Home Health Nurses are an important part of the healthcare team. These nurses go into the homes of their patients to care for them; administering both orally and IV medications, educating them on diagnoses and cares, providing wound care, drawing blood, and more.
There are benefits to being a home care nurse. For one, you can develop a really nice one-on-one relationship with your patients. You can also help the family dynamic by educating the patient’s spouse or other family members about your patient’s condition. The salary is competitive, too. Salaries range by location and the nurse’s experience, but as the Payscale.com graph shows below, many nurses can expect to make around $50,000-$70,000 annually.
There are, however, many challenges that a home health nurse must face. Articles by Kelly Morris (former social worker) and Laurie Carpenter (child-care specialist) have done a particularly good job at concisely explaining some of these unique difficulties.
As part of my own learning process, I will attempt to summarize the items listed in the 2 different articles into this one post. I want to apologize if the wording is extremely close to the original article. I want to emphasize I do not mean to take credit for anyone else’s work – restating their information is honestly the best way for me to make sure I learn and remember.
- When a nurse works in a hospital or a clinic, there are rules and regulations that ensure they work in the cleanest and safest environment possible. However, when a nurse is caring for a patient in the patient’s home, there are really no such guarantees. The homes can be filthy; there can be rodents and other vermin, poorly trained pets, cigarette smoke, etc. The problems of the home can also extend to the neighborhood. Sometimes a nurse may have to go and care for patients in neighborhoods that are considered unsafe and that the nurse would otherwise not venture.
- Travel. Travel. And More Travel.
- If you are not comfortable with traveling around all day, you should not be a home health nurse. There can be great distances separating patients, and a nurse must have a reliable vehicle. The nurse will also be needed regardless of the weather; so he or she will be expected to travel in some poor driving conditions.
- No Backup Security
- When a nurse is in a patient’s home, there is no unit charge nurse, no hospital security, to intervene if the nurse is in trouble. Sometimes a home health nurse can be exposed to violent situations. The patient, or the patient’s friends and family can become sources of violence and danger.
- Harassment & Discrimination
- Both male and female nurses can be sexually harassed. Young, female nurses generally report feeling more vulnerable to sexual harassment; and they can feel particularly uneasy caring for a male client in his own home. Nurses can also be afraid of facing prejudice and discrimination based on their race, religion, or other reasons. This fear can be compounded when the nurse is alone in a patient’s home – where there is no one to come to his or her help if needed.
Thank you for reading my blog post. I do apologize about my infrequent postings lately, and I will try to regain my momentum and post more regularly.
I stumbled upon the topic of home health nursing by accident, and I must admit I am still learning about it. If you feel I over looked anything, or have your own input to add, please feel free to comment. Thank you.
- Miss Nurse