Do you like to be on the move, meeting new people, and constantly expanding your skill set and knowledge base? Would you thrive in a fulfilling career that presents new challenges every day while continually providing opportunities to help others? Working as a home health nurse might be an ideal professional path for you. After all, with America’s graying population, the demand for health care and skilled health care workers is growing steadily. Here’s what you need to know about how to become a home health nurse.
Home health nurses spend their work days traveling to their patients’ homes to provide vital health care services. Few would describe the job as easy, but many agree that it can be incredibly rewarding. If you’re intrigued and would like to discover how to become a home health nurse, you’ll want to delve into the job’s educational requirements, learn about the qualities that home health nurses need to succeed, and explore some of the reasons why nurses opt to work in the home health care setting.
Educational and Licensing Requirements for Home Health Nurses
Home health care nurses are licensed nurses, so the first step in becoming a home health nurse is earning a nursing degree. If your goal is to become a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, you will need to complete a nursing program that offers an associate degree or equivalent certification and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses to earn your license. Alternately, you can become a registered nurse, or RN, by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Nurses with bachelor’s degrees often enjoy more opportunities, but there are plenty of openings for LPNs. In fact, it’s not unusual for a nursing professional to begin working as an LPN while continuing their education.
Necessary Qualities for Home Health Nurses
All nurses must obtain the necessary knowledge and skills through education and demonstrate their understanding via examination for licensure. Once they’ve done so, they can opt to work in a variety of settings. For success in the field of home health care, certain qualities are vital:
- Ability to Operate Independently: Unlike nurses who choose to work in doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals, home health care nurses spend their work days out in the field. Although they are part of a larger health care team, they do not have a doctor or supervisor immediately on hand. They have to be ready to work independently, responsibly, and efficiently without someone directing their every move.
- Good Interpersonal Skills: Because home health care nurses spend most of their time working alone with their patients, they need interpersonal skills that are especially strong. Being able to communicate clearly with patients in order to establish a pleasant rapport and build trust is crucial and makes the task of providing quality care easier and more enjoyable.
- Flexibility: Because home health care nurses provide services in the homes of their patients, they are continually working in new environments and with an ever-changing array of people. Sometimes these environments present unique challenges that require a problem-solving approach, so home health care nurses have to be flexible, creative, and responsive.
- Patience: Patients in need of the services that home health nurses provide are often struggling with physical, mental, or emotional difficulties. As a result, caregivers need to be patient, compassionate, and professional.
- Organizational Capabilities: Paperwork is inevitable for health care providers. Since they often work independently out of their vehicles, home health nurses need to be organized so that they can be ready to meet the needs of their patients and perform their duties effectively.
Reasons to Choose a Career in Home Health Care
Health care services are delivered in a wide range of settings, so nurses have a variety of choices when deciding where to work. Why do nurses choose to work in home health care? Some appreciate the autonomy and the flexibility. Others appreciate the fact that each day can bring new tasks and challenges. Many enjoy the opportunity to work with a variety of patient populations. In addition, home health care nurses tend to build relationships with their patients, which means that they get to see the positive impact that they have on the health and quality of life of those they care for.
Whether you are new to nursing or an experienced professional looking for a change, becoming a home health nurse can be both exciting and rewarding. At Phoenix Home Care & Hospice, we delight in welcoming skilled, compassionate professionals to our team. If you are interested in joining our organization as a home health nurse, we encourage you to visit our Career Page today. We can give you further guidance on how to become a home health nurse.