Many students are quickly deciding a career in the medical field is the right fit for them, primarily because of their drive to help others. However, there are so many different career opportunities available for students within the healthcare industry that it’s oftentimes hard to narrow down the exact path that best suits you.
If you have a passion for interacting with others and helping to impact their lives for the better, nursing may be a great career option for you! It’s no secret that healthcare is an extremely stable field to get into, primarily because it’s continually growing and the need for healthcare workers will always be prevalent. Thankfully, there are several different career paths available within the nursing field, and not all of them are as conventional as the others.
For instance, did you know that nursing doesn’t always require working in a medical setting? There are several nursing jobs available that don’t take place in the traditional medical environment such as a hospital or doctor’s office. One example would be to pursue a nursing career as a home health nurse. The need for home health nurses has drastically taken off, especially within the past few decades, and is primarily driven by the demographics of an aging population. As individuals begin to age, they aren’t interested in moving into a care facility or a nursing home. Rather, they desire to stay in their home and receive the care they need. This is where home health nurses come into play!
- What does a home health nurse do?
As a home health nurse, it’s your responsibility to deliver medical care and attention to patients in the comfort of their own homes. This is typically the case for patients who are no longer able to care for themselves or don’t have any family available to help them. Home health nurses help patients dealing with a plethora of different health concerns, not always just age-related. For instance, they may help patients dealing with cognitive issues such as dementia, mobility-related health concerns, diabetes, infections, and so much more. According to Indeed, typical duties of home health nurses include administering IVs, cleaning and changing the dressing on wounds, updating patient information, completing medical evaluations, and administering physician-prescribed medications when needed. The beauty of working as a home health nurse is that each patient is truly unique in the medical care they require, making each day a different challenge!
- What is the earning potential of a home health nurse?
The earning potential for a home health nurse varies depending on the organization you work for, the number of hours you work, and several other unique factors. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for a licensed home health nurse is approximately $48,070. That’s not to be misconstrued that you can’t earn significantly more than that depending on your role. There also are different nursing routes you can take to become a home health nurse such as becoming an RN, LPN, or LVN. Depending on the nursing path you follow, this may have a significant impact on not only your day-to-day responsibilities and supervisory roles but also your earning potential.
- What type of work does a home health nurse do?
As a home health nurse, it’s likely you would work for a home healthcare agency. The agency will then match you with a patient, or patients, and you can expect to spend the day’s entirety with either a singular patient or traveling between multiple patients. Depending on the organization you work for, your hours may also vary. Some home health nurses work the typical 9–5 Monday through Friday, while others may need to work a more flexible schedule such as overnights or even weekends. It all depends on your patient and their unique needs. As a home health nurse, it’s your job to ensure your patients are following their outlined medical treatments. However, there’s more to being an at-home nurse. It’s about building connections with your patients, as well. You’ll get to know them on a more personal level than typical nurses do with their patients, simply because you’ll see them on a more regular basis.
- How do you become a home health nurse?
To become a home health nurse, you may need to complete an associate degree in nursing and pass the required board exams for the field. However, with so many different educational tracks you can follow, how do you know which is best for you? It’s important to find a school that provides you with hands-on training as well as in-classroom education, such as Berry College, a nursing school in Georgia. Finding a school that provides their nursing students with both hands-on clinical experience and a solid education taught by a team of experts will get you going quickly in the right direction.
- What are some positives and negatives of being a home health nurse?
It’s no secret that there are ups and downs to every job; however, it’s important to fully understand the day-to-day life of a home health nurse. Listed below are a few of the positives and negatives associated with being a home health nurse.
Positives of being a home health nurse
As a home health nurse, you’ll have significantly more independence and autonomy than nurses who work in a medical setting. You’ll have to make choices by yourself; however, those choices will also set you up with valuable life and industry skills.
As mentioned previously, as a home health nurse, you’re more likely to build relationships with your patients, simply because you’re seeing them and their family members on a more frequent basis. This makes the role of a home health nurse significantly more intimate than other nursing roles.
Negatives of being a home health nurse
Less team assistance provided
Although a positive of the job is having more independence, it can be construed as a negative, as well. Overall, as a home health nurse, you’ll have less team assistance than you would in a medical facility, meaning that you may have to make hard choices by yourself. It also means that there won’t be others nearby to turn to with direct questions.
More documentation is required of you
As a home health nurse, it’s also important to keep up with your paperwork and medical documentation. You need to ensure you’re tracking everything from your patient’s vitals to their medications, treatment plans, and so much more. Many home health nurses claim that documentation takes up the majority of their days simply because any of the mistakes found within that documentation will fall back on you.
If you’re interested in becoming a home health nurse, the first step is to seek out the right education for you! A career as a home health nurse awaits, so get started now!
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