If you’re a nurse, you aren’t obligated to work in a healthcare facility such as a hospital or doctor’s clinic. In fact, there are several different jobs where you can work entirely, or almost entirely, from home. These work at home jobs are ideal if you want to limit patient contact due to burnout or health reasons, or if you want to be a stay-at-home parent.
So, what kinds of work at home jobs are available for nurses?
Thanks to most medical records being digitized and saved on servers, it’s fairly easy to find jobs in medical transcription that can be performed from home. As a nurse, you are also going to have an easier time understanding medical terminology and abbreviations and thus transcribing dictation into digital documents including diagnostic tests, specialist referrals, and pre- and post-operative reports.
Likewise, because you may already deal with a medical transcription service at work, it’s highly likely that the agency offers work-at-home medical transcription jobs. This beats having to search for these jobs online, which often entails wading through scam sites.
You will need to pick up some additional training before you can start applying for work-from-home jobs in medical transcription; most positions do ask for a degree as a registered medical transcriptionist (RMT) or a certified medical transcriptionist (CMT). These programs take from six months to a year to complete. Luckily, many of these programs are also online and allow you to both learn and test at home.
Once you become qualified to work in this field, you can easily earn $16/hour or better. Full-time medical transcriptionists who work as independent contractors average $20/hour.
Pharmaceutical companies, biotechs and major laboratories are often in need of medical writers who can wade through complex regulatory paperwork and create content that is consistent with what can and cannot be performed by that company or lab. Likewise, medical writers will often take clinical study results and translate them for FDA officials who are in charge of approving or disapproving a submitted drug or medical device.
Because nurses often work for years or decades in clinical settings, they are well-qualified to translate obscure medical documents for the general public or other officials involved in the drug testing and approval processes. In their roles as medical writers, nurses can work on or off-site; many are self-employed as independent contractors.
The starting pay for medical writers averages at $25/hour and quickly increases if they meet their yearly goals and/or take on additional duties such as copywriting.
Case management/telephone triage
Many medical offices, insurance companies, college/university and home health agencies, as well as urgent care and military facilities employ nurses who provide consultative and referral services, schedule appointments, and answer any health-related questions from patients who call or email the office. Thanks to the emergence of virtual private networks or VPNs, these jobs can now be performed from home.
Case management/telephone triage is a customer service-focused job that requires you to be a fast thinker and meticulous note-taker. You will also be required to process a certain number of calls per day and follow-up with patients who have issues or special needs. The goal of most of these calls and/or emails is to encourage appointments with doctors and specialists, which translates to more insurance dollars being pocketed by your facility, clinic or agency.
To be hired for case management/telephone triage, you will need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing (ASN or BSN). However, the pay can be quite good, with most clinics offering 40 hours/week at $30/hour to start.
As a nurse, you aren’t limited to only working in strict health care settings. Some registered nurses “branch out” and become legal nurse consultants (LNCs), working with attorneys, physicians, clinicians or patients who are engaged in the litigation process including personal injury, product liability, fraud and abuse, medical malpractice or negligence, and workers’ comp cases.
LNCs may also be employed with pharmaceutical or biotech companies or contract research organizations and help design research studies, review medical and quality assurance records, ensure regulatory compliance, etc. Many LNCs who do this kind of work for years eventually become self-employed and work from home.
The average pay scale of LNCs is around $41/hour. To start in this field, you need several years of experience as a licensed and registered nurse, hopefully in a clinical setting. A BSN or higher degree is preferred, as well as a Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) credential. More information can be obtain through the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants or AALNC.
Sales and marketing
Many nurses, and especially those who work for years in a clinical setting, eventually leave their jobs to become pharmaceutical sales reps. In this line of work, you promote and sell various pharmaceuticals, medical devices and services to doctors, clinicians and other nurses. While many such pharmaceutical reps perform a good deal of their work out of their homes, they must also travel to clients’ offices, private practices and laboratories.
Aside from having LPN or RN certification, there is no major requirement for becoming a pharmaceutical sales rep, as the job requires an outgoing personality and persuasive skills more than any kind of official training. Many nurses, however, will eventually take some business and marketing courses; others will go on and earn MBA degrees.
The base pay for pharmaceutical reps is fairly high, especially for nurses who sign on with major pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly or Merck. However, for those nurses who really know how to sell, the real financial reward is in product commissions, which can easily outpace hourly earnings. For example, a typical rep’s salary may only be $30/hour; however, if she makes or exceeds her sales quotas, the commissions and bonuses could tack on an additional $50-$70K, placing her well above $100,000 for that year.