Nurse Types / Home Health Nursing: Pros and Cons
Healthcare is usually associated with services provided in hospitals. However, many patients require healthcare services at home. Home health nurses visit patients in their homes to deliver the care that they need.
Examples of home health nursing:
- Elderly patients that need special care and attention
- Disability patients that require supervision and aid
- Patients that require follow-up treatment post-discharge
- Mentally-ill patients that require specialized care
Home health nursing is a specialty that registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and nurse assistants can pursue.
These nurses are either employed by hospitals or work for independent agencies. RN home health nurses can expect to make anywhere between $70,000 to $90,000 depending upon their education, location, and other factors.
In this article, we will discuss:
|Flexible schedule||Lack of structure|
|Autonomy||Not ideal for new nurses|
|Dynamic environment||Unpredictable environment|
|Personal touch||Uncooperative patients|
|Lack of equipment|
4 pros of home health nursing
There are several reasons nurses decide to pursue home healthcare. It has several advantages.
Depending on the employer, home health nurses can choose between traditional work hours or a flexible schedule. This includes working overnight, four days per week, or weekends.
The timing can also change according to the type of care you provide and the agency you work with.
Generally, home health nurses get to decide a large part of their schedule. It can be a very important factor for nurses who have many of responsibilities in their lives.
For the most part, home health nurses work independently.
Although nurses have to work with doctors, it involves more collaboration than assistance. Nurses have to rely on their own abilities when dealing with patients.
Since there is no senior doctor or physician to supervise and provide direction onsite, you will need to take the initiative.
Home health nurses also have to be prepared and ready to act on their own in any situation. This can be very rewarding for those who are a lot of experience.
Dynamic social and work environment
Nurses that care for patients at their home meet many types of people. They get to communicate with families from different social backgrounds, cultures, and social dynamics.
Exposure to so many different families and patients can be a fulfilling experience. It can teach you to become less judgmental and better listeners, which leads to a better healthcare outcome. It provides patients with a more holistic experience.
Personal touch to healthcare
Home health nurses need to develop an understanding with patients and their families.This is important because they constantly deal with patient needs. It is imperative for nurses to be proactive in taking care of them.
Depending on the type of patient, you will need to adapt to their personal needs. Everyone has their own unique requirements, including the elderly, kids, and those with disabilities. As a nurse, you need to understand the patients on a very personal level.
This kind of personal care doesn’t typically exist in traditional health care settings. For anyone who prefers to work more intimately with patients, it can be very satisfying.
Expert advice from nurses like you
5 cons of home health nursing
Even though home healthcare can be a good option for many nurses, it does have disadvantages you should consider.
Not ideal for newer nurses
Home health nurses work with a lot of autonomy.
This means you will have to perform most tasks on your own. There is no defined directive to guide you in delivering care to your patients.
Nurses require strong assessment skills and a medical-surgical background. They also need to be confident in their skills as a patient advocate and healthcare provider.
Most of the time, the nurse is going to be performing procedures. This includes wound care, emergency aid, and much more.
It is best to have a lot of nursing experience and a background in an acute-care setting before becoming a home health nurse.
Lack of good equipment
A patient’s home isn’t the best place to find healthcare equipment.
As a home health nurse, you will have to be resourceful and carry any equipment you might need.
Unlike a regular hospital setting, there is no access to major healthcare equipment and facilities.
Although it is the job of the nurse to address their patients’ problems, it is not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where your patient may reject your treatment.
Most patients are thankful to nurses who are willing to care for them in their homes. However, there are situations where a patient might perceive you as hostile.
There could be many reasons for this. For example, pain-inducing treatments like syringes and wound dressing could trigger a patient. Also, patients sometimes perceive nurses as invading their privacy.
You need to be careful in these situations. Handling such patients can be a tough task.
Safety risks & unpredictable workspaces
It is hard to predict the environment of a patient’s home. The locality they live in, their family dynamics, and working hours are all factors that are subject to change.
It can be challenging for nurses to adapt to these environments. You must consider the risks associated with such working conditions.
For example, you never know when a family member might become aggressive, and sometimes homes carry the risk of infection due to insufficient maintenance.
You need to be aware of the safety risks every time you enter a new home.
Lack of structure
Home health nurses work in isolated environments. Many dislike this lack of structure and agency.
There are no supporting staff or colleagues to work with, which could lead to the absence of a good support structure for your mental health.
What is it like to be a home health nurse?
Home health nurses have to care for a variety of patients. These nurses travel to their patients’ homes and work in shifts.
This could consist of assisting one patient for several hours at a time or intermittently. It may also involve caring for several patients in one day.
Home health nurses work in collaboration with a doctor to care for and provide healthcare to these patients.
They need to keep their patients’ medical records up to date and report back to their employers, and they have to maintain accurate paperwork.
Their duties vary according to their career background. Task complexity increases with skill level and qualification.
Their tasks typically include:
- Administration of medication
- Taking vital signs
- Assisting with patient mobility
- Educating the patient and family on conditions and responsibilities
- Taking care of patient nutrition
- Dressing and caring for wounds
- Managing pain
Apart from performing these tasks, home health nurses also need to:
- Have patience with patients and family members
- Know how to communicate effectively
- Be flexible with their work schedule
- Be able to work independently and advocate for the patient
- Be able to travel to and work in home environments
- Provide personal care with compassion
Home health nurses face many different types of situations. It can be a bit overwhelming, but it also gives nurses an opportunity to explore new experiences.
Home health nursing is great for nurses who like independence and working closely with patients. While it has both pros and cons, it can certainly be a very rewarding career. You’ll need to consider these important factors before deciding to become a home health nurse. Then you can decide if the career might be a good fit for you.
Tired of applying for nursing jobs?
With Incredible Health, hospitals apply to YOU.
Top home health jobs on Incredible Health
High Point, NC | $64,000 to $145,000 /year
Palestine, TX | $86,000 to $120,000 /year
Greensboro, NC | $64,000 to $145,000 /year
Bridgeport, TX | $54,000 to $94,000 /year
Corpus Christi, TX | $54,000 to $94,000 /year