Home health nursing is a great fit for registered nurses who enjoy helping others maintain some independence and autonomy by allowing recovery in their home instead of a medical facility. Additionally, this type of nurse works in nursing homes and with hospice organizations to provide ongoing support to patients and families. Home health nursing generally requires a degree in nursing and specialty training courses to be completed before an RN can certify for this position. As a specialty career option, home health is a lucrative opportunity with a stable future.
What is Home Health Nursing?
Home health nursing is a specialty career for registered nurses who desire to work in the homes of patients. Also responsible for supervising other home health assistants, this type of nurse is responsible for assisting sick, disabled, and elderly patients with tasks that they are unable to accomplish themselves. A home health nurse provides a number of services to their patients, including medication dosing, cleaning and changing bandages, bathing assistance, physical therapy, talk therapy, end of life activities, and more. The Home Health Nurses Association and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice are professional organizations which provide resources and support to nurses with a career in this specialty. Existing hospice nurses, aides, and registered nurses can easily enter a career in home health nursing with some additional training.
Nursing School Curriculum for Home Health Nursing
Home health care nurses must obtain a minimum degree and become licensed registered nurses before entering the profession. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the most common prerequisite for this career option. This specialty career also provides room for growth for those with a master’s degree that choose to become a home health care clinical specialist. Simple certifications in specific areas of home health nursing can lead to more lucrative and fulfilling career options for some. Classes and training needed to become a home health nurse vary depending on any special licensing the student required.
In general, the following classes are necessary:
- All BSN or MSN Academic Requirements (Math, Language, Sciences, etc.)
- All Registered Nursing Courses and Clinic Requirements
- In-home Hazard Training
- Ethics of home nursing and hospice nursing
- Management and Supervision of Medical Aides
Home health care nurses are also required to continue their educational efforts during the course of their career in this field. Continuing education (CE) classes are required for all types of nurses, but many CE credit courses are specifically targeted to home and hospice nursing professionals.
Examples of CE courses for this career include:
- Non-traditional Pain Management
- Uncommon Prescription Medication Interactions
- Physical Therapy
- Mental Disability Challenges Management
- Physical Disability Challenges and Management
- End of Life and Advance Directive Challenges
Careers for Nursing School Graduates with Home Health Nursing Specialty
Home health nurses work in a number of settings and at varying schedules. Some choose to work full-time for home-bound patients with long-term illnesses including physical or mental disabilities, advanced illnesses, and age-related disabilities. Others choose to work with short-term recovery patients and critical patients who have been released to their home under the care of hospice. Still, there are opportunities for home health nurses in the genres of medical assisted living facilities, as live-in caregivers, and other similar permanent positions.
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