A Day in the Life of a Home Health Nurse

NursingApril 11, 2019

Interested in becoming a home health nurse? Curious about what an average day on the job might look like? Dr. Joyce Errico, Dean of Nursing at Fortis College, shares her insight into this impactful career: 

Cases and Schedules Vary

Home health nurses can pick up as many shifts (“cases”) as they want and cases often vary. “One patient may only need sporadic visits during the week to treat and change bandages for wounds, whereas a post-op patient will need everyday home care,” says Dr. Errico. “It is common for these nurses to work with multiple cases on any given day.” On average, home health nurses see each case once a week, but they visit each case approximately three times a week. “One patient might only need one hour of care, while another requires eight.”  

Oftentimes, home health nurses have special skills and areas of expertise. For example, a home health nurse who has experience with diabetes will likely work with a diabetic who needs help learning how to give themselves insulin shots and monitor blood sugar.

Provide All-Encompassing Care

Home health nurses work with patients who are not yet able to care for themselves. “A home health nurse may be needed to assess a patient’s health after they have been released from a hospital, teach follow-up care, heal wounds, give baths, assist with meal planning, or instruct patients and their families on how to monitor progress.” The relationship created with each patient is often a home health nurse’s favorite part of the job.

Work Independently, Think Critically

In addition to providing direct patient care, home health nurses enjoy working independently. “They need to be able to think critically,” says Dr. Errico. “Doctors are not present when these nurses work, so the nurses must have strong assessment skills and be detail oriented.”

Become Members of the Family

For many patients and their families, home health nurses are more than medical professionals: they are caretakers, teachers and extended family members. “For many patients, a home health nurse is their go-to person; a phone call may be made to the nurse at any given time.” These nurses spend a significant amount of time building a rapport with patients, bonding and teaching them how to better care for themselves. 

Fortis offers a variety of nursing programs at several campus locations in Florida (Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Pensacola and Port St. Lucie), Indiana (Indianapolis), Ohio (Centerville, Cincinnati, Cuyahoga Falls, Columbus), South Carolina (Columbia), Tennessee (Nashville), Utah (Salt Lake City), and Virginia (Norfolk and Richmond), or through the Denver College of Nursing. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this healthcare field, check out our programs or call 1-855-436-7847 for more information. 

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