The Ultimate Remote Nursing Tech FAQ Guide

Whether you’re planning to re-enter the workforce altogether, or you’ve been sequestered at the  bedside for years, refreshing your knowledge of pertinent technology is a must.

Despite your familiarity with electronic health records, you’ll still need to keep abreast of other types of tech used by remote nursing companies. If you want to look like an iPad kid in your interviews, here’s everything you need to know on the most frequently asked tech questions of remote nursing job applicants.

1. How should I prepare for possible internet issues?

Internet issues are not an “if”, but a “when.” Everyone experiences an outage or inclement weather from time to time. 

Mitigate mishaps by:

  • Writing down contact information. If you can’t log into your computer, you’ll be glad you wrote down your supervisor’s contact number and email address. Don’t forget to note the IT department’s phone number as well, including their after-hours line, if they have one.
  • Downloading your internet service provider’s app. Easily see if the tech issue you’re having is related to your own internet connection before you assume it’s company-wide. Make sure you also write down the contact information for your internet company, in case your internet issue doesn’t allow you to use any apps or data. 
  • Getting familiar with your router and modem.  Know where they are, how to restart them, and what the light indicators mean so you can tell if there’s an issue or need to do a power cycle. 

2. What’s remote work etiquette? 

Being a nurse, you’re already familiar with general etiquette. Getting used to the remote nursing environment might have a small learning curve, so here are some of the etiquette basics:

  • No one likes a cold call. Message your coworkers before giving them a call.
  • Make sure your activity status on chat messaging is accurate, and respond as promptly as possible.
  • On video calls, using a blurred or professional background is okay, but don’t use a distracting or moving video background unless you are invited to do so. 
  • Gauge your teammates before using emojis and reactions.
  • Everybody on mute! Not only does it prevent ambient noise, it also prevents echoes.
  • Use the raise hand function in meetings (if that’s the vibe). There’s usually audio lag, so raising hands prevents you from accidentally interrupting someone else. 
  • Close the communication loop. Just like bedside nursing, repeat any instructions you receive to show you understand them and have received the message. Communication issues are very common in a remote environment.

3. How do I check my internet speed? 

Lots of job applications require a certain internet speed. 

If you want to do a quick check of your speed, here’s how:

1. Go to Google.com

2. Search “Internet speed test”

3. Below the ads and sponsored content, look for the internet speed test and click “run speed test”

4. Wait for your results. 

The results will show your download speed and upload speed in Mbsp (megabits per second). Latency measures how quickly you get a response from the server, and is measured in milliseconds.

If your employer wants you to send them speed test results, ask if they have a preferred format. You could screenshot your results from the Google test, or you could head over to www.speedtest.net and make a free account to share a document containing your results. 

4. How do I check my typing speed? 

On occasion, remote nursing jobs may indicate a typing speed. Around 40 to 60 words per minute is considered proficient. 

If you want to check your typing speed, go to www.typing.com for a free test. If you need to print a certificate, you’ll need to create a free account for access. 

5. Which programs do remote nursing jobs use? 

You’ve used Epic, Cerner, or Meditech, but maybe it’s been a few years since you’ve used these programs:

  • Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Sharepoint
  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Google Drive
  • Slack (this is less common in remote healthcare jobs)

If any of these aren’t ringing a bell, no worries. Do a quick YouTube search to familiarize yourself with the interface. The basic functions of all these programs are fairly intuitive. 

Since Microsoft Office is the most extensive, there are some free refresher courses you can take, like this one from AARP.

6. How do I set up all my equipment?

Remote nursing jobs usually send their new hires the necessary equipment. 

This may include:

  • One or two computer monitors
  • A laptop
  • A desk phone
  • A keyboard
  • A mouse
  • Speakers
  • A docking station
  • An extension cord
  • A camera
  • An ethernet cable

If the equipment doesn’t come with instructions, give your IT team a call. They’re more than willing to help out or direct you to the right resources. Once you get the basics set up, you can worry about cable management, ergonomics, and making your workstation feel like your new home.

7. What is a VPN?

VPN, or virtual private network, is a way of securing your internet connection. It creates a private portal for you to access your computer. The tunnel encrypts data and makes it hard for outside parties to observe your traffic or intercept data. 

Remote nursing jobs may use a VPN by requiring you to connect to a specific app on your desktop. From there, you’ll log in as normal and the VPN won’t impede your normal workflows. It runs in the background to keep your connection safe. 

8. Help! I have an interview or meeting. How do I check my audio and video?

Set aside at least 15 minutes prior to an interview to check your tech. Or more, if it’s the first time you’ve ever used these applications.

  • Microsoft Teams: In the app or on your desktop, click on the calendar icon (usually the top left sidebar). Click “Start a meeting”. This allows you to create a meeting with just yourself to test your audio and video.
  • Google Meet: Go to Google Meet’s Help Guide for setting up and testing your audio and video. 
  • General audio tip: If your computer audio is low quality or picks up a lot of ambient noise, you can call into the meeting and just use your computer for the video portion. To call in, you can use a desk phone or Bluetooth headphones with your cell phone.

9. What does it mean when people say “hard-wired into the internet”? 

While at home surfing the web, you use WiFi, which wirelessly connects you to the internet. Being hard-wired into the internet means you’re connecting a physical cable from your modem to your work computer. 

In other words:

  • You can’t pick up your work and go to a coffee shop or work on your porch.
  • If your modem is inaccessible, you’ll need a long extension cable to stay hard-wired. Ask your IT team for help, or you can go to an electronics store to ask for some tips.

10. What should I know about cybersecurity? 

Remote nursing companies take cybersecurity very seriously. All companies are susceptible to data breaches and security issues, whether big or small. 

Some need-to-knows include:

  • Be wary of common scams. No, the CEO will never text you to buy gift cards. Social media apps won’t send you emails, and emails from outside your organization could be spam. 
  • Don’t write passwords in work computer applications. Try using an app like LastPass to keep track of your passwords. 
  • Understand that everything on your computer is subject to discovery. It doesn’t mean your manager enjoys actively spying on you, but be aware that everything on your monitor, in theory, can be monitored.
  • Check company rules about personal devices. Some companies don’t let you download work apps (like Teams) on personal phones. Other companies won’t let you have TikTok downloaded if you also decide to download work apps.

11. What should I know about HIPAA? 

Staying HIPAA compliant in a remote work environment is similar to bedside, with a few additional caveats:

  • Don’t put any PHI in chats. 
  • Don’t make disparaging remarks about patient scenarios in chats.
  • Make sure your work environment has a door that closes and locks. 
  • The computer you work on must not be visible to anyone else in your direct vicinity.

Stay Savvy

After reviewing the basics, you’ll be able to approach any interview or new remote nursing job with confidence. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or contact IT support if you need any additional help, and always strive to learn more about the technology you use at work.
Want to learn more about remote nursing ins and outs? Check out the Nurse Fern Resources!