Home health care nurses work with patients who need daily help from medical professionals, but who opt to live at home rather than in long-term care facilities. This includes both elderly patients and patients from all age groups dealing with long-term medical conditions.
As a home health care nurse, you’ll be on the road a lot, so this is a good job for nurses who enjoy traveling. Many patients need help with certain tasks, yet are still well enough to live at home alone or with family members. Your job will be to travel to these patients’ homes to help them with things like bathing and personal hygiene, administering medicine, and checking vital signs to ensure that the patient is still health enough to remain living at home. Your job could also include educating patients and their families and recommending patients see a doctor if their condition worsens.
Salary and Career Options
The average salary for a home health care nurse was $58,740 as of May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a home health care nurse, you’ll likely work with patients who live in a single area and are dealing with a number of different medical conditions, but in some opportunities, you can specialize in one area of medicine, which allows you to earn more money as a nurse. You can also earn more money by living in a high-need location.
Because you’ll work so independently as a home health care nurse, most agencies require that you are an RN and hire few LPNs. Becoming an RN means that you earn at least an associate’s degree, though some RNs earn bachelor’s degree, which allows you to go on to get your master’s degree or even doctorate in nursing. Many home health care nurses also require you to have experience as a nurse at a medical facility before you apply, and some require you to be certified in home health care with the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
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