Today, nursing students can explore various career paths within healthcare. Home healthcare is one option that often goes overlooked.
Hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes are the traditional choices for patient care. Currently, home healthcare services are becoming a preferred option for many people.
Students should consider learning the business by working for an agency and building a solid reputation that can launch an independent contracting business.
According to Home Healthcare News, approximately 1 million new home healthcare jobs will sprout by 2028, spurred by the rising population of aging baby boomers. This mirrors a broader industry trend, with a projected 9% job growth rate for RNs between 2020 and 2030, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
Advantages Of Home Healthcare Career
As more seniors choose to age at home, home healthcare has become a priority for many families and communities. By earning your online geriatric nurse practitioner degree, you can explore the world of senior care. Let’s take a closer look at a few benefits for nursing students of beginning a career in home healthcare.
Flexibility and independence
Students could consider a home healthcare career for its great flexibility.
Working in a hospital or clinic setting requires a rigid patient routine with additional administrative responsibilities. However, home healthcare allows nurses to plan their schedules. They can work directly with patients in the comfort of their homes. This freedom opens avenues for effective and personalized approaches to patient care. The nurses can focus exclusively on patients’ needs and build meaningful connections with them.
Holistic patient care
Home healthcare allows nursing students to engage in holistic patient care. Nurses can better understand patients’ unique circumstances, lifestyles, and support systems by working closely with them in their environments. It allows them to provide complete patient care that fulfills patients’ physical needs and emotional and social well-being.
Nursing students get the opportunity to feel the real-time impact of their care on patients’ lives. Thus, their nursing career becomes more rewarding and fulfilling.
Diverse patient population
Working in home healthcare exposes nursing students to diverse patients, each with distinct medical conditions and care requirements. From caring for the elderly and individuals with chronic illnesses to pediatric patients with special needs, home healthcare presents an opportunity to develop a broad skill set and adapt to different situations. This diversity enriches nursing students’ professional growth and provides valuable experience across various healthcare settings.
Continuity of care
Patients often experience frequent transitions between providers and departments in traditional healthcare settings. Home healthcare allows nursing students to forge long-term fraternal relationships with their patients. They become like a caring family member in the patient’s life, providing much-needed care, affection, and support for longer. This continuity of care fosters trust and rapport and allows nursing students to witness firsthand the progression and improvement of their patient’s health.
Career growth opportunities
The growing demand for home healthcare services means that nursing students who choose this career path can expect abundant job opportunities. Home healthcare agencies, private practices, and community health organizations often seek dedicated and skilled nurses to care in patients’ homes. Moreover, home healthcare experience can open doors to leadership roles, specialized positions, or even entrepreneurship in the future. Nursing students can be at the forefront of an evolving field with ample chances for growth and advancement.
Nursing students often consider hospitals and clinics as their primary career options. However, home healthcare offers an exciting and rewarding path worth exploring.
How To Become A Home Healthcare Nurse
The path of a nurse is not necessarily confined to the walls of a hospital. Their knowledge and skills find utility in various settings, including the comfort of patients’ homes.
In the home environment, nurses provide one-on-one care to patients. This is a rewarding opportunity for nurses and a more personalized and individual approach to patient care.
Much like nurses at hospitals, home health nurses shoulder a wide array of responsibilities. The role of home nurses is multifaceted, from administering medication and assisting with daily activities to taking vitals and monitoring patient condition alterations.
They could be supporting the elderly grappling with chronic diseases or helping someone recover post-accident or surgery.
Home healthcare nursing could be an ideal fit for those who thrive in dynamic environments and are drawn to less conventional clinical settings. Are you considering this career route? Below are three key steps to help you actualize this ambition:
- Acquire a degree.
- Secure licensure
- Amass experience
Pursue a nursing degree
The initial step towards becoming a home health nurse is a nursing degree. Different employers might stipulate distinct prerequisites concerning education and experience. Nurses holding a practical nursing diploma, nursing associate degree, or nursing bachelor’s degree are all potential candidates for home health nursing roles.
A nursing degree may not directly make you a home healthcare nurse, but it will endow you with the skills needed for your responsibilities.
A registered nurse (RN) with an ASN or BSN has greater autonomy and can provide holistic patient care.
With a diploma, you can transition into a licensed practical nurse (LPN), skilled in task-oriented nursing care—a significant facet of home healthcare.
There’s also an option for home health nurses to hone their skills in specific areas, such as:
- Mental health
- Community/public health
Before deciding on the degree to pursue, exploring the educational prerequisites is advisable. Also, it would be best to learn about the requirements of your preferred job application destinations.
Upon securing your degree, your next step would be to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) or Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Passing this licensure exam is crucial for your career as a nurse. However, additional requirements fluctuate between states and specialties. Researching your state’s licensing requirements for home healthcare is paramount.
Some employers might require work experience before considering you for a home health nursing position.
Prior exposure to a healthcare setting like a hospital, nursing home, or clinic can make you a more appealing candidate.
Although not universally required, gaining experience in other nursing roles can endow you with valuable insights and skills for your future career.
A home career nursing is an attractive choice with wider career growth opportunities. Unlike jobs in hospitals, this career path offers greater independence and flexibility.
Home healthcare offers a mixed bundle of challenges and opportunities for nursing students to provide life support to their patients. At the same time, home nursing can be more rewarding and fulfilling.