Have any of you gone straight into home health or ONLY had home health experience?

Specialties Home Health


I am somewhat of a newbie graduate and I obviously don't have much experience. It seems I will not be landing my dream job anytime soon. But I cannot help but to notice that the FEW available nursing positions are in home health.I know of a few agencies that do not require experience, either. They actually do not pay too shabby.

However, as a newbie nurse, I am concerned about taking one of these jobs. I'll be frank. The economy is awful, right now, and I just really need to start working in the next few months. I do have a "reserve" (savings account), but I don't want to rely on that for too long. Right now is nice. I am taking care of things, spending time with family..etc. But I am going to become aggressive about applying for nursing positions in the next couple of weeks.

Most nurses in my area are having an EXTREMELY hard time landing jobs. It's actually really depressing, at times. I wonder if they have considered home health. I just want to ask....did any of you just go straight into home health right out of school? I feel like I will not receive solid experience/skills if I go right into home health. I'm afraid I will be doing myself a disservice. Does anyone care to shed some light on this?


Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

Apparently, there are a few agencies out there who will hire a new grad for home healthcare. However, I feel that they do themselves, the new nurse, and more importantly, the patient a disservice by hiring a new grad.

It can be very challenging to be alone in the patient's home, serving as sole care provider, making decisions without experience to draw upon. I hope that you can hold out for a position that will give you both skills, experience and confidence.

That's kind of what I was thinking roser. How can one possibly gain experience if they take a home health position as their first job?

Specializes in COS-C, Risk Management.

As a home health nurse and clinical supervisor, I would advise you to steer clear of home health, at least the Medicare-paid, intermittent kind. Private duty home health where you are with a stable patient for long periods may be better, but you will still be on your own. Without a solid base of med-surg or geriatric care experience, you do not have the ability to care for home care patients independently. I would be very leary of home care agencies that are willing to hire new grads, it's usually because they have such a poor reputation that they cannot find experienced nurses willing to work for them.

Specializes in Pediatric Cardiology.

I am a new grad and I went straight into private duty nursing. I work with 2 children, 8-10 hours a day. To be honest I am bored (I actually posted a few days back about how I feel like a babysitter) and although I gained a few skills, they pretty much stop there since I see the same kids every week. For me there was NOTHING else. I applied everywhere with no luck. I will stick with it until something better comes along. As they say, any nursing experience is better than none.

PM me if you want any more information.

I started in a home health care and I'm doing okay.

i think it would depend on how stable the patient in home health is.

Specializes in Peds(PICU, NICU float), PDN, ICU.

I started in home health. I wish I could have started differently, but the hospitals in the area don't hire LPN's. I was lucky though. The agency that I started with had a daycare for medically fragile kids that I was able to learn needed skills at. But I only got a week there to learn trach changes, replacing Mic-key buttons, etc. Then I was on my own. But again I got lucky. The daycare for medically fragile kids was inside a regular daycare. They child I was assigned to was in the regular part of the daycare. So even though I was on my own, I could go to the other daycare if I had questions.

Looking back, I see all the things that still could have gone wrong. The agency wasn't supposed to hire me. But they lied to who they needed to and told them I had a year of experience. I didn't find that out until after a year with that agency. At that point it didn't matter. I also never took a case that I wasn't comfortable with. But with the lack of experience I had, how did I know enough to know if it was an "easier case" or if there was something underlying that I wouldn't realize that I didn't know how to deal with.

As time went on, I took some classes on ventilators. Unfortunately in doing private duty, you don't get much time with another experienced nurse with a real patient on a vent. Taking a class and working with a patient are 2 different things. Again, I was lucky. My first couple of vent patients weren't vent dependent. I was able to use what I learned in the classes to apply to working with a real patient without as much danger as a patient that was vent dependent. As I became more familiar with vents and how to handle situations with patients on vents I moved on to vent dependent patients. During that time I was also exposed to all sorts of feeding tubes, types of trachs, types of vents, TPN, IV/ports, etc.

All I can say is that I was lucky considering how much I didn't know. I had no idea what I had gotten in to until I gained experience. In the little bit of time I had with more experienced nurses on the cases I worked, I'd try to learn as much as I could. I would read their notes to learn interventions that I may not have known.

The agencies don't care about their nurses. Most (not all) just want a warm body with a license. The agencies want to make as much as a they can and some of the nurses don't care about the risk because they want to make as much as they can. Its a bad mix. They agencies will try to pressure you in to taking cases you aren't ready for. Its unsafe, but happens all the time.

If you still decide to go with an agency. Ask questions. Don't let them pressure you in to taking a case you aren't comfortable with. Learn as much as you can from whoever you can. If you do peds, quickly figure out if the parent has a clue or not. Some parents are wonderful and very knowledgable. That can be good or bad. If you come across as incompetent those parents will let you go. If you can learn from the parent or have a parent that is a nurse/doctor it will help. If the parent is one who basically stops caring for their child and leaves the child for the nurses then be careful. Sometimes the challenge isn't the nursing skills needed on the case. Sometimes its the skills in dealing with the family. Some family members want you to do things that are against what you are trained to do or request that things are done in a way that is different from what you know. Then there is the drama in the family. All families have drama. If you do choose to do home health, get to know some nurses who have been with the agency for a while or float quite a bit. They will be able to tell you which cases are better for you and which ones to run from. Don't trust the agency to tell you the truth. The agencies will look out for themselves and do everything they can to get you to work the bad cases or fill in for shifts on cases you aren't ready to do. Good luck!

Specializes in Nursing & Rehab.


May I ask what agency do you work for and where are you located? I am from Boca Raton FL. I am a new grad trying to find a job for the past month without any responses. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

I started in a home health care and I'm doing okay.

Thanks SDALPN...such a helpful answer.

Also--blackhearted..is this your first position? How do you feel about it? I really wanted to avoid home health because I feel I need the experience..but I may have to take a home health position before I am able to land something else. The economy is just so bad right now. Hmmm

Specializes in Peds(PICU, NICU float), PDN, ICU.

May I ask what agency do you work for and where are you located? I am from Boca Raton FL. I am a new grad trying to find a job for the past month without any responses. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

I'm not working right now. I'm actually looking for work. I have just over 5.5 years of experience in home health/agency nursing. Was just trying to help. Even with experience, finding work is tough right now. good luck to you.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Home health.

I'm a new grad and started in home health. I'm in the same boat as pedilove. I have 2 kids i work with and am soo bored, one of them i defiantly feel challenges me, which is why the agency assigned me to her, so i can get experience but still have a stable patient. I've learned about vents and changed trachs but mostly its just changing diapers, i'm a glorified babysitter. If you can't find anything i'd say go for it. its not ideal but you will be trained and they won't give you a patient you can't handle

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