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Virtual nursing jobs on the rise to help eliminate burnout, turnover for in-person workers

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The virtual universe is expanding, even now in our post-COVID world.  A growing number of hospitals are using virtual nurses to help reduce burnout and turnover.

After four deployments as an Air Force nurse and more than 20 years on the job, Charissa Jackson needed a change.

She traded scrubs for a screen and now works as a virtual nurse

“It doesn’t require you to be doing a 12-hour shift. It doesn’t require you giving shots or passing out pills,” Jackson said.  

The new role helped her combat burnout.

“It was essential for my mental health to find a way to still use my expertise after I left the military,” she said. 

A recent survey finds burnout for physicians and nurses remains above pre-pandemic levels. Staffing shortages have been noted as a key contributing factor, along with too many bureaucratic tasks. 

“Virtual nurses have taken off significant administrative burden to our floor nurses,” Chief Nursing Officer Crystal Beckford said. 

Virtual nurses generally focus on areas such as patient outreach and education, admissions and discharge instructions allowing their counterparts to be more hands-on at the bedside.

“I’d say anywhere from an hour, to 90 minutes, an hour and a half, it’s giving back to that floor nurse,” Beckford said. “It could save a life and it can also save a nurse from turnover.” 

Patient Jannel Jackson, experiencing a virtual nurse for the first time during her hospital stay, appreciated the extra attention.

“The regular nurses may not always be able to get to you,” Jackson said. 

Innovation improves outcomes for all sides. Some virtual nurses work remotely from call centers and a few hospitals are experimenting with them working from home.

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