Is private duty nursing a stable job? Options for LPN's?

Specialties Private Duty


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Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

Private duty peds is always crying for help in my area. I have a couple LPN friends who get full-time hours and then some, and if their client is hospitalized, there's always a vacant shift waiting to be picked up. ESP if you are willing to do night shift.

Kitiger, RN

1,828 Posts

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics.

I have happily worked private duty peds for around 30 years. I try to never have only one client at a time. When your client is in the hospital, or moves, or whatever, you'll have fewer hours, and sometimes it will take several weeks to get in with another case. I work 3 agencies, because I have followed clients when they switched agencies. It is less convenient, but I do keep an average of 40 hours/week, usually 36 to 44 hours/week. Right now, I have 40 hours/week as a regular schedule, plus an extra 4 hours every other week.

You can't work paycheck to paycheck, and expect it to end well. When you get extra hours, always bank 'