I've been a private duty nurse for a little over two years now. I've worked for three different agencies, but PDN is my only experience in healthcare.
Hospitals around here wouldn't hire a new nurse who had no experience in healthcare. If I had known, I would have worked as a PCA/PCT during nursing school
-- that would have counted as "healthcare experience" and I could have been hired into a hospital as a new grad.
Now that I have two years under my belt, I put my application in and got a job offer after my very first interview (I start orientation on Monday).
So in my area (Michigan), PDN is considered "healthcare experience".
Job availability is very regional... living in a state where lots of people want to live will mean that it's harder to get a job in general. (Nobody wants to live in Michigan!)