View Full Version : Interested in home health nursing


gerinurse
06-25-2007, 12:59 PM
I have been in hospital nursing all my life and am now thinking about home health. Can anyone tell me some of the benefits/downsides of home health and why you are or are not working in home health. I have been a RN for almost twenty years and this would be a big change for me.
Thanks

KimRN
06-25-2007, 06:03 PM
I have been in hospital nursing all my life and am now thinking about home health. Can anyone tell me some of the benefits/downsides of home health and why you are or are not working in home health. I have been a RN for almost twenty years and this would be a big change for me.
Thanks

Welcome, Gerinurse! I'm interested in the home health department, too as I have never worked in that field. I second the call for advice and stories!:)

Nurse Stella
06-26-2007, 09:12 PM
Hi, Gerinurse and Kim. I've done home health/hospice nursing for the past 3 years and just love it. The upside is definitely the patients. You get to know them on a level that isn't even thinkable in a hospital setting. You get to sit and hold their hand, ease their fears, teach them to manage their illness, comfort them in their own surroundings. Sometimes you watch them get better and discharge them, and sometimes you help them die in comfort and with dignity. You also work autonomously, making lots of decisions because you can't reach the doc's. The downside- Medicare and Medicaid paperwork and regulations. And where I work, we cover 8 towns with a total population of under 8,000- so the driving is the pits, especially in the winter. It's not unusual for me to put 80 miles a day on my car. But I wouldn't go back to a hospital setting for all the money in the world. Hope this gives you a little insite on HH. Oh, and I almost forgot another plus- fresh home made brownies and lemonade in the summer, fresh veggies from the garden at harvest time, and one patient's wife makes me a French meat pie every Christmas! If there's no food involved, it's not nursing! :D LOL

B.

KimRN
06-28-2007, 02:04 AM
Hi, Gerinurse and Kim. I've done home health/hospice nursing for the past 3 years and just love it. The upside is definitely the patients. You get to know them on a level that isn't even thinkable in a hospital setting. You get to sit and hold their hand, ease their fears, teach them to manage their illness, comfort them in their own surroundings. Sometimes you watch them get better and discharge them, and sometimes you help them die in comfort and with dignity. You also work autonomously, making lots of decisions because you can't reach the doc's. The downside- Medicare and Medicaid paperwork and regulations. And where I work, we cover 8 towns with a total population of under 8,000- so the driving is the pits, especially in the winter. It's not unusual for me to put 80 miles a day on my car. But I wouldn't go back to a hospital setting for all the money in the world. Hope this gives you a little insite on HH. Oh, and I almost forgot another plus- fresh home made brownies and lemonade in the summer, fresh veggies from the garden at harvest time, and one patient's wife makes me a French meat pie every Christmas! If there's no food involved, it's not nursing! :D LOL

B.


Stella, that is a great description! And I did have to laugh at the food comment. Heck, you get the best food of all - the homemade stuff!

I wonder if I would ever want to do home nursing. I know I like the personal side of nursing the best.

Do you find that you have to improvise a lot?

Julie
06-29-2007, 02:55 PM
In the UK I have experienced many highs and lows. As Stella said above the fact that you actually get uninterupted time with your patient is one of the best things. You get to provide nursing care in the way you always wanted and for example when someone has chosen to die at home you can help that person to die with dignity with their family around you. You get to work with other nurses, doctors and a host of other professionals and you get to know each other in a different way than I experienced in hospital.

The downsides are that you can be in a situation when you have to decide what to do and there is no one else to ask at that moment. Do you trust your instincts? Do you go with what you have learned? Do you go out to your car and ring someone? Do you go back to the doctor and ask advice? But that kind of decision making ability comes with practise and experience. There are times too, when you don't have the right equipment. A patient has deteriorated and you find yourself leaning across a double bed doing things that are definitely not in your health and safety manual.

Food and presents at Christmas are definitely positives though. i could go on and probably will some other time....

Alittlenurse
06-30-2007, 01:07 AM
Hi Ladies!

I'm a nursing student and this last spring semester I got to experience some Home Health and Hospice nursing. Being assigned a patient and going to their home was a big change from the hospital. One of the things I liked the best was teaching. We were teaching something to the patient or the patient's family each time we visited AND we had time to do it! But yes, I agree with the others that there is a degree of improvisiation, and not sticking to "the book". If your patient becomes unstable, you might have to think on your feet, and get your critical thinking and decision making skills jumpstarted. But as a person who is naturally laid back, I really enjoyed HH.

I hope this helped!

A.
alittlenurse

Mother Jones, RN
06-30-2007, 06:35 AM
Hello alittlenurse

Thank you for the info. I've been thinking about doing home health as a semi-retirement job. I appreciate your input about the job.

MJ

KimRN
07-04-2007, 04:26 PM
I never had the chance to experience home health in school! But...I do have to do some clinicals for my BSN in public health so maybe I can hook up with a home health nurse!

MyOwnWoman
08-22-2007, 06:56 PM
I'm not sure I'd know how to function outside of the "temple" (hospital), but I sure am glad that there are those of you that can.

Julie
08-23-2007, 03:44 AM
Working outside of hospital is different, but I am sure any nurse who has a reasonable amount of experience, common sense and the ability to think independantly would be fine. In fact I think that all nurses should at some time work outside of the safety of the hospital and actually see people in their own home environment. It is an extremely good leveller.

Nurse Stella
08-26-2007, 01:07 PM
I think most nurses have that "gut feeling". You may not be able to put your finger on whats wrong, but you know somethings brewing. In the home, if the patient has a caregiver, I instruct them in what to watch for, and depending on the severity, to call the HH agency's on-call nurse, or call for an ambulance. If I have a patient with out a caregiver, or they are definitely decompensating, I call 911 and send them to the hospital. The nurses that I work with have all done our time "on the hill", as we call it. Hospital nursing. We have worked with the docs in our community for a long time, and they pretty much trust our judgement. If we think they are too sick to be at home, the docs trust we will do the right thing. It is scary being out there all on your own. But you use your knowledge base, instincts, critical thinking. Plus, as long as the patient has a phone, support is just a phone call away. (Note I don't say cell phone- I'm in a mountainous area of northern New England where we don't have good service! LOL)


B.

jojodow
09-03-2007, 11:23 PM
I thought about Home Health when I decided to leave the Hospital. The only thing that stopped me was the idea that most around here have to be "on call" a couple shifts a month. Being a single mom with a six year old, that would be impossible for me. I'm open to it when the kiddo reaches the teen years though!

MyOwnWoman
09-04-2007, 02:43 PM
Working outside of hospital is different, but I am sure any nurse who has a reasonable amount of experience, common sense and the ability to think independantly would be fine. In fact I think that all nurses should at some time work outside of the safety of the hospital and actually see people in their own home environment. It is an extremely good leveller.


Boy, did you say a mouthful, and I agree, it would be a real eye opener.

jason1911
10-30-2014, 12:55 PM
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