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Longing for flexible schedules? An opportunity to spend time with patients? Many nurses have achieved these goals in their nursing career by making the move to home health nursing. Rather than juggling the care of several patients simultaneously, these nurses can see each patient one at a time, without the usual distractions that hamper the ability to care for patients in hospitals or other facilities.

Nursing Leadership in Home Care

Although patients are also seen by other health professionals when under medical care, nursing often takes the leadership role. Home care can involve visits by occupational, physical, and speech therapists, as well as pharmacists and nurse specialists.

Most patients have follow-up appointments after a hospital admission, surgery, or other change in condition as ordered by their physician, while other patients are visited in the home for palliative and end-of-life hospice care.

Core Competencies

The nursing competencies most critical in the delivery of home care are built on a nursing education followed by a good foundation of experience in medical or surgical nursing. Independence and creative thinking are also important, especially in assessment, phlebotomy, and IV, as well as wound care while working independently in the field.

Home health nurses should be comfortable being alone as they navigate their service area and travel to unfamiliar places. Having a GPA program in your car and a map is crucial in case you get lost. 

Safety First

There are some important safety considerations for success in home health nursing. These include keeping your vehicle in good working order, monitoring your fuel tank’s level, and leaving all non-essential valuables at home. If you are assigned with an electronic point of care device for documentation, guard it carefully. Staying alert and observant can prevent unexpected mishaps, theft, and violation of the patient’s privacy.

Visiting patients in their own homes make it possible to develop relationships with them while allowing for more time to focus on educating them about their health. For many nurses, this is the most rewarding work of all.

To learn more about home health nursing, visit here.

Elizabeth Binsfield, BA, RN
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