Brief history: I have been an RN for 22 years. I worked Med/Surg for a number of years in the '90s/early '00s, then took seven years off to stay home with our kids, then went back to work as a hospice on-call nurse in the field, then, due to needing more hours, as a hospice intake nurse in the office, then, when that job was changed to full-time hours that didn't accommodate my family's schedules, back to Med/Surg a few months ago (but with the same hospital system because I didn't want to look like a job hopper and switch companies so I've worked for this employer for almost a year and a half), which is where I am currently. However...in the midst of all of those years, I had cervical disc problems and had surgery on my neck twice. Since starting my current Med/Surg position, I am having very painful recurring neurological symptoms from my old neck injury, which I never had working at either hospice position, and I really don't feel that I can handle the physical aspect of Med/Surg any longer.
Back to my question: I have put out some feelers and applied for a couple of other jobs. A couple of home health care companies are very interested in me and want to interview me, but before I take that step, I need to know from those of you in the trenches, do you still find that home health beats up your body like Med/Surg? IOW, do you find yourself going into homes and having to lift patients, etc. with either no one or a family member to help you, or is it fairly easy on you physically? When I did on-call hospice nursing in the field, I had zero issues with pain and had to do very little hard physical work, for the most part. Is HHC similar to that, or would I be jumping from the frying pan into the fire?
Aug 12, '12
This question is going to be difficult to answer in an absolute. Home Health nursing is demanding, carrying around a nursing bag full of supplies and a laptop where ever you go. Unless, your company is on paper. If you are on paper it won't be long till you are carrying a laptop because that is what the government is requiring for all, in the near future. There are some instances where you won't be doing much lifting, and then you could come into a home where you have to do all the lifting and turning. Sometimes you have family to help you, and sometimes you are on your own. I do a lot of "climbing around" to get to the other side of the bed, or down in the floor or over furniture. I don't think it's really as demanding as Med Surg, but it can be.
Aug 12, '12
Thanks for your reply. I figured that there would probably be some lifting, and I can definitely relate to climbing around to get to the other side of the bed and squeezing around furniture, etc., because I did have to do some of that when I was a hospice on-call nurse. However, maybe because it wasn't a constant every time I worked but more sporadic and I got breaks in between anywhere from hours to days, or because I wasn't working 12 hour shifts...whatever the reason, it didn't seem to bother my neck at all. When I do the 12 hour Med/Surg shifts, I am constantly in pain that feels like a hot wire running from my neck to my shoulder, and achiness down my arm. I'm wondering if getting breaks in between patients when I'm driving, charting, etc. would make home health easier to tolerate.
I'm pretty sure that most of the home health companies in my area use computerized charting now, at least the two that want to interview me do, as well as the one that is part of the hospital system that I work for now. However, I did have to carry a big nursing bag and a laptop around as a hospice nurse, and again, no pain, so I'm being cautiously optimistic that home health may be the answer, since I still have to work and help pay bills.
Thanks again. : )
Aug 17, '12
Much easier on the body than working the floor, that's for sure.
Aug 17, '12
Definitely much easier on the body. I don't want to get into my physical issues on a public forum, but that's one of the reasons that I stick with home health--that and I love it!
Aug 18, '12
I have had to do very minimal lifting in hh. There is always a cg, which is good because I've had 3 back surgeries And on a pain management regimen. But the car does aggravate it
Aug 18, '12
Thanks to all for taking the time to reply.
I have an interview next Wednesday for a contingent home health intake position, which would be a desk job, so that would definitely be a step in the right direction. I also have a phone screen scheduled with a different home health company this coming Monday morning, and have applied for another part-time home health field position and two hospice field positions. I have my hospice and palliative nurse certification, so it may be that I end up back in hospice, which I really love, or HH, which I also think that I would love. Either way, it will have to be easier on this old body than full-time twelve hours shifts on a busy Med/Surg unit. If I am blessed enough to get one of these positions, I think I can honestly say that I am done with Med/Surg forever. WOO-HOO!!!!!
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