How to Become a Telehealth Nurse

11 Min Read Published October 3, 2023
Female healthcare practitioner talking on phone with computer

Telehealth nursing utilizes technology, specifically video conferencing, to deliver nursing care to remote locations that may not otherwise have access to medical care. It’s also rising in demand right now due to COVID-19. There’s never been a better time to consider a career in telehealth nursing and this guide will explain everything you need to know about it. 

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GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

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Capella University

Capella’s online RN-to-BSN degree is an accredited program designed for working nurses. Thousands of nurses have completed their BSN program with FlexPath, that allows you to control your pace and set your own deadlines. With FlexPath, you can complete your RN-to-BSN program in 9 months and under $10,000. Fastest 25% of students. Cost varies by pace, transfer credits, other factors. Fees apply.

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Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Capella for details.

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Location
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Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

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WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

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Enrollment: Nationwide

What is a Telehealth Nurse?

Telehealth nurses are Registered Nurses that use telecommunication technology such as video, phone, email, and messaging to provide high-quality care to patients. This is extremely important for those that need highly specialized care and do not have access to specialists.

Telehealth nurses often help patients with minor health problems and can help determine if patients need to seek emergency care, make an in-person appointment with a physician, or can be treated without further guidance. Telehealth nursing is beneficial not only to the patients, but also to the healthcare system. 

Telehealth nursing, telehealth, and nursing telepractice are all interchangeable terms. According to the American Telehealth Association, telehealth nursing is a tool for delivering nursing care remotely to improve efficiency and patient access to healthcare.

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What Do Telehealth Nurses Do?

Telehealth nurses have a variety of job responsibilities. These will vary depending on the job location and specialty. These responsibilities may include:

  • Scheduling appointments and referring patients to specialists
  • Assisting and consulting with patients over the phone or via video chat services
  • Educating patients on different ways to manage their symptoms
  • Monitoring patient’s oxygen levels, health rate, respiration, and blood glucose
  • Pre-surgical and post-surgical care  
  • Assisting doctors in reducing patient load
  • Providing medical advice for patients with minor health issues
  • Supporting medical response teams in bringing patients into the hospital

Where Can Telehealth Nurses Work?

Telehealth nurses can work in a variety of settings. Generally, they work from home or in a telephone triage center. Depending on the specialization, telehealth nurses may also work in the following locations:

  • Physician's offices
  • Hospitals
  • Trauma centers
  • Crisis hotlines
  • Outpatient care facilities
  • Poison control centers

Telehealth Nurse Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for a registered nurse in 2021 is $81,220 per year or $39.05 per hour, but conditions in your area may vary. While they don't report on telehealth nurse salaries specifically, Glassdoor.com reports an average salary of $100,696 for Telehealth RNs and according to Ziprecruiter.com, Telehealth RNs can earn an average annual salary of $74,017

Telehealth Nurse Salary by Years of Experience

Specifically, Telehealth RNs can earn a higher annual salary with increased years of experience. According to payscale.com, the following years of service can earn, 

  • 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $33.10
  • 5-9 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $30.22
  • 10-19 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $29.49
  • 20+ years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $37.00

As with all jobs in the nursing field, earning potential increases with additional education and experience. Nurses typically are awarded a raise during annual employee performance reviews. Certifications can give nurses an additional bump in their paycheck. 

Telehealth Nurse Benefits

Regardless of workplace setting, full-time and part-time nurses enjoy similar benefits. While actual benefits may vary depending on the institution most include the following:

  • Health insurance
  • Certification Reimbursement      
  • Retirement Options
  • Holiday Pay
  • Family Leave of Absence
  • Maternity Leave
  • Dental Insurance
  • Dependent health insurance coverage
  • Life Insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Relocation assistance
  • Childcare
  • Bereavement leave       
  • Vision Insurance        
  • Discounts on extracurricular activities      
  • Continuing Education Reimbursement
  • Relocation packages
  • Attendance at nursing conferences

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How to Become a Telehealth Nurse

To become a Telehealth Nurse, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

Step 1: Attend Nursing School

You’ll need to earn either an ADN or a BSN from an accredited nursing program in order to take the first steps to becoming a registered nurse. ADN-prepared nurses will need to complete an additional step of either completing their BSN degree or entering into an accelerated RN to MSN program which will let them earn their BSN and MSN at the same time.

