According to the New York Times, there were over a million health care jobs lost during the pandemic. That might seem like a paradox, considering so many people needed medical help due to COVID-19. But, this time around, the health care industry wasn’t immune to the economic recession the country was going through, so jobs had to be cut. Other health care professionals left for their own mental health reasons, while still others chose to stay home with their families.
Now that the economy is starting to build back up, the industry is hiring again. And, it may be more competitive than ever. So, what can you do to stand out and make sure your resume gets noticed?
Make sure you’re video-savvy.
Telemedicine saw a huge boom in popularity throughout the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down. Hospitals, clinics, and even small practices are all starting to realize how important and impactful it can be, and will undoubtedly look to hire people who know how to utilize it. Remote work has also become exceedingly popular and prominent, requiring basic video skills.
So, how can you get versed in video and gain a competitive advantage on your resume?
Take Advantage of Remote Learning
According to a 2020 report by the Institute of Medicine, it’s recommended that at least 80% of nurses hold a bachelor’s degree. Whether you’re currently in a health care position and want to move up, or you’re trying to break into the field for the first time, it’s not uncommon for those in the industry to go back to school.
Doing so can help you in more ways than one.
Not only can you take advantage of the curriculum you need, but because so many schools are offering remote or hybrid classes, you can learn more about video conferencing and digital learning as you go. It’s a type of “hands-on” learning that will prepare you to get involved with video when you land a job. You might have to have a video conference with other classmates or a professor, and it’s important to learn how to do that so you can carry the skills with you into a career.
You can even start taking advantage of the edtech trend of video learning, which can help you to know how to record videos in advance, edit, and publish them. If you do get a job in the medical field, that can come in handy to educate and inform patients.
Sharpen Your Telemedicine Skills
Just how popular has telehealth become? One study found that 46% of patients use telemedicine for some of their visits, compared to just 11% in 2019. Whether you’re a nurse, doctor, specialist, or anyone who interacts with patients, one of the best things you can do is to sharpen your telemedicine skills.
Once you do, you can list them on your resume to get more attention.
With that in mind, it’s important to know some of the best practices for honing those skills. Some of them include:
Understanding how to operate a video program
Feeling comfortable interacting via video
Creating a comfortable conversation (using “web-side” manner)
Patients are choosing telemedicine for a variety of reasons. It’s convenient, it’s accessible, and it makes it easier for patients and physicians to connect more regularly without having to set up in-person appointments. Overall, many people see it as an improvement to the patient experience. The more you feel comfortable with telemedicine, the more likely it is a practice will take notice and give you greater consideration.
Look for Remote Positions
Working in the health care industry requires you to be a lifelong learner. Granted, there are many things you need to know like the back of your hand before you get started. But, there are some things that you’ll get stronger at as you go.
So, even if you don’t have a lot of existing video experience, you can gain it by looking for remote positions.
Some people are surprised to find there are so many remote options in health care. Whether you want to work in an administrative role, “behind the scenes,” or even as a nurse, there are remote opportunities that will allow for flexibility and can help you become stronger in your video skills. Some of the most common remote jobs for nurses include:
Clinical appeals nurse
Any of these positions can help you learn more about video conferencing and connecting with others via the screen. When you do that, you can easily add that experience and the skills learned to a resume for a different position.
Technology and digital trends are everywhere. The health care system isn’t immune to them. In fact, it’s adopting many of them to improve patient care and prevent burnout for workers. If you’re ready for a post-pandemic career and you’re looking for a job in the health care industry, make sure you’re learning as much as possible about video and how it will keep impacting health and wellness for the foreseeable future.
Remote operations have become a familiar aspect of our contemporary society. The technology to digitally connect people across vast distances has been available for several years. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced popular uptake—companies shifted their employees to work from home, and various generations stayed connected through video conferencing. One of the areas that also saw a boost was the uptake of telehealth technology and services.
