Inside Home Nurse Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Nursing Is Far More Than Just Dispersing Medication, Sometimes Your Heart Takes Over...
Although I consider myself a compassionate and caring person, I am somewhat surprised at how attached I am to my residents. I think about them when I'm not working with them on my days off and wonder if my co-workers are providing the same level of care I provide. Some of my co-workers seem to get a little too comfortable with our residents in that they forget the rules of cleanliness and cross contamination. Even though we might get close to our residents we still need to follow general hand washing." (Certified Nurse Assistant; 2013)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Arkansas, female
School: Studied Nurse Assisting at Waubonsee Community College in Illinois; completed Certificate degree in 2000

"Gross And Revolting People...
The amount of work and care involved. At first I was overwhelmed by the amount of graphic and awkward experiences that I had but it does get easier. Of course in nursing there will always be hard times though." (RN; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Nursing at IUP in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Over-Rated Shortages, Nursing Specialties, & Transferring Credits...
I was surprised that there are nursing specialties and in order to get into one then a person has to do a med-surg. I was surprised that RN do not as get as many job offers as LPN and the shortage is over-rated. It is difficult for me to find a job without experience and going just on schooling. I feel like volunteering somewhere to get experience. I would make sure credits transfer to most 4 year institutions. Many courses I had to take over in working toward my bachelors degree since credits did not transfer." (Nurse; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Nebraska, female
School: Studied Science at Southeast Community College in Nebraska; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Chart Everything...
The amount of paperwork required for a single patient on even an uneventful day is astounding. College didn't really prepare me for the level of detail and the legal importance of accurate, current, and specific charting." (Home Health Nurse; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, female
School: Studied Nursing at Calhoun Community College in Alabama; completed Associate degree in 2009

"Further Your Nursing Career...
I was surprised at how much education would be required to further my career, to get my RN degree. There are so many programs out there that offer to help and make it easy but it really isn't. With having a family and full time work it leaves very little time to study and go to school. I was also surprised at how many different types of jobs are available for LPNs. I originally wanted to be a special education teacher but things didn't quite work out for me to do that. I have found a job where I can do nursing (which I do enjoy) but at the same time fulfill my desire to work with special needs individuals. One more thing that I was surprised about was the lack of benefits offered for nurses unless you work in a hospital or nursing home. Many home care agencies do not offer health insurance or vacation or paid time off." (Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN); 2014)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Nursing at Ivy Tech State College in Indiana; completed Certificate degree in 2000

"Misunderstanding Of Duties...
I am surprised by how many people think my profession is a sitter service, when it is anything but that. Patients would get so mad at me because I told them I am unable to go to the store for them." (Home Health Nurse; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Nursing at San Jacinto College in Texas; completed Associate degree in 2005

"Patient Dedication...
What surprised me the most about nursing is the dedication to your patients that you develop. When I first started, I never realize how close I would become with my patients, and how important their health and well being would become to me." (Certified Nurses Aide; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Certified Nurses Aide at Indiana County Technology Center in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2009

"The Amount Of Red-Tape And Bureaucracy Involved In Caring For Patients...
I was taken aback by the amount of red tape involved with caring for patients. Many don't get the help they need because of insurance issues. I was also concerned with the lack of empathy from many doctors." (LVN; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Practical Nursing at Bakersfield College in California; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"A Quality Education Makes A Good Nurse...
I was surprised at how different nursing education is from place to place. Working as a home health nurse it is vitally important to maintain standards and be personally responsible for one's own practice, as there is often not a lot of oversight. I all the time hear instructor's words in my head, guiding my nursing practice, keeping my ethical and responsible and helping me be a good nurse. Some of the nurses I've worked with don't seem to have been prepared the same way." (LPN/LVN; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Washington, female
School: Studied Vocational Nursing at North Orange County ROP in California; completed Certificate degree in 2007

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Home Care Nurse: "I am always thrilled when I see a client, or their family members, smile. Seeing someone grasp the ideas to make care easier for everyone involved is exciting. I think the best part of this job is giving people the hope and tools they need to carry on for another day. The worst part of the job is often seeing a client need to be institutionalized or, even worse, die. This is a job that leads to an emotional attachment that can cause great joy or great pain." (2011)

Visiting Nurse: "The best part of my job is the people I care for. I enjoy helping people and teaching them to take care of themselves and then speaking with the physicians, sharing information about their patients and coordinating patient care. This type of nursing is also more flexible than others, which makes it ideal for those with families to care for. The only thing I really dislike about my job is the amount of paperwork required. Everything I do and say has to be documented." (2010)

