Demand for home health nursing is skyrocketing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of jobs will continue to soar by 25% from now through 2031.
Several factors are influencing this trend. People are living longer. They want to stay in their homes as long as possible.
The expense of hospital stays means that patients are leaving the hospital sooner. They need more care at home.
A home health nurse provides personalized care in the patient’s home. You provide care, support, and education. Home health nursing is rewarding emotionally and financially.
Keep reading for five reasons to consider becoming a home healthcare nurse.
1. Make a Meaningful Impact
Home health nursing is one of the most personal types of medicine. You impact the patient as well as their caregivers and family members.
Home health allows you to build a relationship with the patient. You see the patient’s daily life. You have insight into behaviors or conditions that affect their well-being.
You can care for the whole person. Home health is a more holistic approach that helps the patient and their support system.
Home healthcare lets the patient stay in their own home. They can stay in the environment where they feel comfortable. You help them stay at home safely, surrounded by their family and friends.
2. Create a Flexible Schedule
Home health care offers you many options for care assignments. Working with a full-service provider lets you choose assignments that fit your scheduling preferences. Options can include:
- Per diem
As a home health nurse, you can avoid the strict shift scheduling of a hospital environment. You may be driving from appointment to appointment, helping people with different conditions, living environments, and support systems. You can also choose to work with one patient on a full-time basis.
3. Care for Different Patient Populations
Unlike some nursing jobs, home healthcare lets you care for diverse patient populations. Some of the many types of patients who need home healthcare include:
- Mothers and babies newly home from the hospital
- People living with chronic illnesses
- Children and adults with complex disabilities
- People recovering from surgery or injuries
Home health nurses may visit people who need wound care or help with medication. They may provide education in addition to care and support. They may help patients with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and eating.
4. Work Independently and Autonomously
Home health nursing gives you a high degree of independence. A home health nurse is usually part of a larger care team. However, you work in a non-traditional environment.
You don’t have the medical infrastructure of a hospital or other medical facility. You can’t go ask a doctor in the next room if you have a question. You need to be confident in your ability to do what is necessary.
Home health gives you the opportunity to solve problems autonomously to meet your patients’ needs. You can exercise your creativity and critical thinking skills. You have more freedom to innovate.
5. Grow in a High-Demand Industry
You can become a home health nurse as a:
- Certified nursing assistant (CNA)
- Licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse (LPN/LVN)
- Registered nurse (RN)
You can advance in your career by earning a higher level of education. Home health nursing at all levels is in demand.
Home Health Nursing as a CNA
Getting a CNA is the fastest path to home healthcare. You can complete a CNA training program in as little as four weeks.
You’ll need to pass the certification exam and gain some experience. Then you will start working as a home health nurse.
A CNA has less training than an LVN or an RN, so they have more limited duties. Responsibilities as a home health CNA include:
- Helping patients with mobility and other activities of daily living
- Performing nursing care tasks as directed by a supervisor
- Communicate patient concerns to the supervising LVN or RN
When you’re ready for more responsibilities and autonomy, you can complete the training requirements for an LVN or RN.
Home Health Nursing as an LVN
An LVN/LPN is the middle level of home health nursing careers. As an LVN, you’ll work with more independence. You’ll be able to assign care tasks to CNAs.
In addition to the duties a CNA can perform, an LVN:
- Administers medication
- Takes vital signs
- Manages wounds
Completing an LVN program takes around 12 months. Then you’ll need to pass the certification exam. You’ll earn a higher salary as an LVN because you perform more tasks and work more independently.
Home Health Nursing as an RN or BSN
An RN is the highest level of home health nurse. An RN program requires at least a two-year associate degree. You can also complete a BSN program, which is a four-year bachelor’s degree.
Completing a BSN program makes you more competitive when looking for nursing jobs. As an RN with a bachelor’s degree, you’ll perform the most complex duties. You’ll earn a higher salary.
An RN can carry out the duties of a CNA or LVN as well as other responsibilities that include:
- Assessing patient needs and developing a care plan with the physician
- Coordinating and managing the care plan with the patient, family, and care staff
- Monitoring and evaluating the patient’s response to treatment
As an RN, you have an essential role in designing and managing your patients’ care.
Working in Home Health Nursing
Modern technology has simplified the logistics of home health nursing. Digital solutions make case management easier.
For example, you no longer need to return to the office after each patient visit to record notes. You can record documentation using a laptop while in the field. Software for home health medical billing services means you don’t have to worry about coding errors or delayed payments.
Wearable technology and sensors in the patient’s home provide real-time monitoring of vital signs and other metrics.
You can take photos with your phone or tablet to share with other members of the care team. Devices with electronic pens let you file consent forms digitally. Mobile barcode readers help you track medications.
Start Your Career in Home Healthcare
Home health nursing is a rewarding and challenging career. You can truly get to know your patients and directly affect their care.
Nursing careers in home health have more flexibility than traditional nursing. You can care for different types of patients. You have more freedom to work more independently.
CNAs, LVNs, and RNs all have a place in home healthcare. You can start working toward your new career today.
Check out our other articles for more insight into which healthcare careers might be a good fit.