What is Telehealth or Telephone Triage nursing? This is a service that nurses provides to a client or patient, assessing their needs by phone and determining if emergency care is needed.
The Telehealth nurse interviews and assesses the condition of the patient/client to determine the appropriate intervention.
The intervention may be counseling the patient to administer self-care at home, advising the patient to go immediately to an urgent care or emergency room setting, or following a protocol (standardized procedure) that advises a client to perform a specific treatment.
You, as the RN, needs to be knowledgeable and competent in your nursing skills to be able to perform an over the phone assessment, evaluation, referral, or give advice to patients and/or family members.
You are providing healthcare from a distance as the prefix tele means “at a distance.”
Is this a work at home job for nurses? Yes and no. Yes in that some jobs do allow you to work from home while other jobs have you working from a certain call center area.
If you are lucky enough to get a job in Telehealth that allows you to work from home after a training period, that’s great! You have the benefit of working from home while being employed by someone else that offers benefits, health insurance and pays your taxes for you.
It’s just one more alternative nurses have when deciding on a specialty or making a career change.
Remember though, strict HIPPA laws apply here and if you work in the medical profession you know what I am talking about. You must work in a separate room with a door that closes with no distractions such as kids or dogs barking. If a client hears any background noise you could be in violation of HIPPA laws so keep this in mind when applying for Telehealth position.
If you have experience in emergency nursing or Home Health where you did telephone triage or “on call” you would have the expertise needed to work in Telephone Triage nursing.
I’ve been in Home Health for 12 years now doing telephone triage on weekends so jumping into this kind of work would be easy for me.
Can you become certified in Telehealth Nursing? Not anymore, accreditation for Telehealth stopped in 2007 although those nurses who were accredited then will still be considered certified but when it comes time for re certification they will now be certified as an Ambulatory Care Nurse.
Telehealth is recognized as a sub specialty under Ambulatory Care.
The American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) will be the industry leader in Telehealth Nursing practice. Check out their website for all the information you need to know about Telehealth nursing and becoming certified in this nursing specialty.
If this is something you are interested in than learn all you can about ambulatory care which include education in triage, patient education, pain management and case management.
Or maybe you do have experience in this area, why not offer your services in Telehealth nursing as an independent contractor or consultant to healthcare facilities or ambulatory care clinics.
This is definitely one of those unique nursing jobs.