Become a Home Health Nurse

In home health nursing jobs you will work one on one with your patients, caring for them in their own homes. Home health nurses are licensed registered nurses with a minimum of one year hospital or clinical experience who deliver planned individualistic care.

Home Health Nurse Philosophy

At an individual patient level, the objective of a home health nurse is to deliver care to a standard as equal to that which the patient would receive in a healthcare facility. Overall a home health nurse is part of an ethic which is a holistic approach to healthcare in a community, sector of the population or a particular care group which allows patients with long term illnesses to remain in their own homes and still receive the full range of care that they need.

The philosophy of home health care is:

  • Provision of quality, culturally sensitive care for people in their own homes
  • Promotion and maintenance of healthy, safe independent living
  • Rehabilitation to enable independent living
  • A coordinated approach to a hospital discharge enabling a seamless service in order to improve health outcomes
  • Reduction in admission and readmission
  • Reduce ill health and promote healthy lifestyles
  • Increase efficiency in resource use

Education and Expected Salary

To become a home health nurse you must first gain your license as a registered nurse. To do this you will need to have studied a degree at a nursing school. There is a choice between a two year associate degree and a four year baccalaureate degree. Both will give you the necessary tools to enable you to sit the exam for the NCLEX-RN. Once you have been licensed you will need to find work in a hospital or clinical setting. The wider the experience you can gain the better because of the nature of home health care but a minimum of 12 months is required (although this may differ by state).

There are opportunities to become further qualified by studying for and gaining certificates for niche subjects like geriatrics or life care planning. Continuing education is a must as a home health nurse. You need to stay informed about new drugs and treatments and also changes and approaches in the way home care is delivered.

As a home health nurse you can expect to earn salaries equivalent to RNs elsewhere and will vary according to state and demand and level of qualification. You’ll earn in the range $55,000 to $80,000.

Scope of Home Health Nurse Jobs

The US is undergoing a healthcare revolution and Medicare and Medicaid as well as home help insurance is making home care much more accessible. There is an increasing demand for home healthcare nurses. The changes in the way care is delivered and the changes in population which is both aging and increasing means the opportunities for qualified skilled home health nurses will continue to grow.

As a home health nurse you may supervise home health aides. You may also work to become a senior home health nurse who is responsible for directing a number of subordinate RNs or you may choose to become a case manager. In addition, home health agency administrators or supervisors are some of the jobs that some home health nurses aspire to.

Roles of a Home Health Nurse

Home health nursing has to be among the most varied of all healthcare jobs. The range of conditions home care patients have runs the entire gamut of anything that can be treated outside of a healthcare facility. A home health nurse typically visits 8-10 patients a day and each patient will have a different need and the next day’s patients will be different again.

The duties of a home health nurse will include the following:

  • Wound management
  • Acute and chronic disease management
  • Palliative care
  • Assessment of nursing requirements
  • Technical nursing tasks – syringes, drugs delivery, and drips
  • Education of the patient and other direct care givers and family
  • Referrals or requesting admission to hospital

If you are a good communicator, have a passion for working with people and are good at building relationships, being a home health nurse might be the perfect job for you.


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