Inside Home Health Aide Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Workers Not Caring Like They Should For The Patients...
I was surprised at the poor standards that the health care field has. I always thought that the workers would be supervised better than they are to make sure the patients receive the very best care that they possibly can." (CNA; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Health Care at Dalton State in Georgia; completed Certificate degree in 2006

"Attachment To Patients...
I was surprised at how attached I would become to my patients." (CNA; 2013)

Career: 14 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANT/PATIENT CARE TECH/UNIT CLERK at Chattanooga STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE in Tennessee; completed Certificate degree in 1999

"Compassion Is The Key To Success In This Field...
The most surprising aspect of a nursing assistant profession is the satisfaction you get from helping people. It is a lot of hard work, both physically and emotionally. But it is all worth it when someone benefits from the care and heals." (Certified Nursing Assistant; 2013)

Career: 25 years of experience, currently based in Maine, female
School: Studied Nursing at Kaiser Institute Of Technology in Florida; completed Certificate degree in 1986

"The Physical Demands...
When I was in school I did not fully grasp how physically demanding a job as a nurse aide would be. It requires you to be constantly alert and able to respond quickly to a changing situation. You do need to be able to communicate professionally with patients and co-workers constantly in order to ensure the patient is safe and satisfied. You will have to know how to use equipment properly and in a timely manner in order to accomplish all of the days tasks." (Nurse Aide; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Nurse Aide at A.W. Beattie Career Center in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2010

I was pushed into my career by parents who wanted a meaningful, secure job for me. I didn't think at first that I would come to enjoy my work, but my opinions have changed and I feel better as a person, helping people." (Orthopedic Nurse; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Geriatric, Orthopedic And Respiratory Nursing at SBB College in California; completed Diploma degree in 2011

"I was surprised that in working in someone else's home, how attached you can become with the person that you are mostly caring for. I enjoy spending time with them, and it doesn't even feel like I'm working; just like I'm spending the day with a good friend." (Home Care Assistant; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, female
School: Studied Homecare at Central Arizona College in Arizona; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Being A Home Health Aide Has Many Challenging Aspects...
I was surprised to find out that being a home health aide requires a lot of attention to detail and compromise. It is not as easy as you might think to go around to people's houses and perform tasks for them, such as helping bathe them and feed them. It is harder in a home setting because there are phones ringing, people coming over, and a lot of the patients don't want you to touch or go near certain areas of their home. I thought being a home health aide would just be basically checking up on them at home, but it is more detailed than that, and you have to learn to compromise with the patient and sometimes the families of the patient. I have had families come in the house and tell me how to do my job, when their way is not safe and often I cannot do because it requires things outside of my standard of care procedure." (PCA/Home Health Aide; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Allied Health/PCA/CNA at Grant Career Center Vocational School in Ohio; completed Certificate degree in 2006

"Interesting Field...
What surprised me about my area profession was that a lot of the clients are very nice and understand . Also some of the can be very rude and mean." (Nursing Assistant; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Rhode Island, female
School: Studied CNA at People In Partnerships , Eleanor Slater Hospital in Rhode Island; completed Certificate degree in 2007

"The one thing that surprised me the most about being a CNA was the number of jobs that are available. You can work in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living, and can even do home health care" (Certified Nursing Assistant; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Nursing Assistant at Columbia Health Care in South Carolina; completed Certificate degree in 2007

"I was surprised to find that my fellow students, some did not comprehend what tasks they would be asked to perform. I was surprised that during my training, I would be working under my instructors license and that any mistakes I made could come back on her." (Home Health Aide; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Vermont, male
School: Studied Licensed Nurse Assistant at River Valley Technical Center in Vermont; completed Certificate degree in 2012

"I was surprised that being an activities aide requires a lot of patience. As an Aide I need to be able to gain the trust of my co workers team to do my job." (Activities Aide; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Care Giving at Mohawk Valley Community College in New York; completed Certificate degree in 2010

