Nursing is a growing profession, and one that is seriously in high demand. This gives nurses more options than ever in where, how, and when they work. Home health nursing is one area of the profession that many nurses are hearing more about — and may be considering as a career path.
With an aging population facing a growing number of health challenges, combined with the rise of telehealth, there is a growing ability for nurses to deliver care to people directly in the home. Like any job, home health nursing has its share of pros and cons that anyone looking into this line of work should explore.
By truly understanding the pros and cons of home health nursing, you can make the best decision for your career.
What Do Home Health Nurses Do?
Instead of providing nursing services in a hospital, care facility, clinic, or doctor’s office, home health nurses deliver patient care directly in the home. Home health nurses can be registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Certified nurse assistants (CNAs) also provide home health services as well.
Patients who benefit from home health nursing include elderly patients who require special attention, children and infants with conditions that need extra care, disabled patients, people with mental health needs, and patients who need follow-up attention after a procedure. Some patients may benefit from 24/7 care provided by private duty home health nurses.
Job responsibilities can include many of the same duties as a hospital nurse or a nurse in a short or long-term care facility. These include assisting with medications, changing wound or surgical site dressings, helping with nutritional needs, providing respite care for another caregiver, and a range of other services depending on the patient.
Home health nurses can work independently, as an employee of a hospital or health care system, or as part of a home health agency.
The Big Pros of Home Health Nursing
Home health nursing can be a highly rewarding line of work, with many nurses reporting that home health is the perfect fit for them. The major pros of home health nursing for those who thrive in the field include:
Home Health is a Growing Area in Health Care
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hiring of home health and personal care aides is projected to grow 33% by 2030. This makes home health an especially in-demand specialty in the already in-demand profession of nursing. High demand means job security, competitive pay, and options for home health nurses.
Flexible Schedule and Diverse Environments
Home health nurses will generally not have a set schedule like in one location such as a hospital or other clinical setting. This means greater flexibility to work your own hours and to choose what will fit into your schedule and lifestyle.
Ability to Deliver One-on-one Care
Instead of bouncing from patient to patient, home health private duty nurses are able to focus their care and attention on one patient at a time in the comfort of their client’s home. Many nurses report the ability to build rapport and relationships as being very satisfying.
Independent Work Environment
When you are in a home setting, there are no doctors, charge nurses, or administrators physically present, allowing home health nurses to take initiative and work according to their skills and experience. If other resources are needed, such as a doctor or nurse manager, they are usually just a phone call away. Home Health Nurses are also supported 24/7 by their Director Of Nursing.
These pros are some of the primary examples of what makes home health nursing so satisfying for so many.
The Potential Cons of Home Health Nursing
Like any job, home health nursing has its drawbacks too. Some of these may be subjective. In fact, for certain personality types and backgrounds, the pros of home health nursing listed above may be cons. This is why it’s very important to understand your specific skills, needs, and objectives before entering into any nursing specialty.
Any prospective home health nurse should be aware of the following:
It’s Usually Recommended for Experienced Nurses
New nurses usually benefit from the assistance that comes with being around other nurses and health professionals. Because home health nursing involves so much independence and autonomy, at least some degree of previous experience in a hospital, care facility, or other setting is highly recommended. Home Health Agencies like Care Options for Kids offer training to new nurses to ensure a nurse is clinically competent to provide top quality care in the home.
You Are Not Working in a Health Care Facility
Working in a home also means that much of the specialized equipment, supplies, and resources available in other clinical settings won’t be there. Home health nurses have to be resourceful and adaptable in many different situations.
Patients Can Have Advanced Needs
Home health patients can sometimes be uncooperative, have communication problems, mobility problems, and a number of other needs. They are also on their home turf so to speak so it’s important to point out that nurses may potentially encounter difficult patients.
Unpredictable Environments and Conditions
While many home health nurses consider a “dynamic work environment” to be a big pro, it can be a con if you prefer a steady, stable environment such as a hospital day after day. Although it is possible for some home health nurses to work with a small number of patients over a long period of time, it is also likely that travel to multiple homes will be necessary, with a range of patients, with lots of different conditions. Once again, the flip side is that nurses in other settings have unpredictable patient interactions as well.
By carefully weighing the pros against the cons of home health nursing, you can decide if it is the right potential fit for you.
Ensuring the Best Possible Home Health Nursing Experience
Within the field of home health nursing, working with a dedicated and experienced home health agency can offer a number of unique advantages for prospective home health nurses. These include:
Extensive resources and clinical support
Flexible scheduling and paid time off (PTO)
Competitive pay and attractive benefits
Matching with the right patients based on your skills and experience
Choosing a career in home health care allows you to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. At Care Options for Kids, you can have the opportunity to grow your skills and experience while making a positive impact.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care
It can be hard to balance time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why the team of skilled professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help. We have been enforcing precautionary measures and following the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19 to ensure the safety and health of our clients and employees.
Our home health care services offer one on one support in the comfort of your home. We are always looking for loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision.
Applying for a position with Care Options for Kids is quick and simple. We offer an easy online application process eliminating the need to come into a local office until you are ready to meet with our Director of Nursing. Your application, resumé, license, CPR card, and Alzheimer’s Certification are all uploaded online. We make it as easy as possible to join our team. Call today at (888) 592-5855.