Working in health care can be incredibly rewarding. It’s a demanding field that requires medical knowledge, strong communication skills, quick thinking, and a willingness to help others. For home health care workers, there’s the added challenge of working independently, without the safety net of a coworker in the next room. If you are launching a new career in this field, there are many tips for new home health nurses that can help you embrace your chosen profession with confidence.
Tips for New Home Health Nurses
Entering the world of home health care can feel overwhelming, but you can take comfort in the fact that many people thrive in this field. If you ask experienced veterans for their top tips for new home health nurses, many will offer the following advice:
1. Be Positive
It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine. While your work will involve providing more practical forms of health care, a sense of humor is an invaluable tool that will help you connect with your clients and get through tough days. Do your best to keep a positive attitude no matter what happens. You don’t have to know every answer, so don’t worry when you encounter something new. Trust that you have something to offer and give yourself permission to ask questions, learn new things, and grow as a professional.
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2. Be Prepared
Stuff happens. Complaints are overlooked in the hospital or fail to make it into the report. There’s a dog in the house that mistook the box of gloves for a chew toy. The patient thought they had the right type of dressings, but they were mistaken. To avoid being thrown by the unexpected, be prepared. Turn your vehicle into a supply closet, and expect the unexpected.
3. Be Organized
When your day is jam-packed with visits, you don’t want to waste time searching for things, so organization is vital. Pack a bag that you’re comfortable using with basic necessities like pens, notepads, commonly used handouts, blank copies of frequently used forms, and the paperwork you’ll need to accomplish the day’s tasks. Keep chargers for your cell phone and laptop in your car so that a dead battery never causes a disaster. Finally, plot the route you’ll be traveling before you pull onto the road so that you don’t waste time or gas searching for the address of your next appointment.
4. Be Flexible
There is no routine day for a home health nurse. Plans continually change. Road construction projects and auto accidents force detours from your ideal route. A coworker calls in sick, and you need to pick up the slack by taking on extra visits. A patient forgets that you’re coming, so no one is home when you arrive. The pharmacy delivered the IV antibiotic, but the IV pole is on back order. Instead of getting flustered when plans go awry, embrace the challenge. Be flexible and creative, but always keep safety procedures and precautions in mind.
5. Be Safe
Anyone who travels to various locations for work must remember to consider their personal safety as they complete their workday, and home health workers are no exception. Keep your cell phone charged and on you at all times. When possible, complete your paperwork inside the home rather than lingering in your vehicle. Always be aware of your surroundings and alert to any red flags.
6. Be Ready for Paperwork
Paperwork is a fact of modern life, and it’s certainly part of the job for anyone who works in the medical world. After all, certain things must be documented for medical, financial, and practical reasons. While it may not be much fun, completing paperwork does get easier and faster with practice.
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7. Constantly Learn New Things
When you work in health care, you’ll never know it all. There is always something more to learn. New advances and new technologies are introduced every day. Existing procedures, protocols, and recommendations are modified, discontinued, or replaced. The more you know, the better the level of care you can provide to the patients who are depending on you. Consider taking classes online or at your local university. Participate in seminars and attend professional conferences. Read scholarly articles and keep an eye on the health headlines. Always be ready to learn something new.
With America’s aging population, the demand for home health care is strong. If you’re eager to discover more tips for new home health nurses, talking with professionals who are already working in the field can be very informative. At Phoenix Home Care and Hospice, our team of dedicated professionals provides a wide range of services, including home health services, hospice care, in-home services, private care, and consumer-directed services. To explore the job openings at Phoenix, please check out our Career Center. You can also contact us online or give us a call at 1-855-881-7442.