home health as new grad or wait it out?


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41 Posts

Feel free to wait it out... I hear the economy is better these days. But I hope you have free rent and a hobby to kill time with.

I graduated '09 and spend the next 2 years handing in job applications and playing video games. Now I've been underemployed in home health for the last 3 years. It's good work, gratifying pt interactions, very flexable schedule, but low pay.

The patients are generally stable, so it's OK to

1) assess the pt (KNOW YOU HEAD TO TOE),

2) go home and document (ASAP!!!!! you should buy wireless internet card or tether your laptop so you can document in car),

3) realize you forgot something vital, or tell your boss you don't know what's going on,

4) and then make a phone call, or schedule another PRN visit tomorrow and fix whatever you screwed up on.

That pretty much sums up every visit I made in the first 6 months of my job.

-It was crazy stressful, but in school they said that's what your 1st year will be. say goodbye to your friends for awhile. the schedule is just like school - you're not always busy, but you always have **** hanging over your head

-you must be able to look stuff up and teach yourself. google "how to google well" and learn how to find stuff. My school books got more action on the job than in school.

-photo consents and a WOCN co-worker who you can text the wound photos to are a must.

-review head to toe assessment over and over.

-every time you document anything... run it through ADPIE. then call the pt to tell them what you forgot during your visit. and act like you're going the extra mile, not making up for something you forgot. They love that!

-prove that you're worth it, then DEMAND HOURLY PAY! per diem is ******** (Assuming you're RN? LVN does better perdiem) and you'll end up making $10/hour. just being on hold with the VA phone system will kill your hourly rate if you're RN.


2 Posts

I started HH a year after graduation, looking back now I wish I had waited for more experience, but with that said I had a wonderful friend I could call with questions 24/7, she was very experienced. 18 years later I'm still doing home health and loving it. Good luck.


3,726 Posts

In California there is a conditional type of arrangement that agencies can make to hire nurses with less than a year's experience (or is it 2 yrs?). We have a new grad, she had three months in skilled nursing, she is exceptionally sharp, she was given a strong orientation and has a weekly supervisory visit for a year with a lot of support from management and field staff for clinical discussion and problem-solving. It's still very challenging and you really need to look at it like an internship where you're able to give it your full focus and energy ie limited personal life for at least a year.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.
if you are/were an experienced HH nurse, what is your opinion on a new grad starting out in HH?

My opinion is no. I think of the situations I've walked into in home health- taking one glance at the patient and knowing 911 needed to be called, going in for a simple med compliance visit and realizing the patient's family had diluted her valium and CPS would need to be contacted immediately, taking vitals and noting a temp of 104 on Xmas Eve on a child (on chemotherapy) who needs to go to the ER right away but whose mother has no transportation and no desire to spend Christmas in the hospital and knowing everything that would need to happen/everyone who would need to be notified to ensure that this will happen (on the weekend) and this child will be safe.

You can't learn everything in school that you need to be a nurse. I do not think home health is the right place for a new grad.