How safe is it to be a Visiting Nurse?

  1. Hi I am going for my Visiting nurse job interview. I am totally new to this area, I am just wondering how safe it is to go to the patients' home....did anybody encounter any dangerous situation? How about crime prone areas?
    How many patients does a nurse have to visit in a day? Does the agency pay for gas? How much time on an average does a nurse spend with one patient?Do they pay extra for IV therapy and wound care? Please suggest...........
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   KJRN79
    I can't talk much about the pay these days, because I haven't done visiting in almost 10 years. You need to have some common sense and know the neighborhoods where you are visiting. That's one place where nurses generally don't eat their young, they are much more protective of you.
    I worked in Phoenix, for the county for about a year. Our "rule" was "the bad guys sleep until noon, so get THOSE visits (neighborhood-wise) over early". Then I worked in a small city in CT. We had an escort go into those neighborhoods with it. But he would jump out of the way if we were startled, leaving me standing there. My best stories: coming around a corner in Phoenix, visiting a baby, and finding a guy handcuffed to a pole. The cop had left him there, to chase his buddy. Of course he wanted ME to help him. I don't think so. And in CT, I was visiting a new mom, and called first to say I was on the way, knowing there was a domestic violence situation with the guy having a restraining order from being near the mom...you KNOW he came to the door NAKED. Very startling. I told them I'd be back later. I called the social worker, but I never did see that mom....she moved and refused services.
    I guess what I'm saying, is that situations DO happen. Be street-smart, if you are uncomfortable, leave, and DO ASK THESE QUESTIONS at your interview. Let us know what you decide!
  4. by   starbin
    Quote from KJRN79
    I can't talk much about the pay these days, because I haven't done visiting in almost 10 years. You need to have some common sense and know the neighborhoods where you are visiting. That's one place where nurses generally don't eat their young, they are much more protective of you.
    I worked in Phoenix, for the county for about a year. Our "rule" was "the bad guys sleep until noon, so get THOSE visits (neighborhood-wise) over early". Then I worked in a small city in CT. We had an escort go into those neighborhoods with it. But he would jump out of the way if we were startled, leaving me standing there. My best stories: coming around a corner in Phoenix, visiting a baby, and finding a guy handcuffed to a pole. The cop had left him there, to chase his buddy. Of course he wanted ME to help him. I don't think so. And in CT, I was visiting a new mom, and called first to say I was on the way, knowing there was a domestic violence situation with the guy having a restraining order from being near the mom...you KNOW he came to the door NAKED. Very startling. I told them I'd be back later. I called the social worker, but I never did see that mom....she moved and refused services.
    I guess what I'm saying, is that situations DO happen. Be street-smart, if you are uncomfortable, leave, and DO ASK THESE QUESTIONS at your interview. Let us know what you decide!
    thank you so much for the info. i sure will let you know..i am still thinking risk vs. benefit.............
  5. by   nurseangel47
    You can expect to be reimbursed per mile to the recommended state's requirements, tax wise. Usually fluctuates a bit depending on the current economical state of gas expense. Planning your visits depending on geographical locales helps immensely with conserving fuel. You can also expect an average of six to seven minimum visits per day. Opening cases or doing admissions counts for a two visit point system. So if you had a two hour admission to do and opened a case for the company, that is 2 pts. Over a certain number of miles is another point. So, some days you're driving 100 to 200 miles average. Some days you have paperwork that requires a couple of hours either done at home during your off duty hours and eats into time with family and rest. Remember to figure in the $$ amount of wear and tear on tread of tires and engine wear, too, in allowing for the reimbursement of mileage. Lots of smart nurses don't even think about that one. Gas isn't the only thing being drained out of your automobile during home visits. Yes, some areas are rather dangerous. Some homes are absolutely filthy. I've seen roaches, other vermin, smelled smells and seen garbage I thought would be a definite biohazard even in a dump site! But, loved the autonomy of doing home visits. Paperwork is a thorn in the side. Once you get that down though it shouldn't be tooo bad. Just try to get as much done in the home as you possibly can. Oh, and the dangerous neighborhoods. Usually if you go during the early morning hours to not past 12 noon, you can avoid the late risers who've been up the night before partying, selling drugs, etc. and would be "dangerous" people to be on the same sidewalk with! LOL! Otherwise, if they see you and realize you're a nurse, they also think, well, she's here to help one of our people who're sick and need her. They are generally smart enough to realize that you don't have narcotics in your possession just because you're a nurse. I would wear all white, hang a stethoscope on my rearview mirror, anything to alert any troublemakers that I wasn't in their neck of the woods for any other reason than to make a quick visit in, help one of their own, and always got the heck out of there quickly. You can do their paperwork later in the office or at home where you are safe.
    Good luck. Home health and hospice visiting is a good way to become more independent and more secure and confident. It isn't too bad. Has it's good and not so good points. Be prepared to either type a lot if you have pda or computer system or write a lot if not.
  6. by   Cattitude
    let me add 2 points:
    [color=#483d8b]1) i work in and around nyc- no problems with safety so far, be smart and go early.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]2) lots of posters here keep stating mileages >100 per day. it all depends on where you live. i live in a highly populated area. i may only put 100 miles per week on my car. mileage, visits per day, pay, a lot of that stuff varies greatly depending on where you live.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]you'll only know for sure by researching and interviewing at your particular agencies. good luck..
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]
  7. by   CapeCodMermaid
    The scariest thing I encountered when I did home health nursing was my patient's big tarantula(eeewww!) that he expected me to feed!
  8. by   DutchgirlRN
    You'll want to hear the DON say "if it doesn't look right, feel right, don't go in"

