Remote Work or Working for Yourself: Which Is Better for Nurses?

In this article, we'll compare the two and point out the differences and the skills needed to be successful in work-from-home roles for nurses.

Remote Work or Working for Yourself: Which Is Better for Nurses?

There seems to be a myth that if you’re a nurse and you want freedom and flexibility, you need a work-from-home remote job. It's like a mythical creature many nurses are searching for in the magical forest of perfect jobs.

The problem with work-from-home jobs is they don't always deliver that freedom and flexibility and ultimately, many nurses find out quickly that remote jobs are not a good fit for them. Why not? Sounds perfect right?

What nurses think of when they hear "work from home" or "remote job":

  • Waking up when we want to, starting work later

  • Working in leggings or sweat pants with no makeup on

  • Flexibility to take our kids to the doctor

  • Less stress, pressure, and demands

  • More time at home with our family

  • Eliminate the commute and gain more time for errands, doing our budget, making dinner

  • Having a “normal” schedule will improve our relationships

There’s a growing number of remote roles that nurses can work in from home. Most work from home remote “jobs” for nurses fall into a few major categories.

Types of remote or work from home roles:

  • Auditing, clinical reviewer

  • Authorizations, insurance, appeals, utilization review

  • Triage, call center

  • Quality improvement

  • Telephonic case management/chronic care medical management

  • Remote monitoring

  • Education, nurse coaching

  • Healthcare recruiting

Not an inclusive list by any means, but most positions fall into similar buckets. Other remote jobs include positions that were displaced out of facilities due to covid and are now remote roles that weren’t before. MDS/RAI coordination for long-term care and admissions/intake nurses for hospice are examples of these. Many regional leadership roles are hybrid remote and onsite.

But when transitioning into a remote role, many nurses find it’s not a good fit.

The problems nurses have with the typical remote work from home jobs:

  • Very hard to find these roles, saturated with competition, internal candidates 

  • Very isolating, no relationship building or teamwork

  • No autonomy to make decisions, decide how you spend your time

  • Always checking in or being checked on

  • Trapped on the phone or on webcam except for scheduled breaks

  • Scripts and stiff inflexible responses to patient needs

  • Micromanagement and intensive productivity requirements

  • Pay cuts for remote positions

  • Don’t feel like what they’re doing is really helping people

  • Having to issue denials and relay decisions they disagree with

What are the main differences between working for yourself and working remotely for someone else? Everything. 

 This is what working for yourself might look like:

  • Being your own boss, no supervisors, not an “employee” of anyone

  • Choosing the projects you like and are passionate about

  • Leveraging your strengths to make big changes and help solve problems

  • Charging what you’re worth so you can work significantly fewer hours

  • Managing your own availability, breaks, and work time

  • Creating and diversifying your income streams (making passive revenue)

Working for yourself can look like a combination of any of these:

  • Independent contractor or subcontractor

  • Consultant: Legal, compliance, regulatory, safety, education, operations, quality, lactation, culture change, diversity and inclusion

  • Nurse educator: Workshops, webinars, training, diversity, and inclusion, dementia, mental health, leadership development 

  • Nurse coaching, speaking, medical writing, course and content creator

  • Reputation Management/Recovery, customer satisfaction, and consumer image

  • Government Contractor, 

  • Specialized Services Provider: Private duty, doula, concierge, IV hydration, wellness, fitness, staffing agency, cannabis, patient advocate

Whether you work remotely for yourself or for someone else you’ll need a special set of skills to ensure success.

These are some of the areas nurses who work remotely need to focus on:

  • Clear and frequent communication

  • Scheduling and time management skills

  • Active listening with customers and peers

  • Attention to detail

  • Self-directed working, be disciplined and committed to work times when you could be doing other things

  • Good documentation and record-keeping skills

  • Excellent follow-up and critical thinking to read into small details when the big picture is unclear and can’t be assessed

Are you working remotely or looking for remote jobs? Comment below and let us know if you agree!

Have you been considering a work-from-home position?  Check out this PDF to see if a remote job will be a good fit for you!

Categories: Nurse Entrepreneur