The public has started to recognize the convenience and stability of remote healthcare, and there is likely to be continued growth in the area. As a traveling nurse—a sector also seeing a surge in demand recently—you are increasingly likely to include the technology and practices here as part of their standard toolkit. It is important to take the time to understand how this impacts the level of care you can provide and the steps you can take to make the most of it.
The growth in demand for information technology (IT) in the healthcare sector is continuing to alter a lot of professionals’ relationships with their jobs. For instance, automated tools are increasingly being used to help care providers and patients to make sometimes life-changing decisions about diagnoses and treatment. This places a great deal of responsibility on skilled IT professionals to design and maintain reliable tools. But it also means doctors and travel nurses need to have specialized medical knowledge to collaborate with these tools in ways that maximize the effectiveness and accuracy for patients.
Mobile healthcare providers are already having to take this approach with remote physiological monitoring devices. There are certainly specialist pieces of technology involved in this process; blood pressure readers, blood glucose readers, and spirometers to measure pulmonary functioning. For the most part, there are clear training and operating procedures about how to effectively use this as part of a patient’s care. Where you’re likely to find more scope for uncertainty is when utilizing the patient’s own devices.
This is an increasingly common area of exploration. Smartphones and smartwatches have more nuanced sensors today. When paired with apps, they can monitor a patient’s cardiovascular system, sleep patterns, and respiratory health with a relatively good degree of accuracy. There is also software to track cognitive functioning and mental health. However, in these cases, it is vital to assess through experience and research whether these are appropriate for use and whether they can fit into the care plan you’re providing your patients. Consider, too, how securely these devices can transmit patient data, too—it may be the case that to maintain security you need to research their compatibility with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant telehealth cloud platforms.
Utilizing telehealth and technological tools is a learning curve for both you as a traveling nurse and your patients. Indeed, one of the reasons people have been initially slow on the uptake of this technology is a lack of confidence in the tools. Particularly if you’re practicing in rural areas of the country or far-flung destinations, you may find that while telehealth can be a vital lifeline to care, it also requires some attention to education. As such, you need to be prepared to be a guide to your patients.
Health education is likely already a significant part of your job. Heading out on the road to visit patients often means introducing them to concepts they’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. It’s therefore worth preparing some technological educational materials to help patients make the most of the methods and tools you’ll be utilizing. When you’re visiting them in person, go through a practical demonstration of the telehealth platforms, showing how to start calls, upload any information or monitoring data, and even ensure their setup is secure and comfortable.
This can also be a good time to assess how stable their broadband connection is and its suitability for remote appointments. The CDC recently recommended such assessments can improve uptake of mobile care. This is because it allows you to also ascertain whether more flexible forms of appointment—audio rather than video, asynchronous contact—may be effective.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
The telehealth tech space is constantly changing. Just when you’ve gotten used to a tool, it can seem like it is being superseded by something more efficient or better suited to the task. This can present challenges to you as a mobile nurse, particularly as you may not always have the same immediate access to educational resources as your colleagues in traditional establishments. As such, you need to place focus on staying ahead of the curve wherever possible.
Your best option here is developing and maintaining relationships beyond your immediate agency and coworkers. Make space in your schedule to attend industry conferences and seminars, as these are often opportunities to learn from those involved with developing technology and the protocols you’re likely to use in the future. There are new developments in telehealth—this aspect of the industry is expected to expand significantly between now and 2026—and engaging with these early can help you to apply them effectively. Some of the developments are strictly technological. Artificial intelligence (AI) has a presence in diagnostic software and maintaining medical records. Mobile health (mHealth) tech is expanding to encompass connected medical ID apps that alert care staff when there are emergencies.
Forging relationships here might also include the option to partner with technology developers in testing protocols for these devices. Rather than always playing catch-up in learning how to use technology, you can be instrumental in influencing how it is used in the field and introducing it to patients. This can even lead to opportunities for your professional progression.
Being a traveling nurse is rewarding, and it is increasingly becoming a focus for technological tools and telehealth. You can best use these by understanding how to effectively collaborate with the tools and being a source of support and education for your patients. However, as the field expands it is wise to stay ahead of the curve and be willing to engage in developing the protocols for important new tools.