Step 2: Pass the NCLEX-RN

Become a Registered Nurse by passing the NCLEX examination.

Step 3: Gain Experience at the Bedside

Bedside experience is essential before transitioning into a telehealth nurse position. Most companies will want several years of bedside experience prior to this.

Step 4: Earn your certification

There is not a specific certification for telehealth nursing; however, because telehealth nurses provide nursing care to patients who are in ambulatory care settings, they are required to possess the knowledge and competencies to provide care to these patients. For this reason, the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (RN-BC) is often obtained by telehealth nurses.

Offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, this exam is ideal for nurses looking for advanced certification.

RN-BC Certification Requirements

  • Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States, or hold the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country
  • Have practiced the equivalent of 2 years full-time as a registered nurse.
  • Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in ambulatory care and/or telehealth nursing within the last 3 years.
  • Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in ambulatory care and/or telehealth nursing within the last 3 years.

Additional Exam Information

  • $395 examination fee. Discounts are available for members of the American Nurses Association and American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing.
  • This certification exam is a 3.5-hour test consisting of 175 multiple-choice items.  
  • Of the 175 items, 150 are scored and 25 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.

What’s On the Exam?

  • Clinical Practice 
  • Communication 
  • Professional Role 
  • Systems/Legal and Regulatory
  • Education

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Capella University

Capella’s online RN-to-BSN degree is an accredited program designed for working nurses. Thousands of nurses have completed their BSN program with FlexPath, that allows you to control your pace and set your own deadlines. With FlexPath, you can complete your RN-to-BSN program in 9 months and under $10,000. Fastest 25% of students. Cost varies by pace, transfer credits, other factors. Fees apply.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Capella for details.

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

What are the Continuing Education Requirements for Telehealth Nurses?

Generally, in order for an individual to renew their RN license, they will need to fill out an application, complete a specific number of CEU hours, and pay a nominal fee. Each state has specific requirements and it is important to check with the board of nursing prior to applying for license renewal.

A detailed look at Continuing Nurse Education hours can be found here.

What is the Career Outlook for a Telehealth Nurse?

According to the BLS, by 2032, there's expected to be a 6% increase in the job growth for nurses. With the aging population, this number is expected to be even higher.

Telenursing jobs are quickly growing and evolving. In fact, the global telehealth market is projected to reach $285.7 billion by 2027. According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), half of all hospitals in the U.S. offer some form of telemedicine, while 90% of healthcare executives say they are developing or implementing a telehealth program.

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Where Can I Learn More about Telehealth Nursing?

Nurse.org has some great resources on telehealth nursing including:

Additional Resources

Telehealth nursing is an interesting and dynamic field. It allows nurses to have autonomy while still delivering high-quality nursing care. Telehealth helps patients who would otherwise need to travel long distances to see medical professionals. 

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Capella University

Capella’s online RN-to-BSN degree is an accredited program designed for working nurses. Thousands of nurses have completed their BSN program with FlexPath, that allows you to control your pace and set your own deadlines. With FlexPath, you can complete your RN-to-BSN program in 9 months and under $10,000. Fastest 25% of students. Cost varies by pace, transfer credits, other factors. Fees apply.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Capella for details.

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Telehealth Nurse FAQs

  • How much do telehealth nurses make?

    • Glassdoor.com reports an average salary of $100,696 per year for Telehealth RNs.
  • How do I become a certified telehealth nurse?

    • There is currently no specific certification for telehealth nursing but the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (RN-BC) is often obtained by telehealth nurses.
  • What qualifies as telehealth?

    • Telehealth includes live video conferencing, mobile health applications, and remote patient monitoring. Technology such as video, telephone, and email are utilized during telehealth. 

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$70,000 - $90,000 Telehealth Associate Bachelors Non-Bedside RN
Kathleen Gaines
MSN, RN, BA, CBC
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

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