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Direct Care Staff (Home Health Aide): "The nice thing about the job is that it allows you to work with and assist wonderful people who have wisdom and kindness to share. It also allows caregivers to share their best experiences and training tips at celebrations and trainings. The appreciation of clients and administration makes it a very worthwhile profession. The worst part of the job is writing up critical care incidents when a client gets injured, falls etc. You must be clear, concise, and detailed about what happened. It makes you tense, remorseful and accountable all at the same time. It is a lot of responsibility." (2011)

Home Health Aide: "The best part about being a Home Health Aide is the sense of fulfillment that you gain from working in this field. You feel like you are making a difference not only in someone's life, but also in the world, which in turn, makes you feel good about yourself. To be honest, it hardly ever feels like a "job", because I enjoy doing it. The downside of being a Home Health Aide is that you often grow very close to the patient and it really effects you when they eventually have to go into a hospice or, even worse, die." (2011)

Career Background

Home Health Aide

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Career Choices...
If you don't feel that this is your field , you can always choose another , don't feel bad . a lot of people start this profession and love it at first and some people dislike it . It is not for everyone." (Nursing Assistant; 2013)

"Nursing Is A Very Gratifying Field...
If you want a successful career in the nursing field, becoming a nursing assistant allows you to work in institutions or through agencies as well as privately. The work can be as variable as you want it to be." (Certified Nursing Assistant; 2013)

"Compassion And Patience Are Skills Any Home Health Aide Should Possess...
I would say that if you are not someone that has patience, being a home health aide is not for you. You have to learn how to be patient with both the patient/client and their families. You also need to have a compromising and compassionate demeanor, which also goes with the patience aspect, because sometimes you feel like just telling the patient off because he or she expects more out of you than you think you should be doing, and the same with the family aspect." (PCA/Home Health Aide; 2013)

"You Have To Really Want To Do It...
You have to have the heart to do this kind of job and really want to do it. It not for someone with a cold heart or weak stomach." (CNA; 2013)

"Uncaring Workers...
make sure you are willing to give 110% and make sure you are a people person and really care about the patients well being." (CNA; 2013)

"Know Your Vocabulary...
Make sure you understand all of the vocabulary and acronyms you will see on a daily basis in the nurse aide field. You want to pay special attention to the ones involving dietary orders. You have to serve and feed patients daily, and understanding their special requirements can mean the difference between life or death." (Nurse Aide; 2013)

"Eventually It Will Be Worth It...
Sometimes in the beginning you might regret your career choice, but as time goes by, you find that you really help people with what you do, and that is the most rewarding feeling of all." (Orthopedic Nurse; 2013)

"Elderly Require Patience...
Patience is always the number one thing to have when working with older people. As long as you're patient, have a smile on your face, and don't mind answering questions multiple times, you'll do a great job." (Home Care Assistant; 2013)

"Accept Death...
Even though you may become "attached" to a 'client", prepare yourself to the fact that everyone dies at some point in their life." (Home Health Aide; 2013)

"Are You Patient Enough...
I would make sure that if you are going into this career that you have plenty of patience. There are times that you will be working with patients with dementia, and others that just don't understand that you are just trying to help them. It takes a lot of patience to deal with these things." (Certified Nursing Assistant; 2013)

"A Few Tips For Home Health Aides...
1.) Decide if you are a people person who likes providing caregiver services to those that need patience, a gentle touch, and understanding. 2.) When possible, try volunteering at a nursing home or rehabilitation facility to see if this vocation is right for you. 3.) Thoroughly investigate the diversity of roles available in this line of work and their comparative salaries. 4.) Working as a Direct Care Staff (home health aide) could be a stepping stone to a nursing career for those seeking to elevate their skill level and increase their salary." (Direct Care Staff (Home Health Aide); 2011)

"Responsibility And Reliability A Must...
1) If you want to be a Home Health Aide, it is imperative that you have a genuine passion for helping others and that you are a patient, compassionate individual. 2) It is not only desirable, but also very wise to obtain a valid driver's license and current CPR certification. 3) Any Home Health Aide must be a reliable and responsible person that can be trusted. If not, you have no business being responsible for caring for an elderly person and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for them." (Home Health Aide; 2011)