Though there are thousands of different healthcare jobs and hundreds of differing nursing career paths, few are more rewarding than those that lead to interactions with newborns. Working with parents who are thrilled to expand their family and excited to bring a new bundle of joy home is a wonderful opportunity. It can bring a lot of happiness into your career.
It may come as a surprise, but there are a variety of jobs out there for those interested in working in healthcare with babies. Passionate people who are serious about ensuring the safety and comfort of not only the newborns, but their parents as well, can make a profound difference. Specializations such as these can vastly improve the quality of care received at the very beginning of life.
As you explore potential careers in nursing, it is certainly worth considering some of the options available. There just might be a lot more out there than you’d ever previously considered.
Improving Birth Outcomes
Working in the healthcare field as a nurse interacting with newborns and their parents isn’t just about being in the delivery room when the baby arrives. Rather, it is about all of the steps along the way and immediately after that improve birth outcomes. Being the nurse who provides recommendations on exercise and what to eat during pregnancy is every bit as crucial as being the nurse who cuts the umbilical cord.
Even with all of the modern medicine our society has, there is still an increasing trend of complications during pregnancy compared to previous decades. One study completed by Blue Cross found that a greater number of women are starting pregnancy with pre-existing conditions, and the number of women experiencing both pregnancy and childbirth complications is on the rise. Addressing some of these health concerns early on is imperative to improving birth outcomes.
Unfortunately, many of these complications are experienced disproportionately amongst minority women and women with lower household incomes. One tragic review found that the risk of death from childbirth complications was over three times higher for minority women than it was for white women. Many experts indicated that these increases are not necessarily linked directly to pregnancy, but rather to an increased likelihood of pre-existing conditions and a general lack of high-quality care to address issues.
Specialties in Nursing
Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities to turn these statistics around in the healthcare field, especially within nursing. It is no secret that nurses are one of the most highly trusted groups of professionals — even more so than doctors — which can make the advice and recommendations they give particularly powerful. Career opportunities for nurses to work with babies are expansive and include options such as going into pediatrics, neonatal nursing, labor and delivery, or midwifery.
For example, becoming a nurse-midwife provides an unparalleled opportunity to interact directly with expecting parents and newborns when they arrive. Midwives are instrumental healthcare providers and are expected to do several tasks such as:
Providing prenatal care and advice to expecting parents.
Creating a birth plan and educating women about their birthing options.
Coordinating with medical doctors and specialists as necessary.
Treating routine health concerns during pregnancy.
Assisting in delivery and coaching.
Helping with breastfeeding consultation and other post-partum care.
A career path such as this also has the potential to make a positive impact on addressing disparities among minority women as well. Research suggests that more professionals dedicated to helping women throughout pregnancy and postpartum care can greatly reduce health risks. This appears to be especially true if minority nurses are working with minority patients.
Though many of the career options described above have a lot to do with directly caring for newborns, other surprising options may seem a little more distant. They are, however, every bit as essential to improving birth outcomes long-term. For instance, lactation consultants are valuable assets who work to help teach new mothers how to breastfeed properly.
Another career opportunity is becoming a birth or postpartum doula. This position essentially serves as a ‘super coach’ for expectant mothers. They do everything from providing aromatherapy and massage to helping design an organized and effective baby nursery. Doulas can play a major role in helping mothers with pre-existing conditions plan healthy meals or monitor their conditions to ensure everything continues to go smoothly for mother and baby.
Some people even specialize in prenatal or infant massage as a means of helping mothers and babies. Prenatal massage requires special certification that teaches therapists how to relax and ease strain without harming pregnant bellies. Similarly, infant massage professionals help early babies improve blood flow and strengthen their tiny muscles.
There is certainly an abundance of healthcare and nursing-specific careers that can allow for direct interaction with newborns and their families. Caring professionals in these types of fields can make a substantial positive difference in birth outcomes. This is especially true in areas where access to healthcare isn’t always as prevalent.
