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Why you should change to home health nursing (and how to make it happen)

home health nurse sitting with elderly patient

If you’re feeling unfulfilled at work, you may want to look into home health nursing. The change could be just what you need to help you feel excited and challenged by your job again. You’ll have more independence and flexibility in your work, opportunities for learning and growth, and be able to deliver holistic and personalized care to your patients. Not only that, you may find that the typical hours a home health nurse works will bring some much-needed balance back to your life.

5 reasons to choose home health nursing

Change can be scary, but it’s a lot less scary when you’ve done your research and know what you stand to gain. Here are five reasons to switch to home health nursing.

1. More personalized care and deeper patient relationships

Once in the home, the nurse-to-patient ratio is an incredible one-to-one. At last, you can take time to truly get to know your patients as whole and complete individuals.

2. Work with patients in their own homes

As a home health nurse, you get to visit your patients in their homes. You see the pictures on their walls and learn their family stories. Your interactions are just going to be more personal. Each day is as unique and distinct as your patient. 

graphic 5 reasons to choose home health

3. More autonomy

You can always call for help if you need to, but for the most part, you’re in charge. You analyze the situation and make the decisions you think are best. You aren’t just another cog in the hospital wheel.

4. Less demanding than a hospital job

Many nurses work the marathon 12-hour shift, and often overnight. As a home health nurse, your hours are often more reasonable.

5. More schedule flexibility for better work/life balance

Home health nurses often end the day less drained than other nurses — and with more time on their hands to pursue other interests.

home health nurse with pediatric patient

How to become a home health nurse

Becoming a home health nurse requires a combination of education, licensure, and personal qualities. You may be able to check off some of the boxes already.

Obtain certification

While not always required, getting certified as a home health nurse gives you more options. Consider earning the Certified Home Health Nurse (CHHN) credential through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Develop specialized skills and gain experience

Home health nurses need additional skills like wound care, medication management, and proficiency in various medical devices. You gain these skills through on-the-job training, workshops, and additional coursework. And in most cases, your employer will be looking for at least two years of clinical experience.

Qualify for necessary clearances

Some home health agencies may require background checks, drug tests, and other clearances before you can work with patients in their homes.

Reasons to consider travel nursing in home health

Variety and autonomy at work. Better work/life balance. These are good motivations for becoming a home health nurse. But they might be even better motivations for becoming a home health travel nurse.

Jen Newman quote on home health nursing

According to Jen Newman, a senior recruiter at RNnetwork, to become a home health travel nurse you must have:   

  • A full year of experience already working as a full-time home health nurse within the last three years.
  • Experience working with geriatric patients on Medicare
  • Experience with Oasis, the standardized assessment model for Medicare

“The market is shifting toward being more like a home health market for travel contracts versus hospital acute because the hospitals are relying on Medicare funding,” Newman says. “Also, most contracts for home health travel nurses include a guarantee of hours, which is a huge benefit.”

Home health nursing may just be the career path for you

Home health nursing is a rewarding career path, perfect for nurses who are seeking more work/life balance, autonomy, variety, and deeper patient relationships. And career independence combined with better hours may bring some much-needed balance back to your life.

If you’re interested in taking your home health career on the road, give us a call at 800.866.0407 to speak with a consultant or view today’s home health job opportunities below.


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