What Is A Home Healthcare Nurse?
A home healthcare nurse is a nurse who works with certain patients in their own homes. Generally, they work only with those who have been injured or are terminally ill, and this includes the elderly. In some cases, they may be employed to work with a child who has problems with mental or physical development. This sometimes is necessary for children who are mentally challenged or who have physical diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
A home healthcare nurse allows patients to heal and grow in the comfort of their own home, and this is sometimes the most constructive option for those who do wish to be in the hospital. They can sometimes work with a patient exclusively, or they may go between certain patients’ houses so that they can treat them all. This depends on the severity of the disease or ailment and the amount of attention that the patient needs.
A home healthcare nurse will help a patient heal, but they will also cater to the patient’s basic needs, such as eating and bathing. Generally, they also provide mental and emotional support to help the patient and their family deal with the effects of their problems. As a home healthcare nurse, you may be called upon to do just about anything, from dressing wounds to helping patients and their families control the amount of medications that need to be taken.
Sometimes, a home healthcare nurse will work in a retirement village or hospice where they can help more than just one patient.
Home Healthcare Nurse Requirements
Becoming a home healthcare nurse is a process that requires you to be a hard working individual, but working in this field can be difficult because you don’t work amongst colleagues. As someone who sees only individual patients, you may be lonely and may feel the need for peers to talk to. The job is very rewarding, but it can be difficult to do this type of work because though the cases are different, the work can get a little repetitive.
A home healthcare nurse needs to be very patient because each patient will progress at a different rate. It can sometimes be hard to see more than one patient suffering from the same ailment where one is progressing faster than the other. You also need to have excellent communication skills, since you will need to communicate what you need patients to do in a way that is not condescending or judgmental and that motivates them to try harder. A home healthcare nurse must also work well under stress, both physical and mental.
To become a home healthcare nurse, you will already need to be practicing as an RN or LPN, and have some clinical experience. In some cases, they will also need specialized training, such as when they are working with the elderly or with those who are mentally disabled.
How To Become A Home Healthcare Nurse
To become a home healthcare nurse, you may need to take your RN or LPN qualification to the next level by doing a home healthcare course. This will prepare you for what you will need to do in your daily working regimen. This is a growing industry but it can be hard to know where to look for jobs, which is why so many home healthcare workers opt to go through an agency and get placed in a home where they can help a patient.
Once you have your NCLEX qualification and your active nurse’s license, you can also attend courses to help you improve your home healthcare skills. These would cover the technology that affects home healthcare as well as advancements in the field that could help you provide better care for your patients.
Online/Distance Education Programs
Specializing in home healthcare nursing can be done either online or through a distance learning program, but it is advisable that you find a program that is accredited and regulated. This means that you will have the credentials to back up your qualification and that you can practice safe in the knowledge that you have the right information.
To find a distance or online learning program that is right for you, you may need to do some searching online and get some recommendations from others who have used this course of action.
Those who want to be in home healthcare will be pleased to know that there are a lot of jobs available in this field and there will be many more as the years go past. Because people are getting older than they did even 30 years ago, they need more care and sadly, the prevalence of degenerative diseases is quite high. More and more people are also choosing to undergo treatment in their homes, rather than in a hospital and thus the need for home healthcare nurses is higher. Apparently in the next decade, there will be a 33% rise in the amount of jobs available for home healthcare nurses. Those who wish to get better jobs in this industry will need to study further and obtain higher qualifications.
Many home healthcare workers find jobs through agencies that keep them on their books in the long term and move them from place to place as needed.
Usually, a nurse in this field can earn about $53 000 a year if working in a hospital or about $49 000 if working in someone’s home. This all depends on the nurse’s experience and on the amount of care the patient needs. Some home healthcare nurses will even become live-in employees so that they can help their patients on demand. Becoming a live-in employee could affect your salary, since you won’t have to pay rent, and this is why many nurses prefer not to.
A career in home healthcare nursing can be very rewarding and fulfilling on a lot of levels. After all, for those who cannot help themselves but cannot go out to a healthcare facility, home healthcare nurses are vital to improve quality of life. There is also a much greater need for home healthcare nurses now than there was even 30 years ago because people know so much more about diseases and how to care for those who are suffering from them.
A nurse practicing in any field is to be lauded for their commitment to helping others heal. In the context of a home healthcare worker especially, this can be difficult because of the need to focus on just one individual, rather than on a group of people. However, the journey to become a home healthcare nurse may be a long one and it may contain a lot of different types of work, from working with those who mental disabilities to those who are just affected by old age.
One thing that a home healthcare nurse definitely needs to have is a respect for others and for the human condition. They may not always be able to empathize with those who are in the final stages of cancer, or those who are suffering from autism, but one of the requirements of the job is that they have a respect for what those patients are going through.
They also need to have knowledge and intuition. To be successful in their job of helping others heal, they need to know what they are going through and potentially what could help them. They also need to be able to foresee what a patient may need so that they can help them.
After a few years of study and some clinical practice, a nurse can decide to go into home healthcare, but sometimes this is easier said than done. Because this requires one on one work, when there is a personality clash, it may be hard to continue the work, and this may dissuade a home healthcare worker from continuing in this field. However, the rewards are such that there are many who want to go into this field.
For individuals, the rewards include watching people heal and work towards their health where they may have felt that they were doomed before. The job of a home healthcare nurse then is not just to offer help on a developmental or physical level, but also to provide hope for those who may have though that they would never overcome their disease or disability.
Home healthcare nurses have a valuable role to play in assisting communities and individuals within those communities with all manner of problems from home neonatal care to assisting the elderly in their day-to-day activities. The journey to become a nurse in this field is not as difficult as that in many other nursing specialties, but the salary they can expect to earn is not as high as others either. However, the real reward comes to each individual in watching someone who could not walk take their first steps, or in watching a child with a developmental disability finally grow and think in a new way. This is why so many go into home healthcare nursing.