Will You Miss Working Bedside? 4 Things to Consider

In the quest for your remote nursing job, have you ever come across a mind-boggling message like this?: “I just left my remote nursing job to go back to the bedside and I feel so much better.”

How can it be? Is remote nursing so bad that it chases nurses back into the loving arms of chronically understaffed hospitals?

Remote nursing jobs are like any job— they don’t work for everyone. Here are 4 things to consider to know if a remote nursing job search will be worth your while. 

1. Social Climate 

If you sit at the nurse’s station with a sign taped on your back that says “Don’t talk to me, I need to chart”, then you’re likely one of the many nurses that enjoy the social climate that bedside nursing brings.

Working closely with patients and nurses allows you to chat, listen, and learn as you connect with other humans. You might also enjoy exchanging stories and collaborating in a critical situation.

This doesn’t mean you’ll suffer in a remote environment, but it may take some adjusting.

  • Many coworker correspondences will take place over email, or communication channels like Microsoft Teams
  • Meetings will be done virtually
  • Patient interaction will be done over the phone
  • Collaboration with other providers and offices will also be over the phone, and very brief

Tip to thrive: When speaking with co-workers, take an extra minute to ask them about themselves to form a connection.

2. Schedule Changes

Schedule changes are tough for many nurses. Going from 3 12-hour shifts to 5 8-hour shifts is huge. Do you remember being on an orientation schedule when you first started your last job? If it was exhausting and miserable, you might have some difficulty adjusting to a remote nursing job. 

The schedule has its upsides as well. With each day being shorter, you might have more energy at work to make a home-cooked meal or spend more time with your family. However, most of your leisure time will be shoved to the weekends, which takes some getting used to. 

Tip to thrive: Be intentional about taking time for yourself each day, even when working. You might need to reframe your mindset about only doing things on non-work days because you’ll have fewer days off.

3. Boredom

If you came from working in the ER where the entire day is a blur, you blink, and it’s 1900 and time to go home, remote work will be different for you. Although no remote nursing job is inherently boring or unchallenging, it’s going to depend on how your personality mixes with the role. 

Does patient care fill your cup emotionally? How about complicated procedures or medication math? If so, you will need to be selective about the types of remote work you’re willing to consider. 

Tip to thrive: Strive to keep your environment mentally stimulating through a desk treadmill, fidget toys, working in front of a window, and taking on new challenges at work.

4. Unmet Expectations

Similar to the last point, this usually has more to do with how your personality meshes with your prescribed role. Many nurses start a remote nursing job and realize it wasn’t exactly how they expected. 

They might feel…

  • They don’t have as much flexibility as they thought
  • They hate “being tied to a desk”
  • The amount of phone time is more overbearing than they thought
  • They feel micromanaged
  • Their production numbers are overwhelming
  • They still have burnout, just a new type of burnout

Tip to thrive: If you’re burned out from the hospital, don’t just consider remote work. Contemplate transitioning to a different type of non-traditional nursing role, like home health, mobile IVs, or outpatient clinics.

You’ll Never Know Until You Try

Just like your first nursing job, a remote nursing job may require 6 months to a year until you’re sure about it. Remote work might seem glamorous, but it isn’t for everyone, and every job is different.

Do you think you’d be a good fit?
For more information on remote nursing jobs that would suit your work personality, check out the Nurse Fern blog post on 11 Non-bedside Nursing Jobs You Can Do From Home.