The healthcare community is fortunate to have home health nurses. These caring professionals work closely with patients to provide exceptional care in their homes. Home health nurses have different duties and challenges than other healthcare professionals. It is important to learn how to effectively use your resources to be a successful home nurse. We discuss the importance and offer 10 tips to assist you in your home health nursing career.
What are the tips for home-health nurses?
Many home health nurses work in an independent capacity to care for patients at their own homes rather than in a hospital setting. Home health nurses may be able to create care plans for individual patients, keep track of supplies, and complete paperwork. Home health nurses are often working under minimal supervision. This makes it crucial for them to have the right resources, tips, and industry knowledge to ensure their patients receive the best care possible and conform to legal and industry standards. Important to remember that home care nurses must be able to provide care in non-medical and unfamiliar environments.
10 useful home health nurse tips
Here are 10 tips to help you in your home nursing career:
- Establish relationships with your patients
It is important to build trust and positive relationships with patients in order to provide them with high-quality care. While maintaining a professional relationship, you should get to know your patients personally. This could be done by asking them questions about their families, hobbies, and interests. These relationships will help you find the best treatments for your patient and make them feel more at ease.
- Set patient expectations
Home health nurses often have to enter homes and personal spaces. It is important that you set clear expectations and communicate with your patients. This will help them feel more at ease during their treatment. To make your patients feel as comfortable as possible, it is a good idea to discuss boundaries with them, such as which areas they prefer to keep private and what types of care they would prefer to avoid. It is also a chance for you to share your healthcare professional needs with them, such as how much space or how long it takes to perform procedures. These expectations can prevent surprises and misunderstandings, and make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding for both you and your patients.
- Stay organized
If you are a home nurse, organization is key to completing your busy days. Organizing your supplies and processes can help you manage your time better when you have many patients or home visits. For easy access, keep a bag containing essential items such as pens and notebooks. To ensure you are clear about the time it takes to get from one patient to another, you might plan your navigation route in advance.
- Maintain inventory
You will need all the medical equipment and supplies necessary to care for your patients. This care is not provided in a hospital setting so it is your responsibility to order the equipment and maintain an inventory. You can dedicate one day a week to taking stock of your supplies and placing any orders. You and your patients will be able to have the tools and resources they need by being proactive in maintaining your inventory. Larger equipment may be kept at home by your patients while smaller items can be stored in your trunk or hatch. These items should be kept in sealed, sanitary containers. Protect sensitive instruments and medications from extreme sunlight.
- Additional clothing is recommended
Home health nurses are likely to travel a lot and might not have access laundry facilities or extra clothing. In case you get soiled or come in contact with biohazardous materials, it is worth packing extra scrubs and shoes. You can maintain sanitation standards by washing your clothes before you see each patient. Also, changing into new scrubs throughout the day can ensure comfort and safety.
- Communication is essential
You can communicate with patients more effectively and understand their needs better. Communicating clearly with your patients will help them to understand what they should do for themselves when you are not there. Online training, books and active listening can help you improve your communication skills.
- Flexibility is key
It is more difficult to work in the home of patients than in a hospital setting. Therefore, it is important to be flexible in order for home health nurses to succeed. You should adapt your methods to accommodate flexibility, and be prepared for the unexpected. You may have to deal with emergencies, patients may need to be seen sooner, traffic may keep you from seeing a patient in time, paperwork may not be complete, or other unforeseeable circumstances that could affect the content of your shift. These events can happen, so it is important to be calm and ready to respond.
- Ask for help
Home health nurses often have to be the sole healthcare provider present at home. It is important to be able to call the right resources for help when you have questions. Keep a fully charged cell phone with you at all time and a list with contacts, such as your employer or other home health nurses, to help you if you have any questions or need additional information.
- Keep learning
You can keep up-to-date with the latest policies and procedures by continuing your education. To refresh your industry knowledge, you might consider taking classes online. You can provide better care to your patients if you are more knowledgeable about new, modified, or discontinued practices. To continue your education as a home nurse, you can read articles and attend professional conferences.
- Keep your positive attitude.
Your primary responsibility is to provide medical care for your patients. However, it’s important to offer them a positive experience at home. You should treat each patient with kindness, positivity, and provide emotional support when necessary. Patients may have emotional distress from various illnesses and injuries. You might be able to help them. Providing support and encouragement whenever possible can bring comfort to your patients and improve their home care experience.