    I have worked for a bad HH agency with clients in bad neighborhoods and now a wonderful agency who is choosy about who they accept. With both agencies the DON said the above. Thus far, I've been fortunate (knock on wood) even in some very seedy areas I've met some wonderful grateful clients. I've met some real snobs in big beautiful homes, you just don't know. Go with your feelings is the best advice.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN
    risky business: home health agencies train rns to avoid dangerous situations

    unlike the controlled environment of a hospital, home health workers are exposed to an array of safety risks that can make their jobs more hazardous than their hospital counterparts. one of the most important of these is personal safety.
  10. by   P2rn
    I agree with a previous writer regarding the dangers of Home Health nursing; nearly everyone looks to you as being there to help someone ande are appreciative of you. The dangers that I have encountered are 1) mean dogs and 2) inebriated individuals. Best not try to reason with either!
  11. by   Wgbem
    I agree with the other posters. The worst encounter I had was with a mean dog. Some clients will value their dogs more than you the nurse. They will not want to put their dogs away and in those cases, I will not come in. Not that I am scared of dogs but that dog does not know ME. If he bites, who is liable and I will be the one who suffers and cannot go to work.

    If it does not feel right, know it is not right. Do not put yourself at risk but you will definitely enjoy home care.
  12. by   starbin
    Quote from Wgbem
    I agree with the other posters. The worst encounter I had was with a mean dog. Some clients will value their dogs more than you the nurse. They will not want to put their dogs away and in those cases, I will not come in. Not that I am scared of dogs but that dog does not know ME. If he bites, who is liable and I will be the one who suffers and cannot go to work.

    If it does not feel right, know it is not right. Do not put yourself at risk but you will definitely enjoy home care.
    thanks:smilecoffeecup:
  13. by   teaka
    Having worked in home health for quite a while, I have never encountered any dangerous situations. That does not mean I won't. About the worst is aggressive dogs. I find that dog treats work pretty well. I was advised by another nurse to try gummi bears. Give the dog a few on the way in to distract him and a few on the way back to your car if needed. I haven't tried this but I can see how it might work. The most important thing you need to find out is how safe are the nurses working at the agency you are interviewing for. I mostly work in rural areas and occasionally some bad neighborhoods but as someone else said, they are usually happy to see you. If ever in doubt and you're already in the home leave everything there and hit the door. Don't worry about getting your bag or other supplies. ALWAYS have your car keys on you, do not lay them down anywhere. The agency will have a policy on this so ask. I just took a job with a new agency but before I was offered the job I had a peer interview. It was with two of their nurses. They had formed questions they had to ask me but I could ask them anything. That was a great opportunity. If you are offered, and considering, the job you might want to ask to talk to or meet with a couple of their nurses.
    Oh yeah, your nursing bag makes a nice barrier between you and a quesionable dog, keep the bag between you and it and don't turn your back.
    Last edit by teaka on Mar 2, '07
  14. by   tewdles
    Hey, sometimes the dog is fine but the cat is the queen who hides under the bed until your back is turned! Once had a patient with a big bird...dang thing went nuts one day when the MSW visited, not sure why but he was after that girls head!!!

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