Telehealth Nursing: What It Is and How to Get Started

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Telehealth nurses use technology like telephones and smartphones to assist patients remotely. Learn more about this exciting career and what you need to do to join it.

[Featured Image]:  A female telehealth nurse, wearing a white uniform, is sitting in front of her computer, communicating with a patient.

Telehealth nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who use telecommunications technology to provide patient care. While telehealth has existed for many decades, modern technological advances have helped the field grow and reach more patients.

Telehealth nursing is rising, but is it the right profession for you?  

In this article, you’ll learn more about telehealth nursing, including the duties, salary, and job outlook you can expect as a telehealth nurse. You’ll also explore what real-world telehealth nursing looks like and how to become a telehealth nurse. You will also find some recommended online courses to help you start a career in telehealth nursing today.

What is telehealth nursing?

Telehealth nurses use telecommunication technologies, such as telephones or video conferencing platforms, to assess patients and assist them with their health conditions. While telehealth nurses primarily relied on telephones to communicate with their patients in the past, they now have a wide range of digital health technologies accessible through smartphones, tablets, and computers to provide high-quality care to those in need remotely.

Though their work differs somewhat from nurses providing in-person care, telehealth nurses are RNs with the same training and expertise as their offline counterparts. 

While telehealth allows nurses to work remotely with flexible schedules, it also can provide health care access to patients in remote areas, lower medical costs, and reduce the time it takes to receive care.

Responsibilities and duties 

RNs working with telehealth technologies strive to provide the same high-quality care to their online patients as they do for their offline ones. While their responsibilities between patients, some of telehealth nurses’ most common duties include: 

  • Triaging with patients over the phone using their medical histories and descriptions of their conditions.

  • Telehealth technologies can be used to conduct remote patient monitoring and collect critical health data, such as blood pressure.

  • Managing chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease.

  • Educating patients on health conditions and their treatment courses. 

Telehealth nursing salary and job outlook

Health care is a growing field that is impacted considerably by technological advances. As digital services and telecommunications devices spread worldwide, so does the reach of health care providers, who can now serve patients far from their hospitals. Here’s how telehealth nurses fare in this dynamic health care landscape.


According to Glassdoor, telehealth nurses in Canada make an annual average pay of $71,625. However, that number can vary greatly, depending on the company you work for and the province or territory you work in [1]. 

The Government of Canada Job Bank reports that all registered nurses, including telehealth nurses, make a median hourly wage of $40.39. Depending on your location, that number can be higher or lower [2]. The pay you can expect to earn as a telehealth nurse will likely depend on your work experience, qualifications, location, and employer.

Job Outlook 

The job outlook for telehealth nursing is positive. The Job Bank expects good to very good job prospects through 2027 for telehealth nurses [3], and health care-related statistics suggest that the field will likely continue to grow. 

The need for health care workers is rising in Canada and globally, but the COVID-19 pandemic increased the need for and availability of virtual health care. Organizations like the Canadian Nurses Association are even advocating for the Canadian government to develop a national digital health strategy to make access even more affordable and accessible. 

Telehealth nursing jobs: What to expect 

Telehealth nurses perform many of the same duties as in-person RNs but do so through telecommunication technologies that create unique opportunities and challenges.

For example, while telehealth nurses can work in traditional health care settings like hospitals and clinics, many also work in medical call centers or from their homes. The flexibility inherent in telehealth services may appeal to those health care professionals who enjoy providing patient care but also desire a less hectic professional environment than many in-person health care facilities provide. 

At the same time, telehealth nurses must assess patient conditions without seeing them in person. While video conferencing platforms and other digital health technologies allow telehealth nurses to monitor patients remotely, providing care through these technologies differs considerably from the approaches most nurses learn in traditional nursing programs.

Nurses pursuing a career in telehealth should consider the kind of work environment and health care approach that best suits their unique personality type.

How to become a telehealth nurse

The path to becoming a telehealth nurse resembles that taken to become an RN but with some minor, though important, differences that prepare you to provide patient care through telecommunications technologies. Here’s what your path to becoming a telehealth nurse could look like:

1. Attend a nursing program. 

To become a telehealth nurse, you must first become a registered nurse. In Canada, this requires completing a nationally approved registered nursing program, which is typically available through a college or university. 

Your program will likely combine both lecture-style courses and lab work and will take about four years to complete. If you choose to specialize in a particular area of nursing, such as pediatrics, you'll need to complete additional education and training. 

2. Pass the NCLEX and get licensed.

After completing your nursing program, you will qualify for the NCLEX-RN, the official exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Depending on your province or territory requirements, you will typically need to pass this exam to become an RN. Once you have taken and passed the exam, you’re qualified to become a licensed RN. 

The exact requirements for licensure will vary by the province or territory in which you work. Registering with a regulatory body is required in most provinces and territories. 

3. Gain experience. 

Many employers require telehealth nursing position applicants to have significant bedside care experience. The reason for this requirement is clear: Telehealth nurses must draw on their wealth of experience to assist patients they cannot physically examine, so they must be well-trained to bridge the physical divide between them.

As a result, you would likely benefit from gaining experience providing in-person care before entering the telehealth profession right away.

4. Hone your skills. 

Telehealth nurses must be exceptionally skilled at communication, empathy, and active listening in addition to their medical knowledge. If you want to start a career in telehealth nursing, you should consider honing these critical people skills to ensure you are well-equipped for the job.

Start your nursing journey. 

Telehealth nurses are highly trained health care professionals capable of helping patients with various ailments. As a result, the journey to becoming a telehealth nurse begins with gaining the right knowledge and skills. 

Consider taking a flexible online course on Coursera to help you prepare for your future career. The University of Minnesota’s Integrative Nursing Specialization teaches a patient-centered, relationship-based approach to nursing that uses a variety of integrative healing modalities. 

Johns Hopkins’ Foundations of Telehealth course introduces key components and considerations needed to design and implement a successful telemedicine program at the practice and health system levels.

Article sources


Glassdoor. “  Telehealth Nurse Salaries in Canada,,6_IN3_KO7,23.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed April 18, 2024. 

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