remote patient monitoring
- Be able to put together a risk prevention plan for patients
- Know what to do if a telecommunication channel stops working
- Have an ethically correct attitude
- Understand the benefits of telehealth
- Have analytical skills
- Be capable of training their patient to use telecommunication equipment
- Use medical data in patient care
Telehealth nurses have a variety of job responsibilities; they need to cover various practice areas to provide assistance to patients remotely. It’s important to possess the right skills to provide quality care to your patients. Keep these requirements in mind when you pursue your telenursing path.
You may also want to consider joining the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) to provide care across state borders.
What Is the Nurse Licensure Compact?
In an effort to make telenursing more widespread and available across the United States, the Nurse Licensure Compact exists. The Nurse Licensure Compact is an agreement that allows a nurse to have one multistate license with the ability to practice in the home state and other compact states. It enables nurses to immediately start working in another state without having to apply and wait for another license. They can also provide cross-border or telehealth nursing services to clients in any of the compact states.
So far, over six million nurses have taken the NCLEX exam, which goes to show that telehealth nursing is in high demand. If you want to practice telehealth nursing, you must pass NCLEX. If you move to a different state afterward, you will have to obtain a new Compact license, even if that state is part of the Compact. Know the NCLEX examination steps for your guide on navigating the Nurse Licensure Compact examination.
Where can you practice telehealth nursing?
The eligibility for telehealth nursing is highly dependent on the state you live in, but for the most part, you can provide telemedicine to patients at the following sites:
- Healthcare clinics
- Community-based settings
- Long-term care facilities
- Post-acute care facilities
- Mobile units
- Clinicians’ offices
- Nursing call centers
- Workplace settings
Generally, anywhere the proper technology is available, such as to monitor a patient’s heart rate, respiration, oxygen levels, and blood glucose remotely — is a suitable place for telehealth nursing.
What tasks does telehealth nursing involve?
Telehealth nursing can include various tasks, depending on the patient in need of remote care. Some of the most common tasks a telehealth nurse provides are below.
What Telehealth Systems Allow Nurses To Do
Monitor Patient Data
Consult Patients Remotely
Provide Patient Care
What are the advantages of telenursing?
Telenursing has many advantages, but some of the most important advantages are:
- Reduces overall healthcare costs
- Enhances patient satisfaction
- Gives access to a greater selection of healthcare delivery options
- Reduces emergency room visits
- Helps develop more reliable preventive care options
- Leverages nursing expertise
- Manages chronic illnesses more efficiently
Telenursing is the best way to make sure patients receive the care they need, especially if they live in a remote area and can’t get help otherwise.
Are there any disadvantages that come with telenursing?
Although there are a plethora of advantages, telenursing comes with a few downsides. The majority of them consist of legal and regulatory concerns, such as:
- Licensure for healthcare workers
- Online prescriptions of controlled substances
- Medical malpractice
- Equipment maintenance
States are working on regulating telehealth practices better and more thoroughly to guarantee the secure and efficient treatment of patients who consult with a healthcare provider remotely.
There are already hundreds of case studies that show the overall improvement of medical care thanks to telehealth options. But providers can’t disregard the necessity to protect patient data and privacy, which is why Curogram provides HIPAA-compliant software for telemedicine that makes it even more effective while maintaining security and law adherence.
Why should you use Curogram for successful telehealth nursing?
Curogram is a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform that was created specifically for healthcare workers, including telehealth nurses. Curogram comes with a variety of different features such as that make it easy for you to have a successful telenursing practice.
A huge advantage of Curogram is that you can integrate it into any EHR system as it automates the bulk of administrative work, features video visits, waiting room, and remote monitoring over a HIPAA-compliant SMS — allowing you to see more patients and dedicate more time to them. Having more appointments results in a significant spike in revenue.
Medical professionals must adhere to strict and organized workflows, which is why they may hesitate to adopt digital solutions that manage their day-to-day tasks. Curogram mimics in-person workflows, making the transition to the virtual setting seamless.