Finding Connection as a Remote Nurse

No matter where you worked as a bedside nurse, your days were often grueling and long. Nursing today is marked by chronic short staffing, a lack of resources, and hardship. But in those moments of difficulty, many of us learned to lean on those around us and developed special bonds with our fellow nurses. As a nurse, you’re automatically plugged into a group of people with similar interests and talents, so friendships come easy. 

Finding community as a remote nurse is essential as you navigate through your career transition and process the emotions that may come up. I want to make the case for community and give some ideas on how to build community as a remote nurse.

A Special Profession

Nursing is unique, we’re in a healthcare ecosystem full of petty inter-departmental feuds, backbreaking labor, and harrowing emergencies. The worst day of some people’s lives is literally our day job. 

The truth is when you’ve had a horrible day in healthcare–a day that is burned into your memory–it can be hard to talk about it with folks outside the field. So what do you do when you leave the bedside entirely? 

While it’s true that you are physically farther from your coworkers, you don’t have to feel disconnected. Remote nursing is an amazing opportunity to reevaluate your values and set new professional boundaries. It’s also an opportunity to have a say in the relationships you foster, more so than in a typical unit setting.

4 Ways to Build Community Remotely

No matter what kind of remote nursing role you find yourself in, it’s important to cultivate connections both personally and professionally. Check out these three ways to connect with fellow nurses who will understand your experience and one that connects you with folks outside of healthcare entirely.

  1. Join a Local, State, or National Organization 

While you may feel burned out from climbing the nursing ladder and the endless pursuit of degrees and certifications, joining an organization you’re truly interested in supporting can be invigorating. 

Whether it’s an advocacy group like IMPACT in Healthcare that’s fighting to make systemic change, a professional group like the National Black Nurses Association, or a patient advocacy and education group like the National Organization for Rare Disorders; there are countless communities doing great work in an area you care about and joining is a way to meet like-minded people.

  1. Connect on Social Media

I’m not talking about doom scrolling through your IG feed. There are vibrant communities of nurses in every corner of the internet doing amazing work and leading by example. Connect with other nurses on Linkedin, IG, and Facebook–anywhere you enjoy their content and message. 

There are nurses revolutionizing the field every day in so many different ways, so plug into a community that shares your values and interests.

  1. Explore Hobbies or Volunteer

While it’s wonderful to have healthcare friends, that doesn’t have to be where our social networks end! Join a kickball team, volunteer at your local library, or offer to coordinate social events for your local nursing home. 

Volunteering helps build up your local community, serve a population in need, and feel good doing it. 

  1. Support Bedside Nurses 

One of the biggest challenges many nurses face when they leave the bedside is struggling with feelings of guilt and shame. Just last week I was asked if I felt guilty leaving a traditional nursing path to start my freelance writing career. 

In a flash, I told them no, because I will always be a nurse. I’m simply doing the work in a different way. Nurses are needed in every specialty, practice setting, shift, and in every area of the globe. And my health and happiness deserve to be prioritized. And so do yours.

So if you’ve made the decision to leave your traditional nursing job, make sure you turn in your guilt along with your badge. 

And if systems change is what you seek, remember: just because you left the bedside does not mean you left the fight. If you feel strongly about the issues plaguing nursing today, you can support your local hospitals through labor rights organizations, advocacy groups, and news publications. 

You can also write, strike, agitate, philosophize, and teach. 

Nurses are, and have always been, caregivers, scientists, scholars, professors, policymakers, CEOs, and advocates. 

Your impact on the world is limited only by your imagination.

Community is What You Make It

Though your work environment may have changed, your need for community and connection as a nurse has not. Nursing is a team sport, and it’s important you link up with people who fill your cup and give you purpose. 
If you think you might be interested in a remote nursing role, check out our resource section for detailed remote nursing job guides, and if you just landed your first remote job–congratulations! Now you can check out this guide on getting started as a remote nurse.