New York became the epicenter of the pandemic when the coronavirus reached the United States in early 2020. Home to some of the country’s finest nurses, it’s no surprise that they stepped up to the challenge. While their efforts were focused on getting COVID patients well, other health conditions didn’t simply go away. The situation put telehealth nursing front and center as an effective way to reduce the number of people in a doctor’s office or clinic and still get patients the care they need.
Nurses have been using phone calls to provide patient care for years, relaying lab results, refilling medication, and giving instructions and advice. By using video technology, they can expand those capabilities and meet with patients, diagnose some conditions, and provide certain services. Due to their success for both the patient and provider, telehealth appointments are likely here to stay. In fact, they offer several benefits for both the patient and the nurse.
First, telehealth visits help keep people safe. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, they are particularly effective for screening patients who may have symptoms of COVID-19. They are also effective for providing low-risk urgent care for potentially contagious non-COVID-19 conditions, helping patients stay home instead of risk exposing others.
Meeting with a nurse via video or phone provides an easier way for patients to get immediate care, which can be helpful for people who live a long distance from a clinic or hospital. Patients who have chronic health conditions may find telehealth appointments a convenient way to monitor and manage their symptoms and wellbeing. Another good use for telehealth calls is providing pre- and post-op information and care. Sometimes even physical or occupational therapy can be provided by video.
Technology also makes telehealth convenient for healthcare providers since it can be done anywhere. Nurses may work from home as well as from offices, clinics, or hospitals. And since healthcare is needed around the clock, becoming a telehealth nurse can offer flexible hours that fit your schedule.
Telehealth visits can save money for both the patient and the provider. Many healthcare organizations are making more use of telehealth visits as a way of reducing the number of visits to the emergency room. A study from Regence Health Plans found that patients save an average of $100 per visit by using telehealth instead of in-person office, urgent care, or emergency room visits.
Becoming a Telehealth Nurse
Currently, nurses are not required to be certified in telehealth medicine, however, they must still be appropriately licensed by their state(s) and comply with federal and state regulations, including patient confidentiality and HIPAA requirements. Telehealth nurses must also adhere to standards set in place by the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses.
Nurses who are good at asking questions and working with patients to diagnose and provide straightforward instruction and advice may enjoy a role as a telehealth healthcare provider. If being a telehealth nurse sounds like a rewarding role for you, St. Paul’s School of Nursing offers nursing programs in Staten Island and Queens that can help you get on the path to future of nursing. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 822-3018 and speak to one of our career counselors.