Are Remote Nursing Jobs All About the Numbers?

Are you wanting a remote nursing job to escape the grind?

Some remote nursing jobs might offer a reprieve from the hustle, but most companies use metrics to keep you on task and keep them on budget. 

Why Are Remote Jobs Production Based?

Healthcare companies have to turn a profit to stay in business. As a bedside nurse, you’re often more separated from this side of the biz. On the floor, each time you chart that you’ve admitted a patient or administered a medication, the electronic health record makes note of potential charges so your hospital gets reimbursed.

Similarly, remote nursing roles also contain financially incentivized tasks. If you do prior authorizations, each review is an opportunity for the company to make money.

In other cases, the financial gain is less direct. For example, case management services are usually not charged to the patient. However, each patient in a case management program is less likely to overutilize their insurance benefits, so case management reduces the company’s overall financial risk.  

Some examples of metrics for different remote nursing job roles include:

  • Phone triage: Number of phone calls accepted
  • Case management: Member onboarding completed, new member sign-ups, or calls attempted
  • Utilization review and management: Authorizations completed
  • Data abstraction and CDI: Charts reviewed, queries sent

Which Remote Nursing Jobs Have the Easiest Metrics?

There’s no shame in asking which roles won’t have you chained to your desk. Plenty of jobs in other industries have employees putting in a few focused hours of work each day for a healthy salary. In the case of remote nursing jobs, every company and every team will have different metrics and expectations. But some roles inherently have more flexibility than others. 

Don’t compare apples to apples when searching for a job with reasonable metrics. If you interview for two utilization management jobs and one role wants you to do 20 cases per shift and another wants you to do 30 per shift, don’t brush off the 30-case job. 

You need more information about what the metrics entail. Maybe the 30-case scenario is for outpatient reviews and only uses one type of software and never requires phone outreach. In contrast, the 20-case job may be inpatient reviews that need provider outreach and have you using multiple types of software. There are a lot of variables to consider, so while numbers are important when considering the job, they aren’t everything. 

Understanding More About the Metrics

When interviewing for a job, dig deeper into the metrics management requires for the position.

You might not have time to understand all the nuances of nursing productivity and metrics for your prospective role, but here are some questions you may consider asking:

  • Are the metrics tracked each hour, each shift, or averaged for each week? Most metrics are tracked per shift, but it varies depending on the job or the contract.
  • Are the metrics based on anything outside your control? You can’t control how many members will answer your call, but you can control how many calls you make, for example.
  • How are you rewarded for meeting your metrics? Will management promote you after X months of meeting metrics, or is there a different benchmark for that? 
  • What percentage of members of this team are meeting their metrics? 
  • What interventions are in place for the team members who aren’t meeting nursing productivity and metrics? It’s helpful to know if the management jumps straight to a performance improvement plan or if they have a plan to train those nurses.
  • Is this role paid hourly or salary? This is key for understanding metrics. Often, the expectation for salaried employees is that they stay at work until they hit their benchmarks.

Apart from metrics, some jobs also track your keystrokes, mouse activity, or active computer time. A few roles also track eye movements or require cameras to be on for the entire shift.

Why Nursing Productivity and Metrics Matter to You

If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done!

Your boss can’t see you working hard, stop by for a quick chat, or get to know your work ethic as well in a remote environment. Good or bad, in a remote nursing job, your work is often reduced to the numbers you pull for the company. 

Metrics matter for all of the following:

  • Annual performance reviews
  • Evaluating who to lay off or what teams to downsize with budget cuts
  • Promotions
  • Salary increases
  • In some roles, those meeting nursing productivity and metrics can choose a more flexible schedule or have other perks

What to Do if Your Metrics Are Challenging You

Any time you change nursing specialties, there will be a learning curve. Be patient with yourself as you develop different skills as a remote nurse. 

If you find that the production benchmarks are stressful and not working for you, here are some tips: 

  • Ask your boss how long a typical new hire takes to meet the metrics
  • Give yourself 3 to 6 months to learn the workflow
  • Ask how much of the team is currently meeting the metrics
  • Ask your preceptor how long it took them to meet the benchmarks when they started
  • If you notice someone on your team that’s doing well, ask them for advice. They likely have templates, appropriate shortcuts, reference sheets, or tips for what to review so you can get more efficient

Crunching The Numbers

Metrics are a huge part of any remote nursing job, and something to keep in mind whenever you interview or start a new role. Remember to ask follow-up questions to discover more about what’s behind the numbers and how your leadership plans on helping you succeed. 
Want to learn more about which role would suit you best? Check out the Nurse Fern remote nursing job guides.