Many nurses in the acute care setting dream of a job that offers both flexibility and autonomy outside of the four walls of a medical facility. Home health care can be a rewarding opportunity for the right nurse.
At its core, “home health care” is exactly what it sounds like: medical care given in the comfort of the patient’s home. This care is supplied by skilled medical professionals, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and more. Although home health care is often associated with seniors, home health professionals work with a variety of patients, each with a diverse set of needs.
Home health care aims to treat an illness, injury, or chronic medical condition at home, helping the patient improve function and live with greater independence – avoiding hospitalization or admission to long-term care institutions. More often than not, home health care is less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care provided in a skilled nursing facility, rehab, or hospital.
For those considering a transition to home health care, here are four key benefits of a home care nursing career.
Schedule Flexibility of Home Care Nurse Careers
One of the most significant benefits RNs seek when moving into home health is flexibility. Compared to nurses in acute care, home health nurses enjoy greater freedom when it comes to their schedule. Home health care agencies offer full-time, part-time, and PRN (as needed) employment options. Once you have a caseload, many agencies will allow you to build a schedule that works best for you and your patients. How many nurses can say they have the time to eat lunch during the workday or attend their kids’ school functions? This flexibility makes home health care ideal for RNs at any stage of their career.
America’s population is rapidly aging. The U.S. Census Bureau expects seniors to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history by 2024. In addition to living longer, healthier lives compared to previous generations, many of today’s seniors are opting to “age in place.” For this reason, the demand for skilled home health professionals is skyrocketing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care employment is projected to expand by 18% by 2026, but home health care is expected to increase by a staggering 41% over the same time frame. For nurses looking for long-term job security, home health care is the place to be.
Independence & Autonomy
As a home health nurse, most of your day is spent independently, providing one-on-one care for your patient. Without a team of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals just down the hall for extra support, you must be able to think quickly on your feet and have confidence in your abilities as a nurse. Still, don’t mistake autonomy for isolation. Home health nurses work collaboratively with the larger care team, particularly the patient’s primary care physician, to ensure the care plan is being followed and adjustments are made as necessary. Depending on the patient, the care team may also include case managers, medical social workers, in-home therapists, and home health aides.
Deeper Relationships with Patients & Families
Home health care is ideal for nurses who enjoy interacting and forming close, meaningful relationships with their patients. Because you care for patients on a one-on-one basis in the comfort of their own homes, you get to spend more time with them than you would in an acute care setting. This allows them to talk with you and share stories about their life. Home health RNs have the chance to build long-lasting, deep relationships with their patients and families – something that is unheard of in most clinical settings.
A career as a home health RN can be enormously rewarding, with new opportunities to make a difference in the lives of your patients each day. Are you interested in learning more about becoming a home health care nurse? Visit our Careers page to join our Talent Network and search for available opportunities in your area.