Home health as first job?

  1. My LPN class will be complete in the fall. I'd like to try home health after I pass boards. It would be ideal since it is done during the day (I want to go back right away for my RN). Anyway, I've heard some nurses discourage new grads from taking a home health position w/o at least one year of experience. Opinions?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   roser13
    Personally, I would encourage you to have at least a year of experience under your belt before going into home health care. You will be on your own, expected to make independent decisions, with only school experience to draw on.

    As I'm sure you've heard many times before, nursing school is just the beginning. I bet I learned more in my first 3 months on a med/surg floor than I did in a single year of nursing school.

    Personally, I would worry about being on my home without experience to help me make decisions. Having said that, today's economy is making nursing jobs hard to find. If home health is your only option, then I'm guessing you would go for it.
  4. by   mauxtav8r
    Depends on you, but most folks would advise against this. The reason is you are on your own in the home, lpn visits will all be technical skills (not patient teaching only), so foleys, lab draws, and wound care are your world. Would you be confident to perform those skills in a challenging environment?

    Believe me, there's rarely a light where you need it to see the "wink" for a foley, your lab draw patient is likely sweating sitting on the front porch with wind blowing dust around, your wound vac won't seal . . . you get the idea.

    If you are confident and comfortable with your skills, go for it. But if there's an agency that will hire your with zero experience, ask for a peer interview in addition to the regular one, or find a friend in this business and ask about the agency you are interviewing with. My agency. just. would. not. do. this.
  5. by   klone
    My husband is a home health nurse. He applied right out of school and was turned down. They advised him to gain some experience first and reapplied. He did, and was hired, and has been doing it ever since. He loves his job, and said that they did him a huge favor by turning him down at first. He understands why they did it, and agrees that a new nurse needs to get more familiar with assessments before being turned loose on one's own.
  6. by   mamamerlee
    There is NO WAY you should do home health without a minimum of a year's experience in an acute setting. NO WAY.

    And I would be extremely concerned about any agency that would hire you without that experience.

    You need to be able to think 'on your feet' and make reasonable judgements about so many different things all at once. You need terrific skills, as noted above. You need to be able to look, feel and act confident and in control at all times.

    No no NNOO NNNOOO !!!! At least one year, preferably more, in an acute care setting.
  7. by   wifeandmomoftwo
    Thanks everyone that's why I was asking. I've done really well in school. I'm also smart enough to know that I've got a l LONG way to go. Just trying to figure out a way to manage going back to school (RN), working full time, and still being around for my kids at least some. I'm guessing a doctors office will be my next choice but the pay will be less. I would do long term care but am very anxious about the number of patients that I'd be responsible for, the three day orientation, and the fact that the residents don't wear armbands. Actually, my feelings could be more accurately described as terrified. Hospital jobs are hard to come by for LPN's although I will look.

    The ads in the paper don't mention experience so I assumed it wasn't required. Maybe I'm mistaken. I'd be grateful if there are other suggestions you are aware of that I haven't thought about
  8. by   caliotter3
    It depends upon what kind of home health job you would be undertaking and the quality and quantity of support being offered by your agency. Intermittent visit work, not a good idea, until you get that firm foundation in assessment and varied experience. Extended care cases, perhaps. With an excellent orientation to a particular case, you can learn what you need to be able to deal with a particular client who is stable and has routine care. But even then, it helps to have a good support system back at the office and with your fellow nurses on the case. If no one answers the phone if you call with a pressing question, you are left to your own devices and need to be able to make decisions and act upon them on your own.
  9. by   Amanda N RN
    Congrats to you for completing school. I have worked in homecare now for almost 13 years. HC is very challenging and you are on your own. There is not a "code" button that you can push when you walk in on a patient who is coding. There is not an MD close by to give you specific orders and coworkers are available but they may be miles away from you...not beside you. Another thing is the environment. If you can not tolerate roaches crawling everywhere (on your patient) or you are afraid of big animals....HC is not for you. My agency does not hire nurses with less than 1 yr experience. Good luck to you! Amanda
  10. by   Blackheartednurse
    I recently started to work as a home health nurse..I'm an old new grad of 2009..I believe that it all depends on a particular agency..Like my boss started me slowly.I have only 3 pts right now.Most are diabetic,CHF,COPD.My boss is not giving me any complex cases right now cause he knows I have limited experience in the world of nursing.Today I had my first admission and you know what? It wasnt all so bad,your knowledge kicks in and you are fine.Try it you may like it.
  11. by   tothepointeLVN
    I went into Home Health shift work straight out of school. Mainly because they were the only people hiring LVN's without experience. Most of my cohort is employed in similar settings. Home Health, Hospice and Post Cosmetic Surgery ( this scares me the most I would NEVER do this with just school experience ) All jobs with limited support. I personally think that Home Health Private Duty is doable as a new grad LVN. Esp with a less complicated client.

    Yes it is nice to get experience in a facility if you can get it. But nowadays here at least you can't
  12. by   Lynaa4life
    I know I will go straight into Home Health work as soon as I get my license. (LPN). The main reason I went to school was to learn how to take care of my son with many complex needs. Vent, trach, G/J tube, the works. Home health LPNs are very much needed with experience in these areas. My son has had home care since he was born and so I will be taking over some of his hours through the same agency. He's almost 4 years old now and has Charge Syndrome. I think that home health is a great place to start as long as someone has at least some foundation in this area.
  13. by   Up2nogood RN
    Quote from Blackheartednurse
    I recently started to work as a home health nurse..I'm an old new grad of 2009..I believe that it all depends on a particular agency..Like my boss started me slowly.I have only 3 pts right now.Most are diabetic,CHF,COPD.My boss is not giving me any complex cases right now cause he knows I have limited experience in the world of nursing.Today I had my first admission and you know what? It wasnt all so bad,your knowledge kicks in and you are fine.Try it you may like it.
    Knowledge is best gained from experience. At least ONE solid year of med surg is the norm for a reputable agency to require. The wisest thing you can do for your career is to get a years experience. There are policies for a reason-safety-the patient and yours.
  14. by   Angel,LVNStudent
    Quote from wifeandmomoftwo
    Thanks everyone that's why I was asking. I've done really well in school. I'm also smart enough to know that I've got a l LONG way to go. Just trying to figure out a way to manage going back to school (RN), working full time, and still being around for my kids at least some. I'm guessing a doctors office will be my next choice but the pay will be less. I would do long term care but am very anxious about the number of patients that I'd be responsible for, the three day orientation, and the fact that the residents don't wear armbands. Actually, my feelings could be more accurately described as terrified. Hospital jobs are hard to come by for LPN's although I will look.

    The ads in the paper don't mention experience so I assumed it wasn't required. Maybe I'm mistaken. I'd be grateful if there are other suggestions you are aware of that I haven't thought about

    My opinion if you gone do home health care dont sign on as a LPN, Sign on as a Caregiver. The pay will be between 12-16 dollars an hour. You can go to school still. Or my next suggestion is to apply at a Methadone Clinic. You will be the head person in charge next to the doctors as a Dispensing Nurse. The hours are usually 5am-1 or 12pm. sometimes even 10am. You can go to school with them hours and the pay is between 22-25 a hours. Some places pay 30-35 a hour. There are alot u can do.

    Dont jump into something u cant handle. I am only a nursing student, but the nurses are telling u to get at least one year experience or more please listen. It will benefit you alot

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