What is a Home Healthcare Nurse?

A home healthcare nurse is a type of specialized nurse who offers medical care for patients in their own homes. Traditional nurses work in hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities to provide care under the supervision of one or more doctors working on staff. Home nurses still work under the guidance of licensed doctors, but are responsible for administering medications and monitoring patients as they live at home. They usually have the same background as other nurses do and may work with multiple patients every day or week.

What Backgrounds Do They Have?

Whether you want to work as a home care nurse, an emergency room or an oncology nurse, you cannot start your career until you go to college. Many community colleges offer Licensed Practical Nurse programs, but many of those nurses work in retirement or nursing homes. Many traditional colleges and some community colleges offer Registered Nurse programs that will help you better prepare for caring for your patients at home. Once you complete all your classes and do the clinical rotations required by your program, you must sit for the NCLEX examination. Nurses cannot work in the United States without first passing that test and obtaining their nursing licenses.

Do They Have Any Special Certificates?

Even after passing the NCLEX test, you will still need a few other things before you can work as a home healthcare nurse. The first of those is your nursing license. You must visit the local police department, submit your fingerprints and grant the department authorization to do a criminal background check on you. Once the state receives word that you passed the exam and the background check, it will officially grant you a nursing license. Home care nurses may also need certification. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers certification for professionals working in this nursing field.

How Much Do They Make?

According to the Campaign for Nursing’s Future by Johnson & Johnson, the average salary among these nurses ranges from around $39,000 to around $55,000 a year. The amount you can expect to make depends on whether you have your certification, where you live, how much experience you have and the demand for nurses. Larger cities like Miami, San Francisco and New York City often pay nurses more because there is a greater demand and because the cost of living in those areas is so high.

What Do They Do?

Medication administration is just one of the duties of a home healthcare nurse. Not only do they ensure that patients take the right type and amount of medication every day, but they also make sure that patients do not suffer any reactions to those meds. They report back to the patient’s primary doctor about what they witnessed every day. Nurses can also assist in emergencies. Most home nurses provide daily care to patients but work with two or more patients daily. Unlike home healthcare aids, nurses do not assist with cleaning patients, preparing meals or running errands.

Related Resource: Become a Nurse Midwife

Not all nurses like working in the same hospital or facility every day. Some prefer the freedom of working with multiple patients and providing care to them in their own homes. A home healthcare nurse must have a college degree and a nursing license from the state, but they may also have a home healthcare certificate too.