If you have a nursing degree, you know how difficult it can be to both find a job and keep it. Nurses are more likely to get injured on the job than doctors because of their need to help move patients. They also can get sick, are subject to harassment from patients, and are more likely to get laid off when budget cuts are needed.
With all this, it can hard to really fall in love with your job. But there is now a new way for nurses to use their degree and experience to help patients, without all the negative side effects that can come from working inside a hospital.
5 Little Known Companies that Offer Telephone Triage Nurse Jobs from Home
What Is Telephone Triage?
Also known as telepathology or telehealth nursing, telephone triage is a new form of patient communication to better assess their needs and steer them in the right direction. Similar to going into triage in an emergency room, patients call the number to reach a nurse to talk to them about what is going on. They will discuss their symptoms, timelines, and other information that might better help the nurse direct you to what kind of doctor or hospital you need.
This helps patients to find out when they need to go to the emergency room, when they need to make an appointment, and when they can just wait it out. Telephone triage greatly helps to divert calls away from the doctor’s offices and prevents overcrowding in emergency rooms with patients who do not need to be there. Overall, this helps patients and doctors to better organize their needs and prioritize those who are in much greater need of help. This is especially helpful for getting in touch with specialists, making it easier to avoid an unnecessary GP appointment or ER visit.
Why Are Nurses Needed?
You need a medical background of some kind to listen to symptoms and make informed recommendations. Nurses are in charge of triage in hospitals, so it is only fitting that they would take on the role in telephone triage as well. Nurses will gather the basic information from their patient, like age, sex, weight and height, as well as the symptoms that made them call in the first place.
After everything has been discussed, the nurse will need to make a call on where they think the patient should go for treatment, if any is needed. While a doctor is the one to give the final diagnosis, a nurse can make a call on what kind of doctor is needed and whether it is an emergency or something that can wait until an appointment is available with their GP.
What Is Required?
Just like with any other nurse, you will need to have a degree in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). You should also get a certification in ambulatory care nursing from the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. There is a specific section for telephone triage and you will need to pass the examination to become certified. To take the exam, you will need a minimum of 2,000 hours of recorded hours in a clinical setting where you worked as a nurse.
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The more experience you have as a nurse, and the more credentials you have that cover for this specific kind of triage work, the better your chances of being hired and having a successful career as a triage nurse. If you aren’t going to take the time to get the additional qualifications, many people will not hire you. This is because there is already added liability because you are diagnosing a person without seeing them. This means that the nurse taking the calls and making the decisions needs to be as ready as possible to take on the job and limit mistakes.
You will also need a reliable connection to hear calls, and will need to be in a quiet place while working. No other people should be in the room when taking calls for patient confidentiality. So, while you can work from anywhere, if you want to work from home make sure your family isn’t around.
How Do You Apply?
Once you have all your credentials, you can then apply for jobs working in telephone triage. This will require you to go to sites like the ones listed below and filling out their applications. This will then lead to interviews and training if you get the job.
How Much Can You Make?
It is all going to depend on whether you are a full time or part time employee, and who you are working for. Different companies have different rate that they will pay telephone triage nurses, but you can make very good money doing it. On average, you are looking at $25 an hour that you are on call.
Are There Benefits Available?
This will once again depend on who you are working for and if you are full or part time. Some companies will offer you benefits like paid vacation, overtime, bonuses, and even a 401K, but it is not guaranteed for every telephone triage nurse.
Who Is Looking for Telephone Triage Nurses?
If you are interested in working in telephone triage, there are a few places you should look:
Fonemed provides telephone triage for people all over North America, allowing you to work remotely from anywhere on the continent. You will need to have at least three years of recent clinical experience in both Pediatrics and adult triage. They prefer you have experience in the Emergency department, as well as experience in telephone triage. You will also need to work at least three weekend shifts per month, but can expect to make between $25 and $31 an hour.
While they are not always hiring, when they are, Anthem offers competitive salaries for both full time and part time work. They require you to have 2-3 years of acute clinical experience, licensed in multiple states, strong computer and communication skills, Med/Surg, ER, ICU or Telemetry experience, and all the necessary certifications. They also prefer you are bilingual, have experience in telephone triage, have resource knowledge, and BSN.
United Health Care looks for both in person and telephone triage nurse, with opportunities all over the United States. You will need an unrestricted, active RN license, and it will need to be valid in multiple states. You can work either full or part time, but will need to work full time hours for the first 4-6 weeks you work for them regardless of whether you are part time.
This is because they use those 4-6 weeks to train you and make sure you are comfortable with their system and how they want things done. Once you start working, nurses have reported making $36 an hour.
This company requires you to have a minimum of five years of nursing experience, and they prefer for it to be in Pediatrics. You also need to have experience with Barton Schmitt MD protocols and can work anywhere in the US. You can also work full time or part time, depending on what your schedule allows.
Carenet is looking for registered nurses to work as care advisors for their company. This includes doing telephone triage, as well as other tasks like monitoring medical devices, providing support, and other tasks you might see in an in-home care facility. Carenet only offers jobs in 11 out of the 50 states, and the salary you make can depend on which location you are working in.
On average, you can expect to make between $25 and $26 an hour, but they require much more experience than just the requirement listed above. This includes a minimum of three years of experience in Emergency Nursing, Pediatrics, ICU, Med/Surg, Home Health Care, and other related fields.
If you were not able to find anything you like, or there were no available jobs with these companies, you can also look on Flexjobs for postings. This is not going to provide you the guarantee of working with a certified company like the sites above, but there is still a possibility of finding a great opportunity.
You will just need to be more careful and do your research to make sure you are looking at a valid work at home job offer and not a scam or an ill-planned start up. You also might need to accept a smaller salary until one of the other companies has an opening.