Home Health Nurse Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Home Health Nurse, or Home Health RN, is responsible for traveling to a patient’s home to administer their services and helping patients maintain their independence. Their duties include administering at-home IVs, changing dressings, cleaning wounds and updating Doctors about their patient’s health.

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Home Health Nurse duties and responsibilities 

Home Health Nurses provide a variety of tasks during patient visits depending on the specific plan of care and type of patient. They often have the following duties and responsibilities: 

  • Assess and chart observations of the patient’s condition at each visit.
  • Complete evaluation tasks, including reviewing medication and vital signs.
  • Administer Physician-prescribed medication.
  • Dress or redress wounds and assess the healing progress.
  • Provide education to patients and families on proper home health care procedures and strategies.
  • Coordinate with Physicians, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and other individuals in the patient’s care plan.
  • Keep the patient comfortable through palliative care.
  • Recommend tools or devices that may improve the quality of life for the patient.

What does a Home Health Nurse do?

Home Health Nurses typically work for home healthcare agencies to provide at-home care to patients. They use their nursing qualifications in combination with their compassion for others to provide quality medical services to their patients. Their job is to take their patient’s vitals, assess the state of their health and perform routine procedures like providing medication and checking on wounds. After each visit, they write progress reports for Doctors to review. They may also teach loved ones how to carry out routine care procedures like administering medications, checking blood sugar levels and changing bandages.

Home Health Nurse skills and qualifications

A successful Home Health Nurse uses a variety of soft skills and clinical knowledge to provide the most comprehensive care. These skills can include: 

  • Strong interpersonal skills that allow them to get to know their patients, build personal rapport and establish trust to provide high-quality care while increasing patients’ enjoyment and comfort
  • Initiative so they can make independent decisions when required and accept direction and requests from patients.
  • Ability to act swiftly in emergencies and work efficiently
  • Flexibility and patience to work in a variety of living environments 
  • Knowledge of clinical skills including changing bandages, giving tube feedings, administering shots and setting up and monitoring IVs

Home Health Nurse salary expectations

A Home Health Nurse makes an average of $1,663 per week. Salaries may vary based on a candidate’s geographical location, experience level and education.

Home Health Nurse education and training requirements 

Many Home Health Nurse job postings do not require a bachelor’s degree and will accept a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) with a certificate or diploma from a state-approved, accredited program, which usually takes less than one year to complete and is available at technical schools and community colleges. Registered Nurses (RNs) complete a longer degree program, typically a bachelor’s degree, and are therefore more competitive among Home Health Nurse applicants. RNs, LVNs and LPNs all must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to receive a license.

Home Health Nurse experience requirements 

Most nursing degree or certificate programs require some practical experience working with patients, though it would be beneficial to gain experience in home health settings before applying to this role. Additionally, any volunteer experience in home care or nursing homes can make an applicant more competitive.

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Frequently asked questions about Home Health Nurses

 

What is the difference between a Home Health Nurse and a Home Health Aide?

The difference between a Home Health Nurse and a Home Health Aide is seniority. Home Health Nurses are Registered Nurses who have more advanced qualifications and responsibilities. In contrast, Home Health Aides typically don’t need any formal education and can provide primary care to those in need. For example, a Home Health Nurse has the authority to conduct health assessments and administer vaccines or IVs if needed. In contrast, Home Health Aides help by doing chores, assisting patients in bathing, making sure they take their medications and preparing meals for them.

 

What are the daily duties of a Home Health Nurse?

On an average day, a Home Health Nurse has multiple patient visits to attend. They review their schedule, check visit times and confirm addresses. Throughout the day, they drive to each location and greet patients and their loved ones. They talk with each patient to determine how they feel and whether anything has changed from their last visit. They check their vitals to assess breathing and blood pressure. 

During each visit, they complete patient-specific tasks like taking blood samples or administering medication and answer any questions that patients and their loved ones have. They also take notes to include in their report later on. Home Health Nurses compile reports and send them to their patients’ Physicians before concluding their day.

 

What qualities make a good Home Health Nurse?

A good Home Health Nurse is someone who channels their empathy for others through providing quality care and service to their patients. They prioritize punctuality and time management, as they have multiple patient visits each day. Home Health Nurses also have superb attention to detail that enables them to accurately assess their patients and determine whether they need additional care at a hospital or clinic. Further, a good Home Health Nurse always looks for continued education opportunities to hone their skills and deliver expert care to their patients.

 

Who does a Home Health Nurse report to?

A Home Health Nurse typically reports to a Manager at the healthcare facility they work for. Their Manager provides them with their assignments and work schedules. They may also brief Home Health Nurses on particular patients and their needs. Throughout the day, Managers act as a point of communication for Home Health Nurses if they have any questions or concerns.

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