how to become a home health nurse

How to Become a Home Health Nurse

Home health nurses get to work independently and enjoy multiple benefits over traditional nurses. The job requires attaining comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience. Home health nurses work closely with people who need extensive care. There are many reasons to get into this profession; the passion for helping others and making a real difference is one of the most important ones. In this post, we’ll tell you how to become a home health nurse step-by-step. Let’s dive in. 

What is a Home Health Nurse?

Home health nursing, as the name suggests, involves taking care of patients at their homes. The need for home nursing arises when the patient can’t or doesn’t want to be treated in a hospital. Important responsibilities of a home nurse range from hygiene care to feeding to monitoring the condition of the patient. 

What Does a Home Health Nurse Do?

Home health nurses offer medical care to patients ranging from infants to senior citizens. They are equipped to take care of patients suffering from all kinds of medical problems. As a home health nurse, you can choose your workload, making it one of the most flexible jobs in the medical industry. 

Where Do Home Health Nurses Work?

Home care nurses perform their duties in the homes of their patients. However, they’re usually associated with hospitals, agencies, government organizations, and more. So, although they’re a part of a team, home nurses work in a relaxed environment. The responsibilities of a home nurse can vary depending on the age and medical issues of their patients. These include:

  • Administering mediation 
  • Maintaining hygiene (Grooming, bathing, etc.)
  • Cleaning wounds
  • Evaluation health
  • Documenting 
  • Performing physical assessments
  • Providing education to caretakers of patients
  • Communicating with the doctor 
  • And more

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Salary of a Home Health Nurse

salary of a home health nurse

The salary of a typical home health nurse is similar to the salary of a nurse working in a formal environment. On average, home nurses make over $69,000 annually. The exact salary, however, depends on the education, experience, and the nature of the job. For instance, if you have less than 1 year of experience, the average per-hour salary is around $27. Whereas if you have experience of over 10 years, you can expect to be paid over $30/hour. Since the job offers flexibility, you can earn additional income by working extra hours. Note that nurses may also get additional benefits, including:

  • Paid vacation 
  • Health coverage
  • Onsite childcare
  • Prescription coverage
  • And more

How to Become a Home Health Nurse?

There are several ways to start a home health nurse career. The exact path depends on several factors, including:

  • How fast you want to get started
  • Your education 
  • The salary or benefits you want

Attend Nursing School

Agencies that hire home health nurses require applicants to have one of the following three degrees:

  1. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree
  2. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  3. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

If you want to get into a leadership or management position, you’ll have to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

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Gain Experience

In addition to having a relevant degree and a certification, healthcare organizations like agencies and hospitals also look at your experience. They want to make sure that you can effectively take care of or follow up with patients who require medical care at home. But, how much experience do you need to get a good home nursing job? The more the merrier. However, a couple of years of medical/surgical experience is enough to help you get into a decent role. When you’re completely new, get some exposure by working at your favorite facilities as an intern or joining a non-profit. 

Build Your Network

One of the most effective ways to get healthcare agencies to notice you is by being active in the relevant communities (Online and offline). Join social media groups around nursing and get active. Get in touch with seniors and let them know you’re ready to take on the responsibility.  

Home Health Nurses Career Outlook

Healthcare nurses career outlook

There’s a growing demand for home healthcare facilities in the UK in general. On top of that, the growth of current nursing staff isn’t enough to cater to this increasing need. This means if you’re looking to pick home nursing as a career, you won’t have to face a lot of competition. The fact that it can be emotionally hard is a different challenge. The sensitive nature of home nursing doesn’t make it an ideal profession for the weak-hearted. In addition to that, doctors and patients (Especially seniors) have started to give preference to home care over hospitalization because of the convenience and the reduced costs. 

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Home Health Nurse: FAQs

Let’s address some frequently asked questions on becoming a home health nurse. 

What is Home Health Nursing Like?

Home health nursing offers flexibility and independence, especially when you compare it with other medical professionals. A home nurse can choose their workload and can even work overtime for extra income. 

What is the Best Way to Become a Home Health Nurse?

To become a home health nurse, you need to be a Licensed Practical Nurse, at least. Most agencies, however, require that you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and two years of practical experience. 

How Long Does It Take to Become a Home Health Nurse?

The time it takes to become a home health nurse depends on your preferences. If you want to become a registered nurse (RN), you’ll need to get a Bachelor of Science degree, which takes 4 years, or an associate degree, which takes two years. The quickest route to becoming a home nurse is through the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree.  

Conclusion 

Home health nursing is one of the most rewarding and flexible career options in the healthcare industry. You can choose your workload and can take on more work to earn a bigger paycheck. To become a home health nurse, you have three main routes: 

  1. LPN degree (One year)
  2. Associate Degree (Two years)
  3. Bachelor’s Degree (Four years)

Agencies mostly look for nurses with a Bachelor’s in Nursing and 2 years of practical experience. To gain exposure and find your first client after you’ve done your degree, network with relevant people and get active in social media groups. 

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