? about experience needed to do HH



I am a new nurse; graduated one year ago in May.

I've been working in the emergency room as a nurse this past year.

I'm wondering what experience you would reccommend for an RN to have before getting into home health. I am very interested in it......and am wondering, besides the ER, where would be a good unit to work in to gain experience. Was thinking about post surgical........but not sure.


Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

I am only a graduate nurse, but I would say med surg since a lot of the home health patients are discharged from there. That way you would have experience with ostomies, wounds, and IV therapy.



38,333 Posts

I have worked for home hlth agencies that have hired nurses with little to no experience at all. As a matter of fact, I was hired for a specific case when I was still in school (but I had my LPN license).

With one year experience in ER, you would be considered experienced enough for hire. Any acute care experience, especially med surg, is what they are looking for. The way to go about this is to insist that you get very thorough orientations for your duties. Ask to shadow a preceptor. I recommend doing shift work with the same one or two cases, with a thorough orientation to each case. You will be shown the shift routine for the patients and will be able to get used to what you are doing. Most families are very good about helping new nurses. So you are not really alone in most cases. Be sure to ask for a case that would be suitable for someone new to home health, and with a supportive family. This helps.

The paperwork routine can easily be shown to you in an office orientation. If you do intermittent visits, rather than shift work, try going out with another nurse for several days before you go on your own.

Most are apprehensive about hh because they are new to nursing with no viable experience. When you get a proper, thorough orientation to the cases you will find that you can pick up on what you need to do. And of course, if you run into questions or problems in the field, your supervising staff is available on the phone. Good luck with your choices. Hope you like hh.


696 Posts

Specializes in Lie detection. Has 20 years experience.

I am one that feels you need years of experience before venturing out into Home health. I'm talking about visit type of HH.

Even with a great orientation, there is no substitute for experience. I have very little equipment to back me up. I have my eyes, ears, my years of knowledge and experience behind me when I walk into a patient's house. That experience has served me well. No way as a new nurse would I ever feel confident taking care of these patients. No Way.

My agency won't hire without 2 yrs. of acute hopsital experience and I think that's a good thing. It's for the benefit of the patients after all.

And for us too. Would a new nurse want a malpractice suit because she didn't know what she was doing? Un uh. JMO.


47 Posts

Thanks for the advice, guys.....yea, I'm thinking the more experience the better. Cuz you are all alone out there, and I definitely want to be able to be able to assess and answer questions and know what the heck I'm doing when I'm out there!! I guess it's odd to go from ER to med surg or post surg.....but that is how I am leaning to gain more core experience.

Thanks again :~)


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