4 Things Nurse Practitioners Need to Know About a Career in Telehealth

The remote nurse practitioner industry is growing. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nurse practitioner employment opportunities are projected to grow 52% from 2020 to 2030. Compared to all other careers, this growth is much faster due to the increased demand for healthcare services. Nurse practitioners typically work in healthcare facilities like hospitals and clinics, but there is one more way they can provide care: telehealth services.

Telehealth connects patients and medical professionals through telecommunication technology, a viable way to meet the increased healthcare demands. If you’re interested in a telehealth career as an NP, keep reading below.

The right credentials differ per location

A remote NP typically has to undergo training from a telehealth company. This will ensure that they are qualified to provide care via a telehealth platform as well as other remote procedures. While most NPs will undergo this practice, what’s different from one another’s experience is the credentials and requirements they have to acquire. After all, with telehealth’s accessibility, you may want to practice across state lines to reach more patients. However, each state will have its own laws and documentation to follow since Arizona, Indiana, and Florida are the only states that don’t require this.

So, if a professional in California wants to take a remote nurse practitioner job in Michigan, they have to be certified to practice by the boards in both states—the Board of Registered Nursing in California and the Michigan Board of Nursing. If you’re planning to practice across state lines, be sure to check the nursing certification of each state.

Practicing telehealth etiquette is a must

Bedside manner is normally observed in clinics and hospitals, and it refers to a medical professional’s approach and attitude towards a patient. While telehealth is virtual, the same practice must be observed. A National Library of Medicine study defines telehealth etiquette—or ‘webside manner’—as the way a care provider conducts themselves during a virtual encounter. This includes ensuring privacy, good communication skills, and environmental considerations during sessions. A few tips to start with as an NP are maintaining eye contact through the webcam and asking if the patient can hear you clearly.

You need to be technologically adept

Telehealth sessions are conducted with the use of technological devices. Commonly, a patient and an NP will converse with one another through a videoconferencing call. Our article ‘50 Things We Should Teach Every New Doctor’ mentions how technology can help deliver high-quality healthcare. As such, an NP must be technologically adept to handle making video calls, digitally storing patient information, and using remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology like oximeters. Further, you may need to assist patients in handling their own technological devices such as taking photos and videos of symptoms and sending them.

Technology is a huge part of a telehealth career, so make sure you know how to use devices like laptops, videoconferencing apps, and RPM devices. Aside from learning this through telehealth company training, conduct mock sessions with a fellow medical professional or friend to get the hang of things.

There’s more flexibility in your schedule

MedCity News notes that telehealth nursing creates opportunities for flexibility and inclusivity not only for patients but for NPs themselves. You can expect more freedom in choosing your shifts, the number of patients you can accommodate, and even continuing to work as a retiree. Depending on the situation, you may be called for in-person appointments at times. This is one key difference between telehealth and in-person appointments to take note of as an NP.

As the demand for nurses increases, telehealth is a suitable option for NPs to meet this. With the proper credentials and medical skills, you can succeed as a telehealth NP today.

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