The health care field is pivoting to adopt improved telehealth services wherever possible in the wake of COVID-19 and a broad virtual shift. Telehealth can be a tool for nurses to expand their expertise and bring greater flexibility to patient care and their schedules.
Telehealth even has the power to change care accessibility, opening up new avenues to meet with and monitor patients even in distant rural areas. Nurses can play a vital role in developing this transformational accessibility tool while continuously improving the capabilities of telehealth.
But first, understand the reasons for long-term telehealth adoption and the challenges surrounding it.
The Increase in Telehealth Adoption
The use and popularity of telehealth expanded massively in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An assessment of telehealth capabilities in 2019 showed only 43% of facilities were ready to harness the power of telehealth. Just a year later, that number went up to 95%. This is a powerful example of how quickly telemedicine services have proven their value to patients.
And telehealth looks to long outlast the pandemic. Because telehealth offers such a wide range of benefits for use both in and out of a facility, it is hard to imagine a world in which care providers roll back this platform. Telehealth can reduce costs, improve accessibility to care, and allow mobile nurses to better monitor their patients.
Jefferson Health in Philadelphia has had plenty of experience exploring whether or not telehealth really can save costs. Their findings show that especially when it comes to diverting patients from more expensive care, massive savings can result for both the care facility and the patient. For example, each time an ER visit was diverted through a virtual screening, the savings to the hospital range from $309 to $1,500. Follow-up care, in addition, had reduced costs through telehealth.
This tool also makes accessible health care far easier to achieve. Where normally travel costs, distance, and health concerns may have prevented a patient from engaging in preventive care, now telehealth can get these patients seen and treated. This eliminates an important barrier to care that has the potential to reduce overall health care costs through preventative medicine.
Because cost savings and accessibility are so important in managing public care, nurses are increasingly finding themselves learning and utilizing this tool wherever they are. Fortunately, telehealth can be a means to put power over the management and fluidity of care into the hands of expert nurses. But first, they have to address the challenges.
The Challenges Surrounding Telehealth
Telehealth is a powerful tool that has the potential to improve health outcomes through successful data management. However, adopting this platform means adding a new layer of technical expertise to the position of nursing. As if these essential care professionals didn’t have enough on their plate already, telehealth is a new system to learn that can come with added responsibilities.
Among the challenges you may encounter as a nurse dealing with telemedicine, the following are some of the most prominent:
Changing Nursing Responsibilities
The job of a nurse has always more or less been focused on communication. These experts are the focal point of care management between doctors and patients. Their duties run the gamut from data entry and note-taking to practicing life-saving care interventions.
With telehealth, roles and responsibilities are shifting somewhat. First, nurses have to learn to integrate with the telemedicine platform seamlessly and efficiently while inputting patient data and coordinating with other members of the care team. This includes explaining the nature and function of telehealth technology to the patient.
And because telehealth means dealing with tech, various IT and technical skills will come in handy. Data privacy is one key component of this.
Managing Digital Privacy
As a networked component of health care, telehealth puts patient data at some level of risk. In a world in which valuable medical data is bombarded by cyber criminals, nurses have to be extra careful in protecting patient data on telehealth platforms to meet the stipulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The final important challenge that nurses will face when dealing with telehealth care is managing patients across state borders. Since medical licensing is typically state-specific, monitoring remote patients out of state can present bureaucratic difficulties.
Not only is treatment licensing a question when working across borders, but insurance stipulations and fee structures can all be altered due to a health care system built for geographic exclusivity.
While any nurse who works with telehealth may run into any of these challenges, it is possible to overcome them and make a difference in equitable and accessible care solutions for your patients.
How Nurses Can Make a Difference
With the right approach, telehealth can be beneficial both to you as a nurse and to your patients. For example, the availability of telehealth may even allow you to work remotely, giving you added flexibility to your work-life balance.
But to truly make an impact on the potential of telehealth to improve care outcomes, consider the following strategies:
Be open to tech innovations. Learning new platforms can be difficult, but the payoff can mean greater convenience.
Support telehealth adoption at your facility. At this point in the game, few providers have yet to look into telehealth, but you can always point out new use cases.
