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6 Things a Home Health Nurse Shouldn't Leave Home Without

Because home health care nurses travel from home to home in a typical week, they might encounter situations that most nurses won’t in a hospital or clinic setting.

Home health care nursing is a rewarding career because you’re providing one-on-one care to patients in their homes. In a typical week, nurses will administer medication, monitor and track a patient’s condition, assist with common daily activities and sometimes provide company to patients.

The demand for these nurses is growing – home health aides and personal nurses are expected to see a 34% employment increase from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although COVID-19 has changed the daily life of these professionals because of additional safety precautions for the nurse and patients, Home Health Care News predicts that the long term outlook for home health providers is brighter than ever. You can begin to pursue your career as a home health nurse by earning your associate of science in nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Because home health care nurses travel from home to home in a typical week, they might encounter situations that nurses won’t experience in a hospital or clinic setting. Here is a list of six things every home health nurse shouldn’t leave home without:

1. An extra pair of scrubs and shoes

Even if you’re careful to not get anything on your scrubs, things happen. You might spill water, get mud or pet fur on you that could potentially affect another patient that day who is allergic to animals. If you have an extra pair of scrubs in the car, you can quickly change before you go to visit your next patient or heading home. Even if you never use that extra pair of scrubs, it is always a great idea to have it available just in case!

2. A cooler

As a nurse, you know there will be days when you will have to eat on the run, so bringing a cooler with some food, a few snacks and beverages is always a good idea. You can fill this cooler with a combination of perishable food like fruits and vegetables as well as some canned fruits, granola bars and bottled drinks. It is a good idea to regularly replenish this supply. Although you might be busy, you need to make sure that you stay energized and hydrated during your shift.

3. Cash

Some of your patients might live in rural areas so it is always a good idea to have money along in addition to your credit/debit card. If you are at a store or gas station and you cannot use your card, you want to make sure that you can still get your supplies or gasoline. Chances are you won’t have to make many stops during your day, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

4. Extra supplies

You never know if you will need an extra pair of gloves, masks or dressing. Sometimes orders for supplies are missed or overlooked by accident, or supplies are misplaced within your patients’ home. You want to make sure that you are prepared for the unexpected so you can provide the best care for your patients.

5. Pen and paper

Be ready for paperwork! Even though you might be working in your patients’ home, you will still have a lot of papers and notes. Certain things must be documented for medical and financial reasons, but you also might want to take personal notes for yourself. Some of your patients will be elderly and might not have many visitors, so you might want to make a note of talking points for your next visit. Your patients might also want you to make a note for them to help remember to take their prescriptions or remember an appointment.

6. A full tank of gas

Sometimes your patients will live in rural areas so you never know if you will be able to fill up your gas tank if it is running on empty. The last thing that you would want is to get stranded with the inability to get home or to your next patient. Having a full tank also prevents you from having to stop in between patients’ homes if you are in a rush.

Are you interested in becoming a home health nurse? Here are three steps that can help you discover your nursing pathway!

  • Discover what nursing specialty is right for you. Deciding to become a nurse is a big life choice so you should always do lots of research beforehand. Furthermore, there are many nursing specialties to choose from. A great place to start is by looking up different types of nurses and doing background research. You might also consider taking this nursing quiz to help get you started!
  • Earn your nursing degree. Herzing offers a variety of degrees at different levels. We offer a nursing pathway from your diploma in practical nursing to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to your masters of science in nursing (MSN). Determine what the best program for you!
  • Talk with other nurses. It is a great idea to network to learn from nursing working in the field. They can give you valuable insights into what work looks like day to day, what challenges to expect and some inspirational tips to help get you through nursing school.

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Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography and degree field, affect career outcomes. Herzing does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salary.

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