Home health nurses provide in-home skilled nursing care. While being a home health nurse offers nurses frequent changes in their work environment and the opportunity to create their own work schedules, the job requires discipline and self-motivation. A career in travel nursing is rewarding, but the field of home health care has certain expectations of the nurses who provide home care to patients.
What the Job Involves
Home nurses provide direct patient care; therefore, the job generally requires a few years of clinical experience. They serve patients who are well enough to be at home, yet still require nursing care. Many patients are just returning home following discharge from the hospital or rehabilitation center and may be unsure about what to expect from a home health nurse.
The primary duty of a home nurse is to tailor the patient's care plan to meet the individual's needs in regaining as much physical independence as possible. Many home care patients are elderly who have chronic conditions. These patients often have other home health professionals, including home health aides, social workers, and physical or occupational therapists, as part of their care team. Consequently, home health nurses regularly work with other health care professionals in providing patient care.
During each home health visit, a visiting nurse is responsible for checking the patient's vital signs, managing the patient's medications, and providing wound care (which includes assessing any pressure sores from being bed-ridden). Some patients need to have urinary catheters inserted, blood drawn, or infusion therapies given. Another crucial part of the job involves educating a patient's family or other caregivers on how to take care of the person during the times when home health workers are not in the home.
Time Spent on the Road
Traveling from one patient's home to the next takes up a good part of a home health nurse's day. This requires flexibility and the ability to work in different settings and locations. A home health nurse who works independently must consider the time spent driving, the time it takes to complete a home visit, and the time spent writing nursing notes when planning his or her daily schedule.
Patient Progress Notes
Documentation is an essential part of the job for any health care professional. Home care nurses are no exception and spend a significant amount of time writing patient progress notes. Not only do home health nurses treat patients and monitor their progress, but they evaluate them as well. All this involves providing complete documentation related to the patient's care.
Because home health nurses are responsible for managing their patient cases, nursing notes must be accurate and clearly communicate measurable goals. Keeping thorough records provides evidence that the home care patient is receiving the amount of assessment, care planning, treatment, and delivery of services he or she needs. Contact First In Care Home Health Agency Inc for more information.