The nursing industry is outpacing other industries in terms of jobs created. Contributing to that growth is our increased emphasis on preventative medicine, physician shortages, high rates of chronic conditions, and longer life spans. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing field will grow 15% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than other occupations.
This growth in the industry leads to an increased need for specialized nurses. An exciting, necessary, and impactful route you can take in the profession is home health nursing.
American Nurse Today stated, “Americans are living longer with complex health diseases and disorders. With appropriate home care, they can stay in their own homes rather than receive care in higher-cost settings. Home care generally is less expensive than inpatient care and services.”
Besides the tremendous growth in the industry, this career path offers many benefits to nurses, including a lucrative salary and autonomy.
What a Home Health Nurse Does
A home health nurse provides incredibly personalized patient care in a home setting and is an integral part of patient care. While the growth of this specialization may be attributed to people living longer, the attention provided by home health nurses is not only for aging adults.
Home health nurses use their skills to help people of all ages with various diseases and disabilities live their best, healthiest lives possible in their home. In fact, many work with children and their parents after the diagnosis of a disability or illness.
Despite the age group, home health nurse responsibilities include:
- Visiting patients at scheduled intervals.
- Performing vital checks and other routine evaluation tasks.
- Administering prescribed medication.
- Redressing wounds and assessing healing.
- Coordinating care with other health care professionals.
- Preparing treatment plans.
- Interacting with caretakers, instructing them to carry out basic treatment tasks.
- Making recommendations to improve treatment or quality of life.
- Addressing patient and caretaker concerns.
Home health nurses are extremely beneficial to patients and the health care industry, but the career is not without its share of benefits for nurses.
Perks of Home Health Nursing
Home health nursing is not an easy profession, but it’s also not without its perks. Here are just a few reasons to consider a career in this important area of nursing.
1. The Impact
There’s probably not a more personalized type of medicine than providing care in a patient’s home. Home health nurses can impact not just their patients, but caregivers and family members by guiding them through difficult situations. Plus, they help patients remain in a place where they’re comfortable as they navigate their illness or injury.
Nurses working in home health also get to know their patients deeply. Laura Silverstein, RN, BSN, WCC said, “I can sit with my patients and talk about the photographs on their walls, the numbers on their arm, what they’re cooking on the stove, the work they did ‘before,’ the origin of their last name, their garden, their dog, their paintings, or their piano.
“Of course, I discuss their medical history, but only after we have made friends.”
The opportunity to build a lasting relationship with someone going through a hard time gets to the heart of what most nurses set out to do – care.
2. The Autonomy
Home health nurses work primarily on their own without someone looking over their shoulder. They must make many choices autonomously and have the independence to do what they believe is right for patients. When working in home health care, nurses take control of situations and make choices without much or any discussions with other clinicians. This autonomy leads to the next perk of a career in home health care, the challenge.
Advance Your Nursing Career
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3. The Challenge
Home health nurses often see a variety of illnesses and injuries. Sometimes, they aren’t fully aware of what the status of their patient will be when they walk into a home. Furthermore, working in such an autonomous way presents a unique set of challenges.
Dealing with family members and caretakers of various skill levels gives nurses the challenge of teaching and leading in the home setting. Communication skills are pivotal to success as a home health care nurse. Many nurses with advanced degrees find this area of nursing meets their desire to be continually challenged. The complex work keeps nurses sharp and ready to think on their feet.
4. The Salary
The salary that home health nurses make proves that you don’t have to have a boring job to make a good living. According to Glassdoor, home health RNs make an average base pay of $69,270 a year, with the highest paid making up to $91,000 a year. For a job that offers so much autonomy and makes such an impact on lives, the home health nurse salary is a great added perk to home health nursing.
Nurses with a BSN can expect to earn more than those with an associate-level degree. In fact, depending on the field, RNs can earn up to $30,000 more a year with a bachelor’s degree. Those who go on to earn their master’s degree can expect even more monetary gains in all fields of nursing.
5. The Potential
The salary for home health nurses grows with more education, but what career opportunities open? Given the autonomy of nurses in the field and the varying settings they work in, nurse managers and leaders are especially important in the home health care specialty. Many nurses working in home health roles move into nurse manager positions to oversee nurses and help provide the guidance and support they need to improve their patients’ lives.
Nurse managers ensure the delivery of quality nursing care by hiring a skilled nursing staff and ensuring they provide care that meets and exceeds professional standards. The importance of maintaining a team environment where a nurse feels supported is amplified when so much of the work is done away from physical support. Nurse managers in home health care must be available to nurses in unique situations and knowledgeable in many areas of health care.
According to Indeed, the salary for a nurse manager can get as high as $145,000 annually, but the true perk undoubtedly is the difference a manager in home health care can make in the lives of fellow nurses and patients.
Interested in becoming a leader in home health nursing? Consider Notre Dame of Maryland University’s online RN to BSN program. Nurses earning a bachelor’s degree can apply what they learn to their home health career to provide top-notch care to diverse patients. In the NDMU program, you’ll develop the skills you need to enhance your nursing skills quickly. Most students complete their online program in 15 to 18 months.