The COVID-19 pandemic has taught lessons both difficult and inspiring. Among those uplifting ones are lessons on innovation. One of the things we learned is that many traditionally in-person jobs can go remote.
As part of this learning experience, healthcare professionals had to adapt to the challenges of telecommuting. Work-from-home tech has improved and become so prolific that video-conferencing is a part of all our lives—including those of us who wouldn’t normally call ourselves “techies.” In fact, many companies have shifted their structures to allow more employees to work from home, creating more remote job opportunities, including for healthcare professionals.
However, the field of nursing isn’t going fully digital. In-person medical settings will always need nurse practitioners. Hospitals and private practices only function, in part, because of the significant contribution nurses make. But there are now a wealth of companies that hire nurses to work from home.
If you like spending a few extra hours a day hanging out with your little ones and family or need a breather from the stressors of providing direct patient care, consider a work-from-home job in the healthcare industry. You have the freedom to schedule your day at your own convenience. Here’s what you can expect from these nursing positions.
Are stay-at-home nursing jobs fulfilling?
Providing bedside care is immediately rewarding. You watch your patients improve, have enriching conversations with your peers, and form bonds with patients and colleagues. So you may be wary about leaving this kind of work.
But stay-at-home jobs come with their own set of rewards. Yes, one of these rewards may be more time with your family and pets, but there are also professional perks. You get to continue doing what you love, and in many roles, you’ll still converse with patients and recommend treatment or the next steps. You may also help patients in remote or underserved areas who wouldn’t otherwise have easy access to medical care if it weren’t for telehealth.
Skills for succeeding in stay-at-home positions
Working from home may sound great, especially if you’re experiencing burnout at the hospital. However, like every other job, remote work presents its own set of challenges. You may even have to shift your way of working to meet the demands of your new gig. Here are some skills that’ll help you succeed:
- Boundary-setting: Even if you live alone, your home is full of distractions. To succeed at a stay-at-home role, you have to exert self-control when you’re tempted to scroll on social media or watch just one more episode of the series you’re binging. If you live with others, you must communicate and uphold the importance of implementing a distraction-free space and firm working hours.
- Time management: At the hospital or practice where you once worked, you had a schedule that included charting, rounds, information hand-offs, and more. You got into a rhythm. Now, you’ll need to set your own, organizing your day so you can get everything done. This can imply a learning curve at first. You may think you can do a ton in a day, only to have to scale back as you figure out what’s feasible. Discovering that sweet spot of what you can achieve is essential. Otherwise, you risk feeling down at the end of the day when you can’t complete your (albeit impossible) number of tasks.
- Communication skills: In a remote role, you won’t be updating the nurses coming on shift on care plans for new intakes like you once had at the hospital. So you may find virtual communication tricky and impersonal. Information can slip through the cracks in the absence of face-to-face meetings and encounters. While you may be a pro at communicating with patients and colleagues, you’ll have to learn how to manage messaging apps, stay on top of emails and ask your supervisors the right questions to ensure you’re doing this new type of work correctly.
- Ethical behavior: When you telecommute, you become your own manager in some senses. You don’t get to leave sensitive information like patient medical records at the office where someone else is in charge of keeping it safe. You don’t even have an HR department in your living room making sure you meet your hours and follow company procedures. So it’s up to you to withhold confidentiality and your company’s standards.
- Dependability: When you work in a traditional healthcare system, it’s easier to stay on track with schedules and tasks than at home. There may be a learning curve at first, but you’ll have to learn how to stay on task, make yourself available, and arrive at meetings on time, even if they’re virtual.
How to prepare for your work-from-home nursing job
Working from home doesn’t mean pulling out your laptop on the couch and working in your pajamas. Even if you’re in a remote role, you should still feel like you’re going to work in the morning and have the right tools and outlook to ensure your success. Here’s how you can prep for your first day of at-home work:
- Designate a space for work: If your home has an area you can convert into an office, you’re in luck! But, even without a home office, you should designate a special workspace, so you grow accustomed to “commuting” to the same area every day. This can be a desk in your bedroom or one side of your kitchen table. It should be a space solely used for work—not one you have to pack up and move at the end of the day.
- Ensure a good internet connection: Telehealth roles make up many work-from-home jobs for nurses. You must have a strong internet connection so your calls with patients don’t repeatedly drop, making communication a challenge.
- Get the right equipment: Some employers set you up with a work phone and laptop, but it may be worth investing in your own if it helps you stay organized. Consider other equipment you may need, even if it’s small stuff like notebooks and pens.
- Take breaks and establish a work-life balance: We know we quipped about resisting the temptation to binge-watch a series during the work day. But, as much as being at home may feel more relaxed, it often isn’t. Without having strict hours or breaks built into a schedule as you would at an in-person workplace, you may work into the night or forget to take a minute for yourself. That’s right; it’s possible to overwork yourself at home. Add breaks into your schedule and stick to them, and decide when your day begins and ends.
I’m ready to work at home in healthcare services
If an at-home work experience sounds right for you, it’s time to find your dream remote job. Remember that the following are just a sampling. In remote work, you’ll find everything from call center nurse jobs at home to specialized roles in diabetes advising to positions at health insurance companies. Here are a few roles to check out:
- Telehealth registered nurse (RN): Put your nursing experience and bachelor’s degree to work by helping patients receive proper medical care as a telehealth RN. You’ll talk to patients via email, messages, or video calls about their symptoms and recommend the next steps, like seeing a specialist. Telehealth nursing jobs from home pay around $95,000 annually.
- Behavioral health case manager: Explore your interest in psychology as a case manager who works with patients suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders. You’ll earn around $90,000 yearly.
- Clinical care manager: If you’re an excellent communicator, consider this remote nursing job in which you’ll provide information for patients, clinical staff members, and healthcare providers to establish a treatment plan. You can expect to earn around $70,000 annually in a full-time role.
Whether in an RN insurance job from home or providing remote care as a telephone triage nurse, you should dress for success. No need to toss out your scrubs just because you’re working from a home office. Putting on a fresh work fit in the morning can help you look and feel the part. And we’re happy to keep you outfitted in the best medical scrubs. Count on us for some interesting trivia about the healthcare universe.