Home health nurses are becoming increasingly important, especially as the population ages. A home health nurse is someone who works closely with patients, to provide them with care and comfort in their own homes. Since the work environment for a home health nurse differs depending on the patient they’re caring for, the challenges you’ll face at work will differ from patient to patient.
As a home health nurse, you should be careful when it comes to the resources available to you. You won’t have the same resources as a nurse working in a hospital would have. Here are ten tips that can help you succeed in your career as a home health nurse.
1. Building Relationships With Patients
Your patients should be able to trust you. That’s why, building solid relationships with patients and their families, can help you in your career. It can also help you with providing patients with a higher quality of care. You can think about getting to know the patients deeply, while also maintaining a professional relationship.
You can ask them questions about their interests, their hobbies, and their families. This can help your patient feel more comfortable around you.
2. Setting Expectations
It’s not uncommon for you to find yourself in the personal spaces of your patients. This is why you need to, right at the start, set clear expectations for what they can expect from you. This can enable your patients to feel more comfortable around you. You can discuss boundaries with patients as well, such as if there are parts of the home that they prefer you don’t go to.
You can also let them know about what you need, to do your best as a healthcare professional. This can include what kind of equipment you need, or how much time you need to provide quality services to the patients.
3. Staying Organized
You could find yourself with a large number of patients to care for. When you’re making multiple visits, you’ll also need to organize your supplies, and also manage time. You can keep essential items in a bag, such as pens, your laptop charger, notepads, and more. This can help you easily access them. Also, plan out your route before you visit a patient for the first time, so you don’t get lost.
4. Maintaining Inventory
You should have all the necessary equipment and supplies to provide quality care to your patients. Since you won’t be working in a hospital setting, you’ll need to maintain inventory. You’ll also need to order medical supplies when it’s needed. You can consider taking one day out of your week to manage your inventory. Ensure that necessary resources and tools are always available for your patients.
The larger medical equipment you may need can be kept in the patient’s home. However, for smaller items, you can keep them stored in your car.
5. Get Extra Clothes
You’ll find yourself traveling to the homes of different patients throughout the week, and accessing laundry facilities can be difficult. This is why you should always carry extra clothing. Keep an extra pair of scrubs as well as shoes with you. Your clothing should also be clean before you see the next patient. So if you can, change into new scrubs before your next visit.
Consider investing in home health aide insurance as well. This is as a career as a home health nurse can leave you vulnerable to certain risk factors. A client whose unhappy with your services, for example, could end up suing you. When you have home health aide insurance, you can better protect your career as well as your finances. If you would like to learn more about how to become a home health aide, then click here.
6. Communication Skills
You should develop your communication skills as well, as this can help you to convey your thoughts to your patients. You’ll also better be able to understand their needs, as well as preferences. You can read books on how to communicate better, on utilize training resources that are online. When you are able to communicate better with your patients, you’ll be able to provide higher quality care as well.
7. Being Flexible
Working in the homes of patients can prove to be unpredictable, especially when compared to working in hospital settings. This is why you need to be flexible in how you approach your work. Understand that your days may not always go according to your plans.
There could be emergencies, or you could need to do paperwork. Being ready for changes in your schedule can help you to respond promptly to whatever comes your way.
8. Asking For Help
You’ll often be the only medical professional during the home visit. In case you have any questions, you should know how to approach the doctor or supervising nurse, for more information. Your cellphone should be charged, and you should have the contact details of the doctor or supervising nurse, who is caring for your patient.
9. Continued Professional Education
To make sure that you’re always up to date with procedures and policies, consider continuing your professional education. You can take online classes, or attend a university to stay up to date on what’s happening in your industry. The more you know, the better you can care for your patients.
10. Staying Positive
Not only should you provide medical care to your patients, but you should help them to stay positive as well. The best way you can achieve this is when you’re positive yourself. Try to be a part of the emotional support system of your patients, as many of them could be dealing with emotional distress, related to their medical conditions. When you approach patients with a positive attitude, they feel reassured.
There are several skills that can help you in your career as a home health nurse. Work on the skills mentioned in this guide to provide better care for your patients, and to also improve your career. From communicating with your patients to being their emotional support, these are the skills that can help you find success in your career.