The thought of working in the medical field has always intrigued you. You know that healthcare is a growing, stable area of expertise, and you love the idea of interacting with patients and changing their lives for the better on a daily basis. All the signs seem to be pointing you toward nursing as your new career, but spending all day in a hectic hospital or under the fluorescent lights of a clinic might not be appealing to you.
Luckily, there are plenty of options for healthcare workers who don’t enjoy traditional medical environments. Nurses have the flexibility to use their talents in a work environment that not only benefits patients but also works well with their own personality, lifestyle and schedule commitments.
One nursing option to consider is home health nursing. Find out if this rewarding healthcare career is the right option for you as we break down everything you need to know about becoming a home health nurse.
What does a home health nurse do?
Home health nurses visit patients in their own homes to deliver medical care when a patient (or their family) is unable to care for themselves. You may think of home health nurses as mainly helping elderly adults struggling with dementia or ailments that limit their mobility, but the illnesses home health nurses treat go beyond that.
These nurses care for everyone from older adults to people with mental illnesses to those recovering from surgery. “You can expect to see wounds of all kinds. Some other common ailments home health nurses treat include diabetes, congestive heart failure and infections,” says Larissa Pourron, RN and nursing supervisor at TheKey®.
Just like nurses working in a hospital setting, home health nurses can expect to tackle a wide variety of job duties, including responsibilities like taking vital signs, helping patients with mobility issues, cleaning wounds, administering medication and drawing blood. Pourron adds that teaching also comes into play as a home health nurse, such as educating a patient recently diagnosed with diabetes or instructing a patient and their family about the signs of heart failure.
Home health nurses also need to report back to their employers and keep their patients’ medical records up to date, so maintaining accurate paperwork is as much a part of the job for home health nurses as it is for RNs staffing a hospital or clinic.