The healthcare industry often goes through periods of difficulty, and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been one of the most challenging. Travel nurses are essential contributors to the front line of this crisis, often providing care to those who have difficulty accessing it. However, it has also become increasingly important to curb unnecessary travel and physical contact.
As a result, some nurses have begun to consider alternative ways to provide their expertise. One of the safest career avenues to explore at this time is remote working thanks to digital innovation.
We live in an increasingly technologically enhanced world. This means that there are more digital tools that can help us react to this period of crisis with innovation. It has also resulted in an increasing number of full-time or hybrid remote nursing positions.
For those who intend to remain in traditional patient practice, telemedicine is often the most appropriate choice. It allows travel nurses to maintain their trusted relationships with the community through methods that most have access to. It’s also more conducive to providing long term care — not only can they monitor the physical symptoms of issues such as chronic pain, but also signs that could suggest a change in patients’ psychological condition. Video calls help to give a venue for open, safe discussion about anxiety and depression, which is especially important at this time in which many are feeling isolated.
Away from strictly care-based work, travel nurses can engage in more varied roles. Many schools are halting on-campus lessons, and as such, nurse educators can pass on their expertise via e-learning platforms. There are also opportunities in legislative fields that may require travel nurses to make assessments on insurance denials and review evidence in the appeals process. The market is growing, and travel nurses who can use their expertise in an agile way are increasingly demanding.
Although remote opportunities are growing for travel nurses, there are still several inconveniences when it comes to practicality. Not everybody is well set up to work from home, and as a result, many will require additional investments to function remotely.
Therefore it’s important to look into:
- Private Space
Nurses with families need to make certain they have a spare room or private space to work in. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) still requires compliance from medical professionals wherever they happen to be working. Make sure consultations cannot be overheard and that physical records are locked securely away.
No matter the scenario, nursing employers should arrange for a connection on their network. Otherwise, remote nurses need to ensure that they have a reliable high-speed internet connection. Quality care can’t be provided if patients suffer interruptions during consultations or have trouble sharing data.
- Support System
Working from home can be a stressful, isolating experience for those more used to having frequent contact. Nurses can help combat this by arranging regular communication with colleagues, particularly with those who work from home. This can also be a vital source of assistance when reviewing difficult health conditions.
As previously mentioned, HIPAA compliance should be maintained even in a home environment. Additionally, HIPAA should also be evaluated from a cybersecurity standpoint when evaluating the eligibility of remote work. Risks of private information being breached can be higher when working away from a facility, so it’s important to look into:
- Protecting the Cloud
Most travel nurses will already be familiar with how the cloud can make their work easier. However, it can also be a target for cybercriminals. To avoid this danger, use a strong password strategy. Adopt a password manager where possible, and enable two-factor authentication to make it more difficult for others to access stored files.
- Understanding the Risks
It is well known that users’ behavior is what usually allows cybercriminals to infect networks. Nurses should seek to educate themselves on how to recognize the popular techniques — such as phishing and malware infection — and how to respond effectively.
- Securing Networks
While it is less likely that cybercriminals will target your home network, public networks are a different matter. If you must work from public wifi in a coffee shop or co-working space, utilize a robust virtual private network (VPN) platform to avoid data breaches.
The world is changing, and with it comes innovative opportunities for travel nurses. Remote working can be a safer option during this pandemic and can open up new professional avenues. However, it’s also important to ensure that all the practical necessities are in place and that security is treated with paramount concern.