As a new healthcare grad, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. You have spent the last few years studying hard, and now you are
As a nursing student, you’ve spent countless hours studying and preparing for your career as a nurse. From understanding how different healthcare systems work, decoding and understanding medical language, to being able to recognize and counter certain health-related issues, nursing school has taught you the fundamentals of experienced nursing. Now that you have graduated, you may be wondering what the job of a Home Health Registered Nurse (RN) entails.
On a broad scale, Home Health is a type of service that uses nursing care to provide skilled services within a patient’s home or another such facility to deliver medically necessary healthcare to individuals who cannot make their way to a medical facility. Each state has specific regulations on Home Health Nursing so it’s important to make sure you understand your local laws before you begin practicing.
Home Health RNs are an invaluable piece of the continuum of healthcare, but many new grads do not understand what it’s like to practice home Health nursing. That’s why I am here, to tell you all about what to expect and how to prepare for your first Home Health RN job.
What to Expect from Working as a Home Health RN
At Its Core, Home Health is Nursing. Before you begin planning your goals for Home Health success, it is important to understand that, in many ways, Home Health nursing is not much different than any type of nursing practice. From providing direct services like administering meds and addressing medical issues, to making appropriate referrals and monitoring a patient’s progress, Home Health nursing requires the knowledge of an RN but given the special context of care, also necessitates additional skills too.
One of the main things you will experience as a Home Health RN is positioning yourself into the patient’s “space” as your job requires you to be present in the patient’s residence wherever possible. Initially, this can be a huge adjustment and require a significant amount of adjustment. To successfully do your job, you must ensure that you are comfortable being invited into a stranger’s home.
Scouting the Terrain
As you enter the patient’s “space” it is important to remember that while it is important to be friendly and understand, it is equally important to familiarize yourself with the patient’s environment and seek out any clues as to the patient’s living conditions. For example, the type of home the patient lives in, its overall hygiene, the presence of medical devices, or even certain safety hazards.
Not only will this help you get a greater understanding of how best to cater to the patient and deliver care, but it’s also a great way of assessing potential changes to the patient’s care plan and current medical condition.
Adaptability and Flexibility
Another thing to expect as a Home Health RN is having to show considerable levels of flexibility and adaptability. Unlike nursing in the hospital or clinical setting where tasks and even hours remain generally consistent, Home Health does not give you this luxury. As such, you must be ready and willing to change almost anything at a moment’s notice; you must be flexible with your visits, adjust to patient demands, and deal with any technical problems (like internet access) during your visits to a patient’s home.
If it feels like you’re running all day to keep up with all the changes, you likely are — but that’s what working Home Health is all about. Explaining Your Visits Throughout the care continuum, Home Health nurses must be able to explain their work and their purpose to their patients. This is incredibly important to maintain a patient’s understanding of their care plan and to be able to report any changes and successes during any treatments and medications accompanied. In this sense, Home Health nurses do act as educators and advocates in addition to being nursing providers.
Providing a Thorough Assessment
When a Home Health nurse enters a patient’s home for the first time, it is first and foremost important to know and understand the patient’s medical history and any changes that may have occurred since their last visit. Upon further assessment of the patient their environment, a Home Health nurse should draw up an effective plan of treatment relaying exactly what they can offer the patient and how it will benefit them. This is vital for gaining the trust of the patient, as well as providing a reasonable timeline for recovery.
Home Health Nursing is a wonderful and rewarding career with the potential for enormous growth and opportunities. As a Home Health RN, you will not only have the joy of working on your terms but there are also countless education opportunities. Being self-directed can be very empowering and the sense of autonomy a nurse can have when working Home Health can also be very freeing.
No matter your approach, it’s important to remember to continue to do what you do best: providing excellent care with a creative and compassionate approach. Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your first Home Health job and they will certainly serve you down the line. Finally, know that at MLee Healthcare, you are not alone in your job search. Our experienced recruitment team can put you directly in touch with the companies you are most interested in, so you can start your nursing career with the perfect fit. Reach out to us today to learn more.
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