Home Health Care Nurse: Education and Career Information
If you are interested in nursing and want more of a challenge than in an ordinary hospital or clinical setting, you may want to consider pursuing a career path as a home health care nurse. These individuals work outside of medical facilities in the home and in private nursing settings, providing an optimal level of care for patients in need.
What does a home health care nurse do?
A home health care nurse completes a variety of tasks, working with patients in the comfort of their homes. You will find home health care nurses working with the elderly, or with individuals who have disabilities or mobility issues. Home health care nurses operate as if they were caring for a patient in the hospital. They do physical assessments, administer medication, develop care plans to follow and work with the physician to address, arrange physical therapy visits, and works on paperwork. They must be diligent in maintaining the needs of the patient, and ensuring they understand the level of care they need. They assist with giving injections, taking care of wounds, clinical management and monitoring serious illnesses.
How much does a home health care nurse earn?
According to Salary.com, the average salary for a home health care nurse is $74,373, but this figure can significantly increase based on the years of experience you have, level of education, and the company you work for. On the high range, the median salary is $88,428 annually. This field is quickly growing, as patients are becoming discharged from hospitals and medical facilities sooner than they used to, and the elderly population is increasing. Additionally, patients may prefer home health care over long-term care or other facilities.
What types of skills are needed to become a home health care nurse?
In order to become a home health care nurse, there are a series of steps needed. A home health care nurse is a registered nurse, and requires a specific skill set. Here are some of the skills needed:
Critical thinking: Being able to think critically is important in this role. The individual must be able to assess situations and come up with methods and alternatives to getting the job done quickly and efficiently.
Communication: Effective communication is a must. A home health care nurse works with and speaks to a variety of individuals, including the patient, family, other vendors and healthcare practitioners. It is important to be able to speak clearly and convey detailed information. A firm grasp of understanding and reading is also warranted in this role.
Organization: As a home health care nurse, there is documentation that must be arranged and organized, medicines and appointments that must be administered, and a host of other duties that must take place to ensure the best care. Being organized is the first step in this area.
Compassion: A high degree of compassion must be exercised in this role. Patients may be elderly, or children may be restless. Families going through these types of challenges have many emotions going on at one time. Being able to show compassion throughout the patient’s care is imperative.
Listening: Being able to effectively listen is key. There will be a number of instances where the patient will have to verbalize what they are feeling. In this role, being able to assess the area of distress, or the problem and convey it to the proper administrators is important. Being able to listen to the family and their challenges in the care of their loved one is also crucial. Through listening, the home health care nurse will be able to make recommendations or contact specific resources to assist.
Technology: Being familiar with technology and medical software is a must. Almost everything in the medical profession is regulated and monitored through technology. Being adept at handling appointments and keeping records through the use of technology and certain machines. This is important to be able to retrieve and disseminate information in a timely manner.
Management: Being able to properly manage tasks and keep things in order is essential. It is also important to be able to delegate tasks and manage multiple accounts, vendors and physicians. Management and organization work hand in hand.
Knowledge of medical equipment: There are a number of machines that may be needed to properly administer the care of your patient. It is important to know what the machines do, how they work, and how to conduct simple maintenance on them to make sure your patient always have what they need.
Clinical and laboratory internship requirements are necessary to complete these nursing programs. The number of internship hours required depend on the nursing program and how extensive the internship component is in relation to completion of the degree.
A home health care nurse is a registered nurse, able to do all the duties of a nurse that works in a hospital or medical facility. There are three different paths that can be taken to become a home health care nurse. Completion of a nursing program is the first step. The individual must complete a diploma, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree program. The diploma and associate’s degree is a two-year program. Coursework for the program includes nursing courses with general education. The bachelor’s degree program is four years, and students will receive the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
After the degree has been completed, the student must take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam to become a registered nurse (RN). Home health care nurses must have at least one year of experience working, with a preference on critical care. For increased opportunities, students may want to pursue a Master’s degree program in Nursing. This will also command higher salaries.
For those interested in a career in nursing with expanded opportunities, this may be an avenue for you. A home health care nurse is a lucrative step in the right direction, with emphasis on creating a haven for those who are ill or need additional assistance in their lives.