Working home health care as a new grad?

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    OK, so I am graduating in August, the unlucky limbo of nursing school graduates. Everyone tells me "Wait until you can get a job at a hospital in a residency program", but how am I supposed to do that when the next ones aren't available until the beginning of next year? I need money now. My mom has been working as a home health aide while in between jobs and she said that her agency will be hiring for new nurses soon. Is working as a home health nurse a good idea for a new grad? Also, will it mess up my chances for new grad internships?

    To throw another wrench into things: When I graduate, I am going to have a balance on my account and I know for a fact that my school will not release transcripts, degree verifications, or diplomas until they are paid in full. How am I supposed to pay them if I don't have a job? In that case I can't even work as a nurse anyway because they are going to need to verify my education. I'm in a big mess.
  2. 17 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    You will be required to have received your license in order to be hired in home care for RN position. My employer has stopped hiring new grads 9/10 have left home care within 3-6 months of orientation --which is already 3 months long due to unrealistic expectations. Patients homes are their castle and they call the shots ( roach infested, boarded up windows, no heat/running water etc).

    If you are not working now, you are eligible to sit for Certified Nursing Assistant exam -many home health agencies will hire you for that role. This would give you income to pay off college bill and get you a foot in the door in healthcare. Agency may possibly then transition you into RN role.

    Since several Philadelphia,PA area health systems has adopted BSN only hiring, it has made hiring of qualified candidates even harder.

    Best wishes moving forward.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Feb 16, '13
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    if, for instance, I can not get the CNA certification, is it ok to work as a home health aide to pay off my college bill? I know it will take an even longer time to do so, of course, but considering I've been living off of minimum wage from my student worker job it won;t be that much of a shock.

    I considered taking a job at a store but that is nowhere related to healthcare. Maybe I could work home health (even as an aide) and volunteer in the nursing unit at one of the hospitals here, get my name in, pay off my college bill (~$2k) and get a nursing job/internship?
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    I would not recommend a new grad working as a home health nurse. Your assessment skills have not been used on enough patients on you own yet, and in home health you are responsible for assessing by yourself. I worked homehealth for a while and loved it but the work is tiring, the homes can be gross, and the responsibility is very high. Good luck.
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    I also don't recommend that new grads go into home health unless they've have prior nursing experience as a LVN. In home health you are on your own with little to no support. There's no coworkers to help you out, no code team to come swarming in, and no charge nurse or supervisor to step in if you're unsure or overwhelmed: if there's a crisis or emergency it's all on YOU.

    Take that, along with the fact that you're still learning everything that a new grad needs to learn (assessment, time management, prioritization) and IMO, it's asking for trouble. A lot of new grads crash in flames in home health. If you were a prior LVN, at least you'd have actual nursing experience to fall back on and wouldn't be starting from scratch.

    That being said, there are some agencies that will take on new grads and give them a decent training, and some new grads start in home health, thrive and do very well. Also, in this job market, new grads can't afford to be picky about what jobs do come along. However I would still advise against it because of your inexperience, but that is my opinion.

    I'd suggest you try to get hired on now in a hospital as a CNA/tech. That will give you an income and get your foot into the hospital door; however keep in mind that being a CNA is no longer the guarantee of a RN job that it used to be. It can improve your chances though.

    Best of luck in the job hunt!
  7. 1
    You can mitigate not having experience for a home health position by working in extended care rather than a visit position. Extended care cases consist of providing routine care for stable patients. I have seen many nurses walk into this role right out of school and they are able to do well.
    PrincessRN101 likes this.
  8. 0
    how about working as a home health aide in the mean time for healthcare experience? I know I can try CNA at a hospital but so far i have been hearing other class mates saying that they are getting NO call backs for those positions. Just trying to think of a plan here. Stupid August graduation!
  9. 0
    I know several people that went into Home Health as new grad RNs because they couldn't find a hospital job and they liked it for the most part. They worked alongside experienced RNs for the first month or two. It all depends on the agency you go to. Some are great and some are sub-par. They complain about disorganization, but they're still working there a couple days a week even though they have now gotten hospital jobs - so it must not be that bad. I'd say go for it - it will boost your resume and gets you into the field.
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    Certified Nursing Assistant or Certified Home Health Aide certificate is needed to be hired. Most states allow those with nursing education to apply for certification or licensure without taking class or test. Perform an internet search your "state + Certified Home Health Aide Certification" to find requirements. You can private message me if you need further assistance --include state you desire practice.
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    I don't think Texas requires certification for hone health aides. my mom has been doing it for about half a year now and she isn't certified. she is a medical assistant and phlebotomist, but they still hired her. most of them don't have any additional education at all, according to the home health agencies.


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