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Is Home Health Nursing Right for You?

February 14, 2014 General 0 Comments

Is Home Health Nursing Right for YouHome health is a growing field in nursing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is the fastest-growing industry that the BLS maintains statistics on, and the need for competent home nurses is projected to increase as baby boomers grow older. This nursing practice requires a special type of individual — could you be one of them?

Are You Flexible?

A home health nurse is able to set his or her own schedule by making specific visit appointments with each patient. If a nurse only wants or needs to work three days a week, it's easy to make such arrangements. If you need or value flexibility in your day, home nursing might be a good fit.

Can You Get Personal?

Home visits are very personal. One nurse is visiting one patient in their home, which is drastically different from one nurse taking care of several patients in a hospital with a healthcare team for support. Some nurses love this aspect of the job because they get to dedicate their time to one patient's needs, answer their questions and care for them without distractions.

Got the Smarts?

The home nurse must be very knowledgeable of disease processes, drug treatments, wound care and ventilator management, if needed. The home nurse is also responsible for performing a thorough assessment of the patient's needs, so he or she must be detail-oriented, as missing an important piece of clinical information can send the patient to the hospital instead of down the road to recovery.

Can You Communicate Well With Physicians?

The nurse should be able to clearly communicate findings to the patient's primary care physician. There must also be a high level of trust between the nurse who is seeing the patient and the doctor who writes orders and recommends treatment based on the nurse's assessment.

Do You Have the "Write" Stuff?

Like other areas of nursing, home health requires a considerable amount of documentation. But unlike other areas, reimbursement from Medicare is heavily dependent on the accurate completion of an Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) form. This form is Medicare's way of ensuring the proper care for their patients. Other regulations must be followed as well, and the process can get fairly complex. If you are an individual who is adept at navigating paperwork — and thorough enough to properly see it through — home health is right up your alley.

Can You Be Both Case Manager and Nurse?

As a patient's case manager, home health nurses must also take responsibility for managing the patient's treatments and needs, which can become overwhelming for some. But others enjoy this type of direct control, as they can personally ensure that their patients' needs are being met.

Home-based nursing is a unique field with unique challenges. Strong nurses with sharp assessment skills, attention to detail, the patience for paperwork and a willingness to give personalized attention and care will thrive in a home health environment.

Photo credit: Flickr.

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