20 Oct Home Nurse
If you’re the sort of person who likes their independence, then home nursing could be the perfect healthcare job for you.
Home nursing offers you good job security along with the flexibility of being self-employed.
As a home nurse, you will need your own reliable transport. Clearly owning your own car, motor scooter or bicycle is perfect depending on where you live but if you have none of these you are going to need access to good pubic transport.
The day-to-day job requirements of a home nurse can vary. But typically you will either spend the entire day at your assigned patient’s home or visit an number of patients during the course of your shift.
You will primarily be responsible for checking the patient’s routine health care. This includes monitoring their blood pressure, checking their heart and other vitals, ensuring that they have their medication and are taking it regularly, bathing the person and other chores essential to their proper care.
Home Nursing Is Growing Across America
Home nursing is becoming a very in-demand profession. The reason for this is quite simple – the Baby Boomer population in the United States is aging rapidly. But many of these people are either unwilling or not ready to move into an aged care or nursing home because they value their independence too much.
For many of these people 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50. They simply don’t consider themselves old. Many feel they are not ready to be looked after full time in a nursing home and prefer to remain in their own home or apartment. Or they have a spouse that they do not want to leave on their own. But caring for a patient at home can be an emotionally and physically demanding job.
Many home care patients are suffering from acute illnesses, disabilities and have terminal illnesses. You can be spending up to eight hours a day with these people for months, even years, so you can grow very close to them. Some home nurses like being able to create long-term relationships with their patients.
You get to understand their needs and healthcare wants intimately instead of moving on from patient-to-patient as you would in a hospital. If this sort of arrangement suits your personality, then home nursing can be extremely rewarding.
Home Nursing Is Less Frantic Than Hospital Healthcare
The pace of home nursing healthcare is less frenetic than in a hospital or health clinic. You will have a lot more responsibility and will be called on to make your own decisions regarding the patient’s care a lot more than in a hospital environment. You won’t have experienced hospital nursing hands to call on in an emergency so you must be fully trained to handle any situation.
You are also likely to form close emotional bonds not only with your patient but also with their families. Your communication and case documentation skills are extremely important and you will need to adjust to the cultural differences you can encounter working in someone’s home.
To qualify to work as a home nurse you have to be a registered nurse (RN) either at the two-year Associate Nursing level or have a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. You will also need at least one year’s practical nursing experience, although many home nursing centers these days require more advanced nursing degrees.
A midwifery degree is also another way to get into home nursing. Many women these days are deciding to have home births so this is another way to get into home nursing so an advanced midwive degree with certification in prenatal and postnatal care can be useful.
If you are genuinely interested in home care nursing as a career option, you can look for positions at home health agencies, hospices, public health departments and private medical clinics in your city and state. A number of state and federal government departments and private health insurance companies affiliated with Medicare and Mediguard can also be useful for finding out more about home nursing.
These organizations are regularly on the lookout for qualified registered nurses to help education elderly patients and their families about the benefits and different options of home care. Ask at your local hospital about the availability of home nursing jobs in your city.
The Home Healthcare Nurses Association (HHNA) is another great resource for anyone looking to get into this line of work. The HHNA is a national home nursing organization that works with registered nurses and healthcare educators and administrators to provide the best nursing care possible in the home environment across the country.
As a home care nurse, you can expect to earn a salary of around $55,000 a year, although hourly rates vary between a low of $24.50 a hour up to $28.50 depending on your experience and what state you live in. A year ago, half of all registered nurses working in home care received between $51,700 and $58,400 annually so there is some variation in salaries depending on where you are working.
If you have the right temperament, have your own transport and are motivated to work well on your own, then home nursing could be just the job to make good use of your nursing degree.