Is Remote Nursing More Flexible?

Remote nursing has its benefits. But is it really a job where you’ll be traveling freely around the country as a digital nomad? Or is it merely a guarantee that you’ll get all your bathroom breaks during the day?

Scheduling Freedom

Most nurses have a love/hate relationship with their schedules. Working three days a week seems like a cakewalk until you’re too tired to function on your days off, and you’ve worked more holidays than you can count. Compared to bedside nursing, remote jobs may have more flexibility, but it depends on the individual position.

Flexibility with scheduling comes in many forms:

  • The ability to choose your schedule
  • Having weekends/nights/holidays off
  • Specific shift length availability (3 12-hour shifts, 5 8-hour shifts, or a hybrid schedule)
  • Options to work part-time, PRN, or on a contractor basis

What Flexibility Would You Choose?

Whatever your dream scenario, there’s a role out there for everyone. Remote jobs have different types of “freedom”. 

Internet freedom

Remote nursing employers may require that you’re hard-wired into the internet. This means no working in a coffee shop, and working in a hotel also poses a challenge. If you want the freedom to work from home and move around, you’ll need to search for a job with relaxed internet requirements.

Phone freedom

Certain positions require a high volume of phone time. These are usually patient-facing remote jobs like phone triage or case management. Some company phones are bulky and not suitable for traveling. This also requires that you work in a quiet environment. If you want mobility and to be able to work with music, kids, or pets in the background, a position with little phone time would be ideal for you. 

Scheduling freedom

As mentioned above, no singular schedule will be considered “flexible” for everyone. You’ll need to determine your preferences and search for a job that has your ideal schedule. Positions like utilization review/management are usually scheduled more heavily for weekdays during business hours. But, you trade the luxury of working fewer weekends with working 5 days a week.

Geographical freedom

You’ll still be required to work under your nursing license in a remote nursing setting. Remote jobs are subject to following state laws and regulations regarding nursing scope of practice. Some companies may require that you are physically working in the state that you are licensed in. Also, most remote nursing jobs don’t allow you to work outside of the United States.

Time freedom

This may mean taking time off in the middle of the day to pick up kiddos from school or going to a medical appointment during business hours. These jobs are rare, as nurses are seen as part of the “production” side of businesses and are scrutinized against company productivity metrics. However, these jobs do exist in the remote world, especially in positions that are paid a salary rather than an hourly rate. 

Nursing Job Flexibility Superlatives

Many types of remote nursing jobs exist featuring a wide range of flexibility. Here’s a snapshot of how a few of them would be presented in a high school yearbook.

Most likely to allow you to choose your desired shift length (5 8-hour shifts, 4 10-hour shifts, 3 12-hour shifts): 

👉Phone triage or HEDIS nursing

Most likely to permit you to do the job from anywhere:

👉Nurse health coach or nurse content writer 

Least likely to permit creative scheduling options:

👉Utilization review/management (most are 5 8-hour shifts — a huge adjustment for many nurses)

Least likely to allow you to step away during the day: 

👉Phone triage or case management

Final Thoughts

If one particular type of flexibility is pivotal for your happiness as a remote nurse, research what remote nursing job titles meet those qualifications. Put your time and energy into applying to those positions so you can live your best remote nurse life. 

For more information on job titles and responsibilities, check out the Nurse Fern blog and other blog articles on the topic