Virtual Nursing – Nursing Field of the Future?
Steve Berman | NursingLink
Technology is the driving force changing the way we do everything, and it’s leading to a large movement toward virtual nursing, otherwise known as telecommute nursing or telephone triage. With a nationwide nursing shortage and an increasing desire by aging baby boomers for a way to get the medical advice and support they require remotely — either via phone, email, chat, or video conferencing — this is a field with a bright future.
Are you someone who’d like to combine the skills gained through a nursing degree with your own technical expertise? If this interests you, and/or you’d enjoy working from your own home, then becoming a virtual or telecommute nurse could be a great opportunity.
While you can’t take someone’s blood pressure or treat a wound over the phone or via email, there is a huge need for medical services that can be provided through such mediums. Those services aren’t confined to answering medical questions over the phone, either. While medical advice lines are available through community-based organizations — often for patients looking for a cheap and/or convenient way to answer a health question — telephone triage nurses usually work for a physician’s office or healthcare facility. For example, Kaiser Permanente has a service called KP OnCall that provides “24/7 integrated programs in remote care management or ‘telehealth’ to providers, payers and employers.”
The duties don’t include diagnosing or treating an illness, injury or any other malady, but rather deciphering the severity of a caller’s complaint, directing him or her to the correct emergency services if necessary, and recommending further medical follow-up. What the final outcome is depends on a triage nurse’s interactions with patients and what his or her medical expertise tells them to do.