Home Care Nurse: "The best parts of my job are the hours and the special relationship I have with my client and family. I told the family the hours and days I am available to work and then we fine tuned what I could provide. I do not work weekends unless I switch with the weekend nurse. I truly cannot think of a bad part of my job. But I would not accept a client who is in a medical condition I could not handle or a family situation I wasn't comfortable with." (2010)

Registered Nurse: "The best part of the job is the satisfaction I get knowing I am keeping this child safe and healthy at home. It is knowing that the parents trust me to care for their child. It is also being able to provide a somewhat normal life for a child who would otherwise be institutionalized. The worst part of the job is knowing that someday my time with this child and family will be through. Also, in this line of work, most children have a poor prognosis and never actually improve." (2009)

Career Background

Home Nurse

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  How to Prepare for the Job
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Career Tips

"Suck It Up Cause It Only Gets Worse...
Nursing requires a lot of man hours and commitment. If you do not want to see or cant handle blood, bodily fluids, or extreme injuries, than don't pursue this career. This isn't for the faint hearted or squeamish." (RN; 2014)

"Know What You Want To Do...
I would advise student nurses to know before starting their education whether they want to be an LPN or go directly for their RN. It would have been helpful for me if someone had let me know that it can be more difficult to further my education while working." (Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN); 2014)

"RN To BS Make Sure Credits Transfer...
I would research specialties and concentrate on developing an education conducive to that specialty. I would meet with an adviser more often. I would make sure credits transfer to most 4 year institutions. Many courses I had to take over in working toward my bachelors degree since credits did not transfer." (Nurse; 2014)

"Memorize Medications...
It may seem like a lot of work in school but memorizing medications, especially their purpose and side effects is critical for working in the field. The nurse is the last line of defense for a patient and if you are giving the medications you will be responsible for how they effect the patient." (Home Health Nurse; 2013)

"Always Keep Learning...
No one is responsible for the lives of your patients but you once you are out in the 'real world' so pay attention and really learn what you are being taught. Don't just study to pass the test, because you are the one who will pay when you are out there on your own. Always assume that you have something more to learn, even after you are out of school." (LPN/LVN; 2013)

"Don't Do It...
Don't get into home health. Too many shady people trying to one up the system. I have seen so much Medicare fraud, that its not funny. The home health industry, is where all of the good nurses go when they don't care anymore." (Home Health Nurse; 2013)

"Become An RN Instead Of An LPN/LVN...
It is better to take the extra semester to become an RN; the pay is about double and there are more job opportunities." (LVN; 2013)

"Career Satisfaction...
Nursing is a very demanding career, but it is also very rewarding. If you're looking for something to bring you immense personal satisfaction, this is one of the best careers to involve yourself in." (Certified Nurses Aide; 2013)

"You Really Need To Have A Tender Heart And A Passion To Help Others...
You will get a lot of satisfaction when working with others, in that they become your family." (Certified Nurse Assistant; 2013)

"Sense Of Humor Helps...
I think you need the ability to be sympathetic, without becoming empathetic, with those people looking to you for guidance and care. A sense of humor is also a must, as is a good support system for yourself outside of your circle of coworkers. In each new case, you must have a plan for the day and be prepared to repeat even the most mundane teachings until your clients are capable of performing necessary care in your absence." (Home Care Nurse; 2011)

"Need Clinical Experience First...
1. I would strongly advise you to have what the industry calls "strong clinical experience" before taking a job as a visiting nurse. This means working in a hospital for experience because as a visiting nurse you need to be able to work independently. 2. As with all nursing jobs, you need to be flexible and ready for change at a moment's notice. 3. Take advantage of any opportunity to increase your education and experience. There are a lot of opportunities for continuing your education and many of these will make you a better nurse and care giver." (Visiting Nurse; 2010)

"Work In Other Nursing Jobs Before Home Nursing...
I recommend working in a hospital or nursing home setting before becoming a home care nurse. A new nurse needs to build confidence, assessment and leadership skills that are needed in a home setting." (Home Care Nurse; 2010)

"Start In A Hospital Setting...
For anyone who would like to pursue a career in pediatric home care, I would suggest working in a hospital setting for at least two years. You need to gain experience in a variety of situations with many different diagnoses and treatments in order to have the skills and confidence to function independently. Excellent communication skills are a must. Caring and compassion are also a requirement. You must be able to care for your patient but also take into consideration the needs of the family as well. A sense of humor is important too!" (Registered Nurse; 2009)