new grad RN BSN - is home health for me?

  1. If a hospital is willing to hire new grad for home health, do you think it is suited for new grad RNs especially for someone with no nursing background and went to a 1-year accelerated BSN program?
    Currently though i am on my 3rd week of orientation on a med/oncology floor at the VA. I realize that I don't like floor nursing. I don't like the gossip, nurses eat their young instead of nurturing and guiding them, and i don't like the overwhelming patient load. Please advice. What is it like to be a home health nurse? What skills are necessary?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   fleur-de-lis
    I was hoping to see some responses here, since I am currently in an accelerated BSN program and I'm interested in home health or hospice. Have you found anything out?
  4. by   weetziebat
    I'll give you my opinion for what it's worth. I worked Home Health for a short time and now work in Hospice.

    In my opinion, being out in the field alone, running into lord only knows what kind of problems and questions, I definately feel you need at least a couple of years of hospital nursing(med-surg is best, as awful as it may be) under your belt before you will feel comfortable,

    Graduation from nursing school gives you a license to learn - not to practice in a setting where you will basically have no support with you. Who do you turn to with questions? or for a second opinion? You truly need a solid background to not feel lost with these patients.

    I'd be leary of a Home Health agency willing to hire a new grad. Just setting you up for failure, IMHO.
  5. by   cookie102
    i agree, before starting home health it is recommended to have at least 6mons to acute experience...those support is a phone call away you are essentially alone in the field and must have stong assessment skills...don't give up...get your 6 - 12 mons exp and apply to home health
  6. by   TexasPediRN
    I did floor nursing for 3 months (after 1 1/2 years of being a student nurse aide). When I moved, I went into Peds private duty (home health). I was trained very well by my preceptors and the company, and since I was new I did get more orientation then say, a seasoned nurse.

    I loved it. I'm completely competent with trachs, g-tubes, CPAP via trach, and was getting used to ventilators .

    However, I missed hospital. I missed the interaction with the nurses. I missed IV starts, post ops, etc. So after 9 months, I went back to hospital.

    I think home health gave me some great advantages, and a great background in caring for special needs children. I was trained well, and think that if the nurse is willing and able, home health is a good place to be. You do need some sharp assessment skills - but I always had someone to call with questions. My agency would hire a new RN right out of nursing school, but an LPN/LVN needed 1 year hospital experience. You just need to make sure you get a lot of orientation.

    Best of luck in whatever you choose to do!

    -Meghan
  7. by   powernurse
    I went into home health as a new grad. It depends on the individual. Some people will tell you that you are out there on your own with your patients but that is only partially true. In the physical sense it is only you and the patient and your assessment skills/judgement. But you need to remember that you have a nursing supervisor and physicians at the other end of the phone.

    I had a 4 month orientation. I learn quickly and I am never afraid to ask questions. For instance, if I am in a home with a pt and the pt has a dressing i have never seen or some other equipment or diagnoses etc... that i am unfamiliar with, i stop and call. Your nursing supervisor should be receptive. Just be mindful of your limitations. If you get a good orientation you will be okay.

    Home care has changed though. Patients are more acute when they come home now than ever before. You will learn a lot in home care. It is not a "fluff job". You will use many skills. At my agency we do wound care, IV therapy, TPN, chemo, phlebotomy, Foley's, trach care, chest tubes etc...etc....Good Luck to you.
  8. by   pamc217
    I just started in home care last month, so far so good. I am a new grad also, but Ive been an EMT for 5 yrs. I have a good preceptor whom i have her cell phone and shes more than willing to answer my questions. I find the hardest thing is the paperwork and the palm pilot. Im feeling comfortable now, Im sure it will be awhile before i can feel very confident.
    good luck
  9. by   pocovan
    I was so glad to see your question. I am a new home health nurse. I really enjoy the patients and families. My problem so far has been the orienting nurse. I do miss IVs.... I did critical care. I just feel like I am really having a difficult time finding my niche in nursing. Has anyone else had trouble finding their special niche? Please tell me your success stories.
  10. by   DDRN4me
    Home Health is a wonderful field but i would never do it as a new grad ( i have been doing it for 20 yrs) there are always situations that come up that you have to think fast and may not be a ble to quickly access a preceptor. I would definitely stick it out on med surg for at least 6 months to a year to get that background before attempting to "fly on your own" Good luck to you!!
  11. by   ragtopnurse
    I am a Home Health RN and I would not recommend it to a new grad. You have to have good critical thinking skills and that is something that you can get only with time and experience, not school. I would not have wanted to do it fresh out of school. HomeCare has changed alot over the last few years and the patients are sicker than they used to be. We get IV's, TPN, Trachs, vents, chest tubes, Chemo,wound vacs, etc. One of the postings mentioned they got 4 months orientation but I don't think this is the norm. Usually it is like everything else, they are already short and they want to get you on the road as fast as they can. I work for a good company but I still don't think orientation is long enough. I had not worked in a hospital prior to HomeCare but I had worked on the skilled unit of a LTC facility for several years. I already had good skills from this experience but it took me a while to become comfortable with making my own decisions about what the patient needed. In my area our doctors rely on our judgement alot and you really need to be confident in your assessment and thinking skills. I have recently started prn on a med/surg floor just to get some hospital experience but I have to say overall I love HomeCare. LIke everything else, it has its pros and cons. Being on call is definitely a con but the relationship that you can build with your patient and their family is very rewarding. Hope this has helped. Good luck with whatever you do.
  12. by   caliotter3
    A new grad should not go into home health without experience. Most of us agree on this. However, there have been some people who were hired right out of school that have managed to survive in home health. Without a strong support system and training system set up for the newly hired person, it is not a wise career decision. Ask to speak to other employees who were hired as new grads to work at any company that offers to hire you without experience. See what they have to say about how well they were trained and oriented. Do not work for a company that does not immediately give you the support that you need. You will be able to tell quickly whether or not they are throwing you to the dogs. Protect your license.
  13. by   Brita01
    Home health is definitely not for a brand new grad. Even several nurses that we have hired with years of hospital experience were not able to cope well with home health. Like some of the other posters have stated, home health patients have changed so much over the years. They are so much sicker, many come home from the hospital before it's time. When you walk in the door, sometimes after making your assessment, you're rushing to the phone to call 911. And that's happening more and more often. You need those assessment skills that come from experience to make those types of decisions. That's why it's a good idea to get some hospital experience behind you and then enter into home health. And once you're ready to enter into home health, make sure you choose an agency that is willing to orient you properly and provide you with the help you need, not one with a sink or swim mentality.
  14. by   Gem0607
    I am currently in home health as a New RN with my BSN. I am in Cali and this was the only job that I found after being out of school for 2 years. I am terrified and I'm making a decision to leave soon. I am so nervous because I feel I need more guidance or at least someone close by when i have a question. I now agree that lhome health agencies should only hire nurses with at least 1 year experience. I am performing well and my care is great but just to think that something could happen and I am lost is very stressful for me at this time. I tried it and I realize at this point home health isn't for me.

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