All About Telehealth Nursing

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What is telehealth nursing? Telehealth nursing involves delivering care to patients remotely using telecommunications technology, such as phones and videoconferencing software. With telehealth nursing, nurses can enjoy more convenient, flexible careers in their chosen specialty. Telehealth nursing jobs include case manager, nurse educator and nurse consultant.

telehealth nurse using a tablet

So, you’ve decided you want to become a nurse. The next question is: What kind of nurse do you want to be? There is a nursing specialty for virtually every area of healthcare — from informatics to emergency medical evacuation flights. One nursing specialty that has become increasingly popular is telehealth nursing.

What is telehealth nursing, and how does telehealth impact nursing practice? We’ll dive into all of that here. No matter where your nursing career eventually takes you, you can build a firm foundation for the future at Utica University. With our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program and Advanced Standing BS in Nursing program, you could graduate with your nursing degree in as few as 16 months and be ready to pursue your chosen nursing specialty.

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What Is Telehealth Nursing?

Telehealth nursing involves delivering healthcare services remotely via technology. This technology might be relatively simple, such as a phone call, or a bit more complex, such as a HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing platform enabling providers to see their patients remotely.

This care delivery model is nothing new; it’s been used for decades. However, the technology has dramatically evolved and improved, and telehealth appointments have become more widely used.

Telehealthcare can take many forms. Consider the following:

  • A patient calls the doctor’s office because she’s experiencing side effects from a new medication. The nurse talks to her about her side effects and prescribes a similar medication over the phone, digitally transmitting the prescription to her pharmacy.
  • An elderly patient is homebound and cannot get to his appointment. A provider sets up a videoconference appointment instead, diagnoses him with an upper respiratory infection and provides treatment recommendations.
  • A patient with diabetes is struggling to control her blood glucose levels. She’s placed on a continuous glucose monitor, and the readings are automatically and electronically transmitted to a nurse, who can keep track of the patient’s health remotely.
  • A patient has been prescribed a new medication but is unsure whether to take it with food. He logs into his health insurance patient portal and chats with a nurse from the insurer, who provides the correct medication instructions.

In short, telehealth nursing can accomplish quite a lot. One common thread in all these examples is that the remote delivery of healthcare services provides greater convenience and flexibility for providers and patients and greater access to care — particularly for patients with transportation difficulties and those in underserved areas.

patient talking to nurse on digital tablet

How Does Telehealth Impact Nursing Practice?

We’ve already touched on some ways telehealth nursing affects nursing practice. Namely, it provides convenience, flexibility and greater accessibility. For example, providers can potentially see higher volumes of patients, given the more efficient healthcare delivery system.

In some cases, telehealth nursing can also improve patient outcomes. With remote patient monitoring technology (e.g., a continuous glucose monitor that electronically transmits readings), nurses can better track how their patients are faring.

In short, telehealth nursing has the potential to:

  • Improve communication between nurses and their patients
  • Enhance the patient education experience
  • Empower patients to take better control of their chronic conditions
  • Increase accessibility to care in underserved areas and for patients with transportation limitations

A Glimpse at the Future of Telehealth Nursing

Only time will tell what the future of telehealth nursing brings. However, it will likely continue to expand access to quality care and allow for more patient visits, particularly in geographic areas characterized by overburdened health systems and limited access to in-person care.

Virtual healthcare delivery will also likely continue to expand into more specialty areas. It’s already used to triage patients who need urgent care for minor but pressing health issues (e.g., upper respiratory infections). Virtual behavioral healthcare has also become quite popular, with access to care available through an app or website. However, other nursing specialties — from dermatology to obstetrics — will likely utilize virtual healthcare more frequently.

In addition, telehealth nursing has the potential to combine with artificial intelligence (AI) applications. AI may be used in the future for remote patient monitoring and predicting potential health complications.

nurse with patient

Wondering if nursing is right for you? Learn about these essential characteristics of a nurse.

Types of Telehealth Nursing Jobs

If you’re interested in a career in telehealth nursing, you have many options. First, you must earn your nursing degree, pass the NCLEX-RN and gain at least a few years of clinical experience. Then, you can pursue one of the telehealth careers below.

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Beyond telehealth careers, there are many opportunities. Check out these 10 alternative careers for nurses outside the hospital.

Telehealth RN

A telehealth RN performs the same duties as an in-office RN but with some differences. For example, you can’t physically examine patients or check vital signs. Instead, you must rely on excellent communication skills as you interview patients to explore the health issues they are experiencing.

A telehealth RN may:

  • Do follow-up appointments for post-discharge patients
  • Answer questions about medications, medical conditions and treatment plans
  • Assess conditions virtually
  • Review and update medical charts

One of the most essential duties of a telehealth nursing professional is to understand the limits of the technology. Not all medical issues can be dealt with virtually. It’s important to emphasize to patients the need to see an in-person provider when necessary.

Telehealth Nurse Educator

All nurses are educators to some extent, as patient education is integral to the job. However, some take this responsibility further by specializing as a telehealth nurse educator. In this role, you would teach the next generation of nursing students.

Just as you can take online coursework at Utica University for our ABSN program or Advanced Standing BS in Nursing program, you might one day become an online nursing instructor. You would be responsible for developing lesson plans, delivering recorded or live lectures and answering student questions.

Nurse Consultant

Another telehealth nursing job to consider is the role of nurse consultant. There are different types of specializations within nurse consultancy work, as follows:

  • Clinical nurse consultant: Assesses the healthcare delivery systems within hospitals and clinics to develop and evaluate standards of practice
  • Operations nurse consultant: Consults with senior leaders of health systems regarding operational matters, such as those about finance, human resources or administration
  • Legal nurse consultant: Serves as a liaison between attorneys and healthcare staff, providing informed opinions on individual patient cases and case management

Nurse consultants may hold an in-office position, work 100% remotely, or with a hybrid office/remote arrangement.

nurse sitting with patient

Nurse Case Manager

In a typical hospital setting, RNs often do not work with patients for the entirety of their medical journey. For example, a surgery patient may be cared for by a surgical nurse during the operation, looked after by the intensive care unit (ICU) team while in critical condition after a serious surgery and then cared for by an entirely different department before discharge.

If you want to work remotely and look after patients for their entire health journey, consider becoming a nurse case manager. Nurse case managers develop, implement, and assess patient care plans, particularly for those dealing with chronic diseases or recovering from surgery or a serious injury.

Nurse case managers serve as both RNs and patient advocates, as well as patient educators, healthcare coordinators and insurance liaisons.

Telehealth Nursing Specialties

Before choosing your telehealth nursing career path, it’s worth considering nursing specialties that may lend themselves to a remote or hybrid work arrangement. Consider the following options:

  • Urgent care
  • Women’s health
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatric-mental health
  • Informatics
  • Geriatrics
  • Post-acute
  • Dermatology

Begin Your Nursing Journey at Utica University

student nurse with workbook

Whether you want to become a telehealth nurse or any other nurse, you can start at Utica University. With three start dates per year and two program sites in NY, we can accept more students than other nursing programs. Plus, we pair in-person experiential learning with online coursework for greater convenience.

When you contact us, you’ll be assigned a dedicated admission representative who will walk you through each step of the admission process — from eligibility review to application submission.

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