It takes a special kind of student to be drawn to the nursing profession—someone innately strong and compassionate. Given the opportunity to use their natural-born gifts, great nurses are made during their nursing education and clinical experiences. It pays to think about what those learning opportunities are going to be, because they vary in what they’re able to teach and in their exposure to different sets of career options.
Career Options for Student Nurses
It’s safe to say that any nursing school you choose will offer comprehensive education geared toward hospital and facility settings. However, not all education programs give nursing students comprehensive exposure to the home health care field. There is a world of opportunity for nurses to develop long, interesting, rewarding, and varied careers in home health care, and to choose from a multitude of career tracks—such as direct patient care, clinical education, clinical standards leadership, clinical management, or transitional care management, just to name a few.
What It’s Like to be a Student Nurse in Home Health Care
- Holistic, patient-centered care: The home is the number one setting for nurses interested in treating the whole individual, developing close nurse-patient relationships, and in the words of one student nurse, “the best way to educate and empower patients.” In home health care, nursing students can learn patient-centered care planning, a broad range of preventive and proactive skills and interventions, and even strategies to address some of the social determinants of health.
- Unique specialties: Home health care gives nursing students the opportunity to learn hands-on and clinical decision-making skills in a number of interesting specialties serving diverse patient populations, such as pediatric and adult nursing for clients with serious illness or disability, skilled visits to help manage chronic conditions or to provide recovery care, and hospice care.
- Comprehensive care: Unlike a doctor’s office or hospital setting where a nurse’s job responsibilities may be siloed and more limited, home health care gives nurses—LPNs and RNs, alike—the opportunity to get deeper, broader, diagnosis-specific education and training, including high acuity, high-tech, and complex care.
- Policy knowledge: Home health care gives student nurses working knowledge of a whole different set of policies, regulations, procedures, and their applications, such as infection prevention, supply management, client consent, OASIS documentation, HIPAA and CMS guidelines, and Medicare Conditions of Participation.
- Continuum of care: Knowledge of the entire continuum of patient care prepares new nurses to be better resources for their patients in any setting. As one student nurse put it, “…the opportunity to followup on patients on a week-to-week basis gave me a new perspective as to what patients might go through after discharge. I also learned a lot about the availability of community resources and the importance of early discharge planning for hospitalized patients.”
7 Characteristics of a Great Nursing Student
Wondering if you’ve got what it takes to work in home health care? We asked Michelle Adams, MSN, RN, program manager of BAYADA’s Home Health Clinical Internship Program, what her office looks for in student nurses, and she shared their list of characteristics and abilities:
- Excellent academic performance
- Communication skills
- Critical thinking
Opportunities For Student Nurses in Home Health Care
Sound intriguing? Ask your nursing school or local BAYADA office if they offer clinical rotations, a Clinical Internship Program, a Nurse Residency Program (pediatrics or adult), or a home health care simulation (SIM) lab.
Check out our Nurses Week SIM lab trainings streaming live on Facebook May 8 & 9 at 6:30 pm.