“I want to be a nurse so I can help people.”
Most nurses have said these words in their young lives. Now that your dream has become a reality, how can you find a successful career and fulfilling work? Success as a nurse can be built in ways and in places that you might not expect.
The Importance of Home Nursing
Hospital nurses are the popular image we’re all familiar with, but some of the most impactful nursing is happening every day “behind the scenes.” When an acute episode ends and the “cameras stop rolling,” the home setting is where most of a patient’s healing takes place. It’s where nurses play the leading role to help people stay healthy and out of the hospital and enjoy their best quality of life with comfort, independence, and dignity. The compassionate image of nurses and their remarkable flexibility are two of the many reasons BAYADA annually celebrates National Nurses Week, May 6–12, 2019. May 12 coincides with the birthday of Florence Nightingale who was born in 1820 and viewed as the founder of modern nursing.
Home Health Care is the Wave of the Future
Trends in insurance reimbursement and the growth of the US population all point to the home setting as the new epicenter of health care delivery. With advanced technologies that are now available, the same levels of high-quality, high-tech care provided in a facility can be provided at home, at lower costs and with greater community support and client satisfaction. This means that today and into the foreseeable future, there will be more opportunity for nurses to work, advance their skills, and pursue leadership careers in the field of home nursing than ever before.
The Many Faces of Home Health Care
Many specialties in home health care give nurses the opportunity to find the job and patient population that’s just right for them. For example:
- Home Health: visits to help manage a chronic condition like diabetes, COPD, or heart failure, or to provide short-term recovery care following an acute illness, surgery, or injury
- Pediatrics: regular skilled nursing care for children with serious, often complex needs due to chronic illness or disability
- Adult Nursing: regular skilled nursing care for younger adults and the elderly with serious, often complex needs due to chronic illness or disability
- Rehabilitation: specialized, high-tech care for people with catastrophic injuries or diagnoses such as TBI, SCI, or ALS
- Hospice: comfort, quality of life, and family support for people with limited life expectancy
Within each of these specialties, nurses can choose to follow a clinical, management, or educator career track.
The Most Important Focus to Succeed in Home Health Care
We asked Margit Moran, RN, director of pediatric clinical education at BAYADA, what the best and most successful home health care nurses have in common. Here’s what she shared.
Top 5 Predictors of Success as a Home Health Care Nurse
1. Empathy and Compassion
Whether it’s a skill or a gift—usually a combination of the two—being able to understand another person’s reality and using that empathy to provide compassionate care are vitally important in the personal space of home, especially when the nurse-client relationship is long-term.
Families trust home health care nurses to be educated, trained, and prepared with the skills to provide a broad range of routine and preventive care, to attentively recognize emergent issues before they become serious, and to provide proactive interventions as necessary. (As educators, our job is to provide the best training for nurses to feel confident.)
Every care environment is different, but it’s always the client’s and family’s intimate home base.To be successful, a home care nurse must be able to adapt their care approaches from home to home, client to client. Flexibility is key, and for the right person, it’s a fun challenge.
Boundaries are not as clearly defined in the home setting as in other care settings. Home care nurses must be trusted to always act in the best interest of their clients, and to always adhere to the standards of professional conduct while maintaining friendly, respectful relationships.
The home care environment doesn’t provide the same level of managerial oversight as an institutional setting, where clinical management is physically present. A home care nurse is trusted to always do the right thing in a reliable way, with an unwavering ethical and moral compass.
Nurses who work autonomously, use all their nursing knowledge and skills, get to know their patients, treat them holistically, and see their improvement can find great success in home health care and dare to be the best nursing professional they can be.