Seek out cross-state telehealth licensing. The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) can expenditure this process, granted you meet the requirements.
Provide feedback to employers and telehealth system providers. Your input can help improve systems for everyone.
By understanding the benefits and challenges of telehealth in nursing, you are better prepared to adopt these systems effectively. Then, you can practice strategies like these to improve the state of telehealth as a safe, powerful, and cost-saving means of care.
Health care decisions are among the most important and personal decisions anyone can face. Whether it is the patient herself grappling with a pivotal choice, or family members struggling to make the right decision for their loved one, the outcome of such choices can have significant and wide-ranging effects for the patient and the people who love her.
As a nurse, you are often eyewitness to these choices. More challenging, still, you are likely to find yourself in the position of offering guidance and support as patients and families navigate this unfamiliar terrain.
And that is a role that is at once a great privilege and a tremendous burden. As a care provider, your role, above all, is to support not only the patient’s best medical interests but also their autonomy. Unfortunately, those two imperatives are not always in agreement. Sometimes, a patient’s exercise of their independence and free will runs directly opposite to their medical needs.
So how do you balance your weighty responsibilities to your patients? How do you honor your oath to do no harm while also protecting your patients’ autonomy? Above all, how do you prevent your own personal perspectives from unduly influencing your patients, even unconsciously?
The relationship between a nurse, the patient, and the patient’s loved ones is, to say the least, a unique one. On the one hand, there is an intimacy in nursing that often doesn’t exist between patients and doctors. It is truly among the most caring of the caregiving professions. At the same time, nurses carry a store of medical knowledge that is inaccessible to most patients and their families.
As important as it is for patients and families to trust their nurse, both the nurse’s care and their knowledge, this can pose difficulties if patients come to rely too heavily on their nurse, or any other health care provider, in making vital healthcare decisions. This can easily reinforce the old paternalistic model, in which the patient’s fate was given over to the charge of the medical expert. Their “superior” medical knowledge, supposedly, gave them the right to ultimate control over decisions concerning the patient’s care.
Unfortunately, this paternalistic model might be rooted in medical best practices, in empirical, evidence-based care, cutting patients and their families out of the decision-making process can have profoundly harmful effects. Studies show that when patients and families share in the decision-making process, they are more engaged in and compliant with treatment and more confident in the treatment strategy and their healthcare team.
The Nurse as Teacher
Thankfully, in most cases, the paternalistic model is no longer the standard today, and the caregiver’s role in supporting patient autonomy is, rightfully, at the center of modern medical practice. But, unfortunately, it’s not always easy to transform theory into reality.
However, you can play an important role in helping patients to overcome the knowledge gap that makes medical decision making so difficult for patients and families. One of your most important duties as a nurse is patient education, equipping patients with the information they need to overcome the knowledge gap and make their own informed decisions about their health.
And it’s not only the major life and death decisions that your patients need to learn about. If you’ve been nursing for a while, the odds are pretty great that you have the inside scoop on matters of health and healing that just can’t be found in any medical textbook or internet search.
Similarly, educating your patients will also often involve addressing aspects of their lifestyles beyond the specifics of diseases and their treatment plans. For example, you will likely find yourself educating patients on proper diet as well as the signs, symptoms, and risks of various nutritional deficiencies, such as lack of bone density or increase in fatigue.
Such information can be essential to patient empowerment and autonomy. For example, once patients understand the role of nutrition in overall health and fitness, they may determine that they prefer to try a simple change in diet to address troubling symptoms before turning to more aggressive medical treatments.
As a nurse, you’re required to play many roles in the lives of your patients and the people who love them. You’re an empathetic caregiver, offering aid, comfort, and calm in what is often the most difficult time of your patients’ lives. You’re also the expert, one who speaks a rarefied scientific language and who possesses both the education and the experience in an arena that is a baffling, and often frightening, mystery to patients and their families. The good news is that you can build on this unique trust and intimacy to help empower your patients and provide them with the knowledge they need to make their own informed decisions.