Describing a day in the life of a home health nurse can be a bit of a challenge because variety is the norm for these dedicated professionals. However, there is at least one constant for these highly skilled health care providers: Every day, their efforts make a difference.
While there’s always a certain amount of unpredictability in a home health nurse’s work, when you step back to take in the big picture, you’ll notice a certain rhythm to their days. What is it like to spend a day in the life of a home health nurse?
A Mobile Office
Home health nurses don’t report to hospitals, clinics, or doctor’s offices when they start their workday. Instead, they climb into the driver’s seat of their car and travel to the homes of patients in need of medical care. Their vehicles serve as mobile offices. With no supply room just down the hall, any technology, paperwork, office supplies, or health care items that might be needed for the day’s tasks must be on hand. In fact, many home health care nurses keep additional items on hand since a change in plans isn’t unusual for these on-the-go professionals.
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Responsibility and Freedom
Being a home health care nurse is a major responsibility. After all, home health care nurses are expected to connect with their assigned patients, provide the services they need, and maintain any relevant records. However, home health nurses also enjoy far more freedom than their peers working onsite in a health care facility. While nurses working in hospitals and medical offices are strictly scheduled and complete their tasks under the watchful eye of a supervisor or physician, a home health care nurse’s hours are far more flexible. They are also free to use their own initiative as they work independently in the field to provide top-quality care to their patients.
As the names listed on their roster of assigned patients change, home health nurses get to meet new people and venture to new places. As a result, they also have a chance to treat an ever-changing array of health conditions. Working in home health care allows them to continually expand their knowledge and refine both their interpersonal skills and their nursing skills. On any given day, a home health care nurse may be charged with providing services like the following:
- Management and evaluation of a patient care plan
- Wound care
- Infusion therapy
- Skilled assessments and nursing
- Administration and management of medication
- Education of patients and caregivers
The Pleasure of Progress
Patients often receive home health care services for a period of weeks or months as they heal and recover. While it’s not uncommon for more than one home health care nurse to visit a patient, these professionals typically do make repeat visits to their patients. This allows them to get to know their patients and build a friendly rapport with them. It also gives them a chance to see their patients in their natural environment, which can be helpful in pinpointing and tailoring the services that their patients need. As an added bonus, home health care nurses get the pleasure of watching as patients make progress and get to see firsthand the positive impact they’ve had on someone’s life.
Independence and Collaboration
Because home health nurses work in the field without the benefit of coworkers in the immediate vicinity, they have to be able to operate independently and confidently. Many enjoy the challenge of communicating effectively with a wide range of patients and using their observational and problem-solving skills to deliver the necessary services in unfamiliar environments. However, home health care nurses don’t operate in a vacuum. While they may be on the front line, they are also an integral and respected part of a patient’s health care team.
Do you enjoy being on the go and interacting with a variety of people? Is flexibility something that appeals to you? Would you prefer a profession that routinely presents you with fresh challenges? If so, it may be time to consider working in the field of home health care. A day in the life of a home health nurse may always contain an element of unpredictability, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re an experienced home health care provider or a trained nurse interested in moving to this fast-growing field, you can find meaningful career possibilities with Phoenix Home Care and Hospice. If you’re interested in joining our team, visit our career page today.