Nursing Beyond the Hospital: Navigating Remote Work and Best Practices

Written by: Miles Oliver, RN

Since the adoption of telehealth technologies, like video conferencing tools, there has been a significant rise in remote nursing programs. This increase in remote healthcare jobs couldn’t have come soon enough, as healthcare organizations have been under immense pressure due to nursing shortages.

The problem is that many nurses are burnt out because of higher demands that have been placed on them in recent years. So, it’s not surprising that many healthcare organizations have struggled to retain staff.

With remote nursing, however, nurses can still work in the field they love, but in a way that offers more flexibility so they can better prioritize their personal needs. This concept of putting yourself first to achieve a better work-life balance is part of the nursing WISELY framework. It helps nurses embrace their true calling while still living a healthy life so they can thrive in their careers.

In this post, my goal is to take a closer look at what remote nursing looks like, the kinds of roles you can get as a remote nurse, and offer best practices on how to transition to the remote nursing field.

 

What is Remote Nursing?

The term “remote nurse” might seem a bit backward to some, as the whole point of being a nurse is working with patients. It’s not uncommon for many to wonder how you can provide patient care while working remotely.

It is true that as a remote nurse, you likely won’t get to work in-person with your patients. However, that does not mean that you won’t still play a significant role in patient care. As a remote nurse, your role will likely be more concerned with back-end duties that help support what the on-site nurses are doing.

That said, you can still work as a remote nurse and have interactions with patients. There are many different roles that a remote nurse can take on, including working as a telemedicine clinic nurse. So your exact duties can vary depending on the specific role you take on.

Some of the most common remote nurse jobs, according to Unitek College, include:

● Registered nurse case manager
● Online nurse educator
● Telehealth nurse practitioners
● Legal nurse consulting
● Health coaching
● Clinical research
● Telephone triage
● Clinical informatics

 

These are just a few of many remote jobs you can find as a registered nurse. Keep in mind that aside from your nursing license, you might also need to acquire additional training for your desired remote role. Skills and additional training you may need will depend on the specific job you are interested in.

 

The Advantages of Working as a Remote Nurse

There are many advantages that come with shifting from onsite to remote nursing, including:

● More flexibility and better work-life balance with remote nursing.
● As remote nursing opens up jobs beyond the traditional healthcare setting, there are more career opportunities.
● There are fewer health risks with remote nursing.
● Less commuting means fewer expenses.

 

Working as a remote nurse means you might have to learn how to use more advanced digital tools. This can open the door to more opportunities for career advancement and professional development.

 

Best Practices and Tips to Help You Transition to a Remote Nursing Role

Though you might already have years of experience as a nurse, working as a remote nurse can come with its own unique set of challenges. To help you make this transition, I’ve put together some helpful tips and best practices to keep in mind.

1. Landing a Job As a Remote Nurse

Not all organizations will see you as a good fit simply because you already have nursing experience. You may need to develop new skills and show that you are well-suited to remote work to land a position in remote nursing.

 

Demonstrate that you are trustworthy and dependable. As a remote nurse, you will have less supervision and will need to show that you are capable of managing yourself. You will also need to highlight your technical competence, since remote work relies heavily on digital technologies.

 

Other skills you may need for a role in remote nursing can include:

 

● Good communication skills
● Critical thinking
● Problem solving abilities
● Adaptability
● Time management
● Organization

 

Even though you are working remotely, it is also important to maintain your empathy and patient-centered care skills as well. This is especially true if you will be working as a telehealth nurse.

 

2. Establish a Home Office

It’s helpful if any remote worker can have a home office space that is separate from the rest of their personal spaces. This is even more important as a remote nurse. Working as a remote nurse can still be stressful, so it’s helpful if you have a separate work space so you can easily separate work and personal life.

This could be areas of the house such as your basement or even your garage. If you do build a home office in a garage, however, it’s important to make sure it is still well-equipped, furnished, and a safe and comfortable space to work in.

Make sure you declutter, clean, and insulate your garage, set it up with the right lighting, and purchase suitable furniture and equipment. A good desk and desk chair is key. For equipment, you’ll need things like a reliable computer, high-quality webcam and microphone, strong internet connection, and headphones.

 

3. Stay Engaged and Communicative

Though working as a remote nurse does allow for a better work-life balance, that doesn’t mean you won’t get overwhelmed or burned out. To avoid burnout and help foster team collaboration, it’s important to learn to delegate and stay engaged and communicative.

Communication and teamwork are really important in remote work. However, since you are not physically present, it is easier for your needs to be overlooked. So when attending hybrid meetings, make sure you speak up and effectively communicate with your team to ensure you are all getting what you need to work effectively.

Don’t be afraid to chime in and make sure you practice awareness to stay present. The more you do these things during video conference meetings, the more you will stay engaged and make sure the team you are working with continues to communicate and collaborate effectively with you.

 

Wrapping Up

With so many advances in digital technology, the remote nursing field will likely continue to see a lot of growth. This means there will be a wealth of opportunities if you start transitioning to remote nursing now. If you take the time to do your research and learn the necessary skills, you can have a successful career in remote nursing all while maintaining a healthier work-life balance!

 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-teal-scrub-suit-on-a-video-call-7195118/

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