Crises have a way of driving innovation. In the healthcare sector, innovation is rolling out before our very eyes thanks to the profound impacts of the coronavirus crisis. Just one example is a new race to hire nurse practitioners (NPs) for telehealth positions.
Health Jobs Nationwide says there has been a dramatic increase in the number of healthcare providers searching for telehealth professionals. Recruiters are seeking NPs capable of providing telehealth services through hospitals, neighborhood clinics, private practices, and even medical tech startups.
A New Appreciation for Telehealth
Telehealth technology has been available for quite a while. Our healthcare system has been slow to adopt it out of lack of necessity. Now, coronavirus has changed everything. Telehealth is suddenly very important to healthcare delivery inasmuch as it allows doctors, PAs, and NPs to continue seeing patients even though offices remain either closed or heavily restricted.
There is suddenly a new appreciation for telehealth and what it brings to the table. Telehealth reduces patient wait times. It increases the number of patients a clinician can see in a given day. It makes delivery of primary care more efficient from top to bottom. But to make it all work, you need clinicians capable of working in a high-tech, remote environment. That is where NPs come in.
The Kinds of Jobs Available
With the telehealth revolution comes several different kinds of jobs perfectly suited to NPs. Remember that NPs go through an education and training program nearly identical to that of primary care physicians. The biggest difference between the two is nothing more than the number of clinical hours put in.
NPs are more than capable of filling a number of roles, including:
- Medical Office Nurse – This role involves providing primary care services just as if patients were physically visiting a medical office. It can include writing and renewing prescriptions or transferring patients to specialist care.
- Triage Nurse – This role involves early assessment of patients to ensure they receive proper medical care in an appropriate setting. Triage nurses can utilize telehealth to direct patients to an emergency room, after-hours clinic, etc.
- ICU Monitoring – This is an emerging role still in its infancy. It involves telehealth NPs experienced in critical care remotely monitoring patients in a collaborative effort with in-house staff.
- Home Care – The home care role is one of providing primary care to patients who have no means of visiting the doctor’s office. It can be combined with the services of a home healthcare aid to manage chronically ill patients and the elderly.
Note that this short list barely scratches the surface. Moreover, healthcare is seeing all sorts of new jobs emerge along with telehealth. There will be NP jobs in the future that were never even considered 20 years ago. It is all evolving at a rapid pace thanks to the sudden focus on telehealth in response to coronavirus.
A Job Seeker’s Market
The race is on to hire NPs willing to fill telehealth roles. As demand increases, the market is becoming more favorable to job seekers. NPs have access to more opportunities involving jobs that will essentially let them write their own tickets. Telehealth gives them more freedom to determine when they work, where they work, and how they work.
As for the rest of the medical profession, it may be the case that they have a thing or two to learn as they observe the influence NPs will have on telehealth. Perhaps it will all lead to a greater appreciation of NP jobs and what they contribute to healthcare delivery in general.