Profiles in Telehealth: Former ER Nurse Finds Better Quality of Life in Virtual Care

Nurse practitioner, Ashley B., began her career in 2009 in the ER and by 2020 transitioned to aesthetics and urgent care. When the burnout ramped up during the pandemic, she transitioned to virtual care with Wheel and calls it the best career move she made in 14 years! Now she gets to be more present with her son and practice better self care resulting in less stress and more beach time.

What's your professional story?

I am a family nurse practitioner who graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2008. As a nurse practitioner, I have worked primarily as an aesthetic nurse practitioner performing non-invasive cosmetic procedures. During COVID, I changed paths and worked in urgent care, which brought me back to my original days as a nurse.

My nursing career began in 2009 as an adult and pediatric Emergency Department nurse. I worked in the ER for eight years. During that time, I obtained my first Masters of Science degree in Nursing and became a nurse manager for two freestanding Emergency Departments. After getting married and having my son, I decided to transition to a less stressful job in outpatient surgery. I also became a clinical instructor for HCA’s national Nursing Residency Program teaching skills and simulation lab. I ultimately decided to return to school to obtain my second Masters of Science degree in Nursing, family nurse practitioner. After working in the urgent care and med spa during COVID, I felt very burned out and decided to explore telemedicine opportunities.

What's your life like outside of work?

I live in south Florida with my nine year-old son. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I really enjoy taking weekend trips to places in Florida such as Sanibel Island, Naples, Orlando and the Florida Keys. I also spend a lot of time exercising and going to the park with my son.

What brought you to virtual care?

My first experience with telemedicine began while working in the urgent care during COVID. At the beginning of 2022, I decided to resign from my aesthetic nurse practitioner and urgent care positions after feeling burnt out. My life felt too consumed with work, as it was nearly impossible to get a day off due to staffing shortages as a result of COVID. I had a long-time friend who transitioned to telemedicine, and she encouraged me to pursue this path, as well. In my search for telemedicine companies, I found Wheel and submitted an application.

This was, hands down, the best career decision I have ever made! The hardest part of transitioning to telemedicine was applying for various state licenses. Each state has a different requirement, and the application processing can be lengthy. The best part of my job is the flexibility it has provided me. I am now able to be more present with my son and attend more school and extracurricular activities with him. I am also able to engage in more self-care activities regularly, which has tremendously improved my stress level!

What's it like to work with Wheel?

As previously stated, Wheel has been the best career choice for me throughout my fourteen years as a nurse. Not only has my stress level improved, but my quality of life has also improved. I am able to be more present in my son’s life and no longer have to miss out on his experiences because of work. With the flexibility I have, I was able to provide him with an opportunity to experience the Miami Heat Jr. Basketball camp (a week long camp that is over an hour away from our home), which I would’ve never been able to do in my previous job.

Also, the culture at Wheel is very supportive and encouraging. When I’m asked about my experience at Wheel, I often say that in my fourteen-year career, I have never been more valued and appreciated for my work than here at Wheel! Seriously, Wheel is amazing!!

For new clinicians interested in transitioning to virtual care, I would recommend obtaining a variety of state licenses to be marketable. I would also suggest having a strong foundation and comfort level in recognizing and treating common conditions such as upper respiratory infections and urinary tract infections. Lastly, as in any practice, I would advise clinicians to know and access their resources as needed to ensure accurate/appropriate care is being provided at all times.

While some may think working in virtual care can be monotonous, I do not find that to be my experience at Wheel. Here, there are a variety of platforms I am able to work on based on my clinical experience, so I never feel bored.

What do you think the future of healthcare holds?

Telemedicine is constantly evolving, and I am grateful to be at the forefront of this change. Telemedicine has increased access to care and, in my opinion, empowered patients to have more control of their medical journey. I think patients appreciate the ability to receive care without lengthy office wait times to see a provider and/or having to take time off of work to be seen in person. I think the greatest contribution digital healthcare has made is that access to care has tremendously increased and care is more cost-effective and efficient.

Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your personal and family stories!

For more check out our previous care team spotlights from a third-generation NP who uses flexible hours to support refugees, an NP's journey from candy striper to virtual care and a NP who decided to travel the world for a year.

Interested in joining a team of virtual care clinicians? Learn about working in telehealth with Wheel.