home health nurse

Home Health Nursing Overview and Information

Home health care allows the patient and his family to maintain dignity and independence. According to the National Home Care Association, there are more than 7 million people in the United States who need home health nursing services due to acute illness, long-term health problems, permanent disability, or terminal illness. .

Home Health Care Basics

Nurses practice in various settings: hospital settings, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health care. Home nursing is a growing phenomenon as more patients and their families wish to receive care at home. The history of home health care stems from public health nursing, where public health nurses made home visits to promote health education and provide treatment as part of community outreach programs. Currently, academic programs train nurses in home care, and agencies place home health care nurses with sick individuals and their families, based on the experience and qualifications of the nurse. In many cases there is a shared relationship between the agency and the academic institution.

There have been many changes in the realm of home health care. These include Medicare and Medicaid, and long-term care insurance reimbursement and documentation. It is important that the nurse and the nursing agency are aware of the many factors involved in these rules and regulations resulting from these organizations. Demographic and demographic changes are also taking place. Baby boomers are approaching retirement and will present new challenges for the home health care industry. Technology and medical care in hospitals has led to a shorter hospital stay and more rehabilitation at home. There are also increases in outpatient medical procedures with follow-up home care. This has resulted in the decline in the mortality rate from these technologies and healthcare has led to an increase in morbidity and chronic diseases that make the need for nursing home healthcare a higher priority.

Home Health Care Nurse Job Description

Through a variety of skills and experience, home health nurses specialize in a wide range of treatments; emotional support, education of patients recovering from illness and injury for young children and adults, women who have had a recent delivery, the elderly in need of palliative care for chronic diseases.

A practicing nurse must have the skills to provide care in a unique setting, such as someone’s home. The nurse is working with the patient and the family and must understand the communication skills for such dynamics. Rapport is evident in all nursing positions, but working in a patient’s own living space requires a different level of skill and understanding. There is autonomous decision-making, as the nurse no longer works as a team with other nurses in a structured environment, but is now part of the “family” team. The host family has cultural values ​​that are important and different for each patient and must be treated with extreme sensitivity. Other skills include critical thinking, coordination, evaluation, communication, and documentation.

Home health nurses also specialize in caring for children with disabilities that require additional skills such as patience and understanding of family needs. Children today live with disabilities that would have resulted in mortality only twenty years ago. Genetic disorders, congenital physical deficiencies, and injuries are just a few. Many families are familiar with managing a child’s needs, but still need expert care that only a home health nurse can provide. It is important for a home health nurse to learn about the family’s experience of the child’s condition for proper care of the child. There are many complexities involved, but most importantly, a positive attitude and positive reinforcement are of the utmost importance to a child’s development.

Coordination of medication between the home health nurse, physician, and pharmacist ensures proper handling of the exact science behind giving the patient the correct dose, timing, and combinations. Home health care nurses must be familiar with pharmacology and receive training on the different medications used by patients in the clinical setting.

Many advanced nurse practitioners are familiar with medication regimens. They have completed graduate programs. Home health care agencies believe that a nurse must have at least one year of clinical experience before entering home health care. Advanced Nurse Practitioners can accelerate that training by helping new nurses understand the market and teaching of home health care.

Employment and salary

According to the United States Department of Labor, there were 2.4 million nurses in the United States, the largest healthcare occupation; however, many academic and hospital organizations believe that there is a severe shortage of nursing staff. The nurse shortage was 6% in 2000 and is expected to be 10% in 2010. The average salary for hospital nursing is $ 53,450 with 3 out of 5 nursing jobs in the hospital. For home health care, the salary is $ 49,000. For nursing facilities, they were the lowest at $ 48,200.

Training and continuing education

Most home health care nurses obtain their education through accredited nursing schools across the country with an associate degree in nursing (ADN), a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), or a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2004 there were 674 BSN nursing programs, 846 DNA programs. In addition, in 2004, there were 417 master’s programs, 93 doctoral programs, and 46 joint BSN-doctoral programs. The associate degree program takes 2-3 years to complete, while the bachelor’s degrees take 4 years to complete. Nurses can also earn specialized professional certificates online in geriatric care or life care planning.

Additionally, for those nurses who choose to advance to administrative or research, consulting, and teaching positions, a bachelor’s degree is often essential. A bachelor’s degree is also important for becoming a clinical nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners (US Department of Labor, 2004).

All home health care nurses have supervised clinical experience during their training, but as noted above, advanced nurse practitioners have master’s degrees and, unlike bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, have a minimum of two years of post experience. clinic. Course work includes anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, psychology, and behavioral science and liberal arts. Many of these programs have training in nursing homes, public health departments, home health agencies, and outpatient clinics. (US Department of Labor, 2004).

Whether a nurse is training in a hospital, nursing facility, or home care, continuing education is necessary. Healthcare is changing rapidly and keeping up with the latest developments improves patient care and health procedures. Colleges, continuing education programs, and Internet sites offer continuing education. One such organization that offers continuing education is the American Nurses Association (ANA) or through the American Nurse Accreditation Center (ANCC).


There are many rewards for becoming a home health nurse. Some rewards include the relationship with the patient and his family, autonomy, independence and participation in critical thinking. The 21st century brings with it many opportunities and challenges. We must meet these challenges head-on: There is an aging baby boom population, a growing morbidity factor due to the rise of medical technology and patient care, and the growing shortage of nursing care.

Becoming a home health nurse today is exciting and an opportunity to make a difference one life at a time. With clinical experience and proper education, a home health care nurse will lead the future of health care.

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