Telehealth Nurse Job: Requirements, Job Outlook, and Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 9, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Telehealth provides virtual services to patients, making it easier for them to access health care. Nurses use telehealth to provide nursing services to patients using videoconferencing software. Learning more about this career can help you decide if it's right for you. In this article, we define a telehealth nurse job, outline requirements, explore the work environment for this role, and share relevant skills.

What is a telehealth nurse job?

An individual who works in a telehealth nurse job provides nursing care using technology. This means that they may use different devices to communicate with patients, including web cameras, voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP), mobile phones, and conferencing software. Through this software, telehealth nurses provide visits and diagnostic tests when it can be difficult for in-person visits. Duties for telehealth nurses can include:

  • evaluating patients to determine their current medical conditions

  • recording case histories, symptoms, and medical concerns

  • monitoring patients' vital statistics, such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, and oxygen levels

  • assessing patients to determine if they require more urgent medical care

  • providing consultation to patients experiencing minor medical issues

  • supporting patients recovering from a surgery

  • assisting doctors while providing medical care

  • referring patients to specialists

Related: Guide to a Career in Telehealth Nursing (And Average Salary)

Requirements for telehealth nurses

The following are the requirements for becoming a telehealth nurse:

Earn your degree

Before becoming a telehealth nurse, it's necessary to become a registered nurse (RN). The first step to becoming an RN is to earn your degree. The requirements for education vary from province to province. In all provinces and territories except Quebec, it's mandatory to obtain your bachelor's degree in nursing before registering as a nurse. This undergraduate degree typically requires three to four years to obtain. In Quebec, you can become an RN with a nursing diploma. This diploma takes two to three years to complete.

Before applying to nursing school, it's necessary for you to have a background in biology and chemistry. When choosing a nursing program, it's important to ensure that the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing has accredited it. While it's unnecessary to obtain further education beyond an undergraduate degree, you may choose to pursue additional certifications to help advance your career. Having additional education can also help to differentiate you from other applicants when searching for a job.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Become a Nurse? (A Guide)

Apply for a provincial or territorial licence

The next step in becoming a registered nurse after you obtain your degree is to apply for a provincial or territorial licence in the location where you wish to practise. Each province and territory has its own nursing licensing board with different requirements. For instance, those wishing to become RN in British Columbia register with the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives. This includes registering and then taking an exam to test your nursing competency.

Related: How to Become an RN (With Requirements and Skills)

Pass the National Council Licensure Exam

It's necessary for nurses practising in North America to pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX), which is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) . Before registering for this exam, you need a licence from the nursing licensing board in your province or territory. The exam is a computerized test that comprises mostly multiple-choice questions. It's an adaptive-style exam, so there may be between 74 and 145 questions.

Gain work experience in a health care setting

Before moving into telehealth, it's important that nurses have experience working with patients in person. There are several locations where nurses may work to gain this experience, including hospitals, doctor's offices, and clinics. Working in these situations can help nurses learn how to work in collaboration with doctors and pharmacists, which is necessary for a career in telehealth nursing.

Related: 16 of the Best Positions in Nursing (With Duties and Salary)

Consider earning a Master of Science in Nursing

Earning an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can help nurses advance their careers and take on more senior roles, such as nursing manager, nurse educator, or nurse administrator. When earning a graduate degree in nursing, individuals can also focus on specific specialties, such as pediatrics, obstetrics, or psychiatry. Having these skills and advanced knowledge can help you get telehealth nursing opportunities.

Related: Different Jobs for Nursing Degrees (With Steps and Tips)

Acquire the technical equipment

To work in telehealth, it's necessary that you have the proper equipment to connect virtually with patients. Ask your potential employer about any plan or policy in place that may cover the cost of equipment. This equipment includes:

  • modem and connection

  • laptop or desktop computer

  • web camera

  • landline and mobile phone

  • web conferencing software

Work environment for telehealth nurses

Telehealth nurses can often work remotely from their home office. They may also work alongside other telehealth nurses in a call centre. Some professionals may work hybrid roles, meaning that they see patients in person and virtually through web conferencing software. These nurses may work in:

  • trauma centres

  • rehabilitation centres

  • outpatient facilities

Telehealth nurses may work typical office hours, or they may work evenings and weekends to provide care to patients who cannot attend at other times.

Related: 25 Top Health Care Jobs in Canada

Skills for telehealth nurses

Here are some skills you can develop to excel as a telehealth nurse:

Scientific knowledge

It's important that telehealth nurses have a strong understanding of science, as this is the foundation of medicine . This includes human anatomy, physiology, biology, and pharmacology. While nurses gain an understanding of this in school, it's also important that they regularly continue their education and stay informed about advances and changes in the medical field.

Ethics

Ethics refers to how people conduct themselves in life. Nurses abide by a Nursing Code of Ethics, which helps them treat patients professionally. This code of ethics includes:

  • justice

  • beneficence

  • nonmaleficence

  • accountability

  • fidelity

  • autonomy

  • veracity

Related: What Is Ethical Behaviour? (Importance and Examples)

Digital literacy

Because telehealth nurses use technology to provide services to their patients, it's important that they're comfortable using digital tools. This includes being familiar with using computers, mobile phones, and e-mail systems. Understanding how to work with technology can also make it easier to adapt to using different videoconferencing software and virtual calendar systems.

Related: What Is Digital Literacy? (With Definition and Importance)

Communication skills

Strong communication is extremely important in a role as a telehealth nurse. Through videoconferencing software, telehealth nurses use verbal communication skills to help patients understand important medical information. It's also important for telehealth nurses to have strong written communication skills as they record notes about each patient and consult with other medical professionals.

Organization skills

Telehealth nurses use these organization skills in managing their appointment load and scheduling follow-ups. Organization skills are also important in helping telehealth nurses to manage their time for appointments. Because of this, they can provide their services on time and address several cases within a day.

Empathy

When working with patients who may experience difficult medical problems, empathy and compassion are important. Empathy refers to being able to understand how another person might be feeling in a situation. When nurses use empathy, they can provide comfort to their patients while communicating important medical information. This can help to develop a more positive relationship and allow the patient to have more trust in their healthcare team.

Related: Why Pursue a Career in Nursing in Canada (With Job List)

Critical thinking skills

Critical thinking skills refer to the ability to interpret data and form a conclusion based on this information. Telehealth nurses use these skills regularly, as they often take patients' vital signs and then form a decision about whether further medical care is necessary. Telehealth nurses may also use critical thinking skills to work to stabilize a patient until they can see a doctor.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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