Burnt out and just getting started

Specialties Home Health


I am a new SOC nurse, and new to HH. I am already feeling extremely burnt out. I spend my day driving around hunting patients who about half the time won't answer their phone, don't want me to come until afternoon or aren't home and we have to make 3 attempts before we can finally call their Doctor and say we can't get a hold of them/they aren't returning calls.

The driving isn't a big deal, the problem is that patients are hard to get a hold of and sometimes the information is bad or they end up being a duplication of services etc...there just seems to be a lot of problems getting my 2 to 3 SOC's a day. On top of this, I spend ALL my evening charting my SOCs - and there is so much duplication it's maddening. I have to have the patient sign twice in my computer but then sign a paper copy of the contract, then fill out multiple paper forms, then I have to send a report email to multiple people and part of the information from the patient packet received (and forwarded to all the people on the report email) I still have to type out in the report. It's tedious and frustrating.

My husband is getting very irritated which is unusual for him, he's usually really laid back. I spend zero time with him in the evening because I'm charting until bedtime, stressed out and don't have time to do basic things for myself such as go to the store to get snacks to put in my car!

How is anyone doing this day to day? I like the job, I HATE the unrealistic expectations and fact that I work hours and hours five days per week. I want a life, I want to be able to come home and RELAX, to de-compress and rejuvenate myself. I want to go to the gym, go to dinner with my husband or be able to run to the store. Is anyone doing start of care in HH able to have a life? Why is it so hard to find a good paying job that isn't made more stressful then it should be, full of drama or their is bad management who doesn't care if they work you into the ground? :(

Specializes in cardiac/education.

...and, as stated, apparently every single job in nursing is exactly AT LEAST one year of brutal torture before anything gets better (if it does). I just laugh at home much we see this in these forums! A year is a loooooonnnnnggggg time when you are stressed and hating your life. Hugs again!

I feel every single bit of your pain. When I read your words, I would think I wrote them myself. I have been doing home health for 9 years and now that I doubt being able to continue this crazy pace I am expected to put up with. I would LOVE to go back to hospital nursing. Now, that I have been away from hospital nursing for 9 years, ALL the experience I have gained over the years does not matter anymore. I don't have the recent experience being required now. I am so tired of dragging my butt through the door only to face another 3 hours of charting that I still have to do. I am frustrated concerning the "princesses in the ivory tower" seeing the world through a computer screen calling shots on what I am expected to do. I too have no life. I have lost tract of all my past times to enjoy life. Everytime I turn around I have to be on call which actually is just a 12 day stretch of work days.

I can completely see how this is reality. I've been in HH for 4 months and I think the charting is just the nature of the beast. It's like I'm never away from work, ever. I really don't want to go back to the hospital, I've applied for the county, I really hope I can get something else before going back to acute care.

I've been a home health nurse for 23 years. Some people will tell you it gets better, that you should just power through your charting, that it's your fault for not getting it all done during the day. However, unless you are a completely disorganized mess, I highly doubt the blame lies solely with you. For one thing, it doesn't sound like the company you work for has their act together. The place where I work now is exponentially better than two I worked for previously, and some of the things you mentioned just never happen where I am now. Add to that the fact that two or three starts of care a day is a lot of paperwork that takes a bunch of time. Add time actually spent with the patient, calling physicians, reporting to other staff, driving there, etc. etc. and you can easily go over eight hours.

Even after all of these years, I only do minimal charting in the home. I keep notes of pertinent information and then do notes @ the end of the day. Frankly, I think it's rude and slightly disrespectful to open up my laptop and start typing during a visit, when I should be listening or doing wound care, etc. I hate it when my Dr. does it, and I won't do it to my own patients. So be it--I'm not going to change that practice now. Plus, I always want to make certain I get my visits done while the Dr.'s offices are still open, so I can get problems resolved when I find them.

All that being said, as I noted, I've been doing this for 23 years. There are tradeoffs in this profession, and I'll take the extra paperwork in exchange for time to see patients one-on-one, not be on my feet for 12 hours at a time, and have (for me) a greater certainty that I'm positively affecting a patient's life. I never really felt that during the 8 years I worked in the hospital. If you do feel like you enjoy the work somewhat, you may want to look for a job at another company just to see if it's any better. At the very least, keep close track of your time at work for a week or so. Write everything down--including every phone call, text or email, all the time spent driving, hunting for information, etc. Perhaps there are some things your employer may be willing to change. It's worth a shot.

Me? I'm looking to retire. But I'll never regret staying in home care, despite its drawbacks.

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