The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the way many industries are working, including health care. As a nurse, you may never have considered the possibility that you can do your job remotely from home. Maybe you want a change from bedside nursing or a medical office environment.
The solution to this may be telehealth. Using technology, telehealth connects patients with their health care providers when they aren’t in the same location. It’s available in every province and territory, and services can be tailored to patients’ needs.
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Telehealth nursing involves managing health care remotely through the use of technology to deliver nursing care and conduct nursing practice. The goal of telehealth, as stated by Canada Health Infoway, is to bring care closer to home for Canadians by linking patients with their health care team when they are not in the same location.
Specific ways telehealth nursing provides patient care include:
Overall, telehealth offers better access for and reach of patients, cost savings for health care providers, different or more flexible hours for nurses and patients, and reduced cost for services.
Telehealth nursing was common in rural and isolated areas prior to COVID-19 (Canada implemented telemedicine over 40 years ago in these communities), but it was slow to adopt elsewhere. Now it has become much more common throughout the coronavirus pandemic, since an increased number of patients, even with mild health issues, are being told to stay at home. To ease the burden on limited hospital resources and crowded facilities, and to avoid further spreading the virus, even patients with COVID-19 symptoms are using telehealth services whenever possible.
As a result, there are many telehealth nursing jobs available and the demand is expected to grow. In fact, provincial and territorial governments are advising health care practitioners to use virtual visits wherever possible.
As of mid-April, in-person health care visits in Canada have decreased by about 50% since pre-COVID-19. At the same time, virtual methods (phone, video, and messaging or email) have increased over the same period by about 37%:
The most common telehealth nursing jobs are advice nurse, triage nurse, and medical office nurse. The functions of telehealth nursing jobs include consultation, assessment/monitoring, diagnosis, treatment, transfer of information, client education, and professional development. Telehealth nursing jobs may involve specific tasks such as:
If you decide to practice telehealth nursing, keep in mind it’s critical that you can identify life-threatening patient situations along with urgent and acute symptoms.
Currently, there is no certification for telehealth nursing and you can work as a telehealth nurse within the scope of practice defined by your regulatory association or college (such as BC’s), and in compliance with provincial or territorial laws.
Health care organizations and recruiters across Canada are actively hiring telehealth nurses. You must have a few years of direct patient care on your resume to be considered for telehealth nursing jobs. Check out nursing-specific job boards (like the telehealth jobs posted on Nurse Avenue) or reach out to your professional network.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, you can expect to see more and more telehealth jobs. Right now is the perfect time to take advantage of the telehealth nursing job opportunities out there if you’re looking for some extra work/experience. If you’re seeking a career change within the nursing field, telehealth nursing may be an excellent option for you to continue providing patient care.
Are you a current telehealth nurse or have worked as a telehealth nurse before? We’d love to hear your advice/tips to add to this article and share with our networking group.
Please send your tips to email@example.com.
Emma Caplan writes and edits client-facing documents and takes pride in making them sales-ready and reader-friendly. She has additional experience in quality control and proofreading. She has written articles and podcast summaries for the Vancouver Real Estate Podcast, edited fiction and non-fiction books, and volunteers as a copy editor for Editors BC’s West Coast Editor and Students for High Impact Charities.
Emma has also earned a certificate in editing and a bachelor of management degree. In her free time, Emma enjoys hiking, travelling, and creating jewelry. Connect with her on LinkedIn.