Experienced Private Duty Nurses

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    To all those experienced private duty nurses, what usually happens during a first-time visit with the family requesting private duty nursing? What has your experiences been like? Tell me the good, bad, and ugly details...it's better that I know now!


    I accepted a case as a private duty nurse and this will be my first adventure within this kind of field! I've read through some past threads and I feel as though I have a pretty good grasp of "the red flags" to beware of with family caretakers. (Thank goodness for allnurses.com!!) I know that it's just a half-hour meet-and-greet but I am a bit anxious about it. I have no idea what to expect for a first-time meeting. It's either sink or swim--right?
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    The 1st visit is so they can see you This is what my current clients Mom said, she wants to see what you look like Actually, it is a get acquainted meeting to see if both sides are acceptable to work together. You might walk in and say OMG ! I could never work here !! Or, you may feel right at home, and the family will have their feelings about you as well. If you're not certain if you are hired, that they do want you to work, make sure that you ask before you leave. Some families are not used to hiring. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions if you have many. After you are warmed up to the family/client, ask if you can see the chart/book. It will give you a good idea of the organization of the case. I don't believe it's sink or swim, one of my previous cases took me an hour and a half to figure out if I wanted to work it. I took the case, it lasted 1.5 yrs. Which is good/ok. You will get a feeling during the interview, if you think it is for you or not. If you really think not...trust your instinct !! Good luck
    Selene006 likes this.
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    You can expect to get questioned closely about your experience working with children in general and specifically those with the patient's conditions. Or, the parents are so desperate for someone to start that you barely get shown where the diapers are before the question, "you can stay to work this shift, can't you?" Some agencies will send you out only to meet the parents the first time. Others will send you out an hour or two before your first scheduled shift, with the expectation that the orientation and meeting will go well and you will work the shift. If things are not satisfactory, you will not return to the case. All is dependant upon the expectation that all will go well on this first meeting. If private duty, you set up your first meeting and if all goes well, the agreement is made and you draw up the contract.
    Selene006 likes this.
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    Thank you caliotter3 and BillyMae for your responses! The meeting went well and within 20 minutes, the client's family was already asking me when I could start working! The home was clean, and there was already a nurse taking care of the client, so I was able to ask her about her experiences with the client and look at the chart.

    Has any of you ever walked into a case and realized that you would need a back brace? Does your company fit and provide you with one?

    The client is less than 50 pounds and I watched the guardian transfer the client effortlessly from the wheelchair to the bed by picking her up. The client tends to flail around and kick as well during transfer. The guardian's posture looked ok, but I question my ability to do this multiple times throughout the day. I will be making my needs known tomorrow to the company that I work for.
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    Transfers of heavy clients can be a tricky problem. You have to be careful not to allow yourself to be put into a position where you might hurt yourself. Only one agency ever offered me (as a CNA/HHA) those braces; they aren't really good, they only 'remind' you to use proper posture. I have gone beyond what is reasonable in transferring, but the nursing supervisor told me quite forcefully, that since there was a Hoyer lift present, if I hurt myself, there would be no worker's comp for me. At another case, the parent told me the Hoyer lift was stored out of the way in the garage. Many family members make themselves available to help with transfers, or will even do the transfer for you. If you are expected to do heavy transfers with no assistance, you probably should find another case.
    Selene006 likes this.
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    Hi there, back from vacation In my experience, private-duty for a child will make a person strong !! As you get to know the child and how they tend to move, you'll know if it is safe for you to manage. Use good ergonomics, your legs will get strong. If you aren't comfortable with the lifting and transfers, don't do it without help or a lift. This may sound crazy, but I cared for a spastic quad for almost 2 yrs., we basically threw her over our shoulder and carried her like a sack of potatoes, she weighed 95 lbs !! Carried her all the way out to the car ! I got very strong, and I'm >50 yrs. old
    Selene006 likes this.
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    Thank you for all of the responses! I greatly appreciate it!
    I contacted my home care agency and while they do not provide back braces, I was told that they would reimburse me if I did purchase one.
    I had my first official day of work a couple of days ago and I am still digesting whether or not I want to continue with the assignment! The client is in the process of being toilet-trained, and so my ENTIRE day consisted of transferring her to the commode every hour for approximately 30 min. I lost track of how many times I transferred her from the bed to the commode and from the commode to the wheelchair, and from the commode to the bed. I kept reminding myself all the while that this assignment is waaaaaaaay better than having the 30 patients at the nursing home!
    However, I think I'm still adjusting to this kind of intimate environment and I will give myself time to become more comfortable.
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    duplicate message
    Last edit by Selene006 on Aug 17, '10 : Reason: duplicate
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    Well, it sounds like you've had no problem with lifting, that is good The potty training thing may or may not work, time will tell. And, you are definitely right about doing this over and over, opposed to LTC resident ratio's !! Private-duty isn't for everybody, you'll know if you like it or not, but give it some time. There is as great a need as in LTC, for nurses. If you make a difference in only one families life, that is something special. With any case it can take some time to find that comfortable connection, try to keep it professional though and maintain proper boundaries, (important). I'd be interested for an occasional update, if you don't mind Good luck !!!


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