A home health nurse is responsible for providing in-home care for elderly and ailing patients who need ongoing attention, but who do not require a hospital stay. The job description of a home health nurse requires patience, compassion, and a specific knowledge of the symptoms and conditions of the patient being cared for.
A home health nurse monitor patients’ vitals, distributes medications, ensures patients are comfortable, provides updates to the patient’s primary care physician, and oversees patient rehabilitation and physical therapy.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Home Health Nurse
- Takes patient’s pulse, listens to heartbeat, and checks blood pressure.
- Makes note of other vital statistics and keeps a running log of these details.
- Asks patients about pain levels and provides treatment accordingly.
- Ensures that patients are fed, bathed, and well cared for.
- Keeps track of patient medication schedule and distributes medicationsat the required intervals.
- Oversees required physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises.
- Changes bandages and dressings.
- Administers massages for arthritic patients.
- Assists in attaching and removing prosthetics.
- Provides updates on patient condition to family and patient physician.
- Transports patient to doctor’s office or rehabilitation center for check-ups and appointments.
- Contacts emergency services when a patient needs to be taken to the hospital.
- Records all details of patient’s condition, progression and regression, and activity.
- Administers, monitors, and replaces IVs.
- Ensures all in-home medical equipment such as hospital style bedswork properly.
- Acts as liaison between patient, family, and physician.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Possesses broad knowledge of medical and nursing industry.
- Possesses specific knowledge of patients’ condition, symptoms, and health outlook.
- Maintains patient and calm demeanor.
- Demonstrates compassion.
- Possesses emotional stability necessary for working with terminally ill patients.
- Possesses physical strength necessary to lift and move patient when necessary.
- Pays close attention to detail.
- Exhibits ability to be flexible in order to address patient needs as they arise.
- Demonstrates ability to think and act quickly and calmly in an emergency.
- Communicates clearly with patient and family.
- Exhibits strong interpersonal skills.
- Works well with a variety of different people.
- Is willing and able to work long and untraditional hours.
Education and Experience
- Bachelor’s Degree or Associate’s Degree in Nursing is required.
- Must successfully pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses.
- Holds ANA (American Nurses Association) credentials.
- Previous work experience as a nurse is required.
- The majority of working hours will be spent in the patient’s home.
- Shifts vary from day to night depending on the needs of the patient and the family.
- Overnight stays may be required.
- Physical activity such as walking and lifting will be required.
- The average salary for a home health nurse is $70,000.
- Salaries can range from $60,000 to $90,000 depending on years of experience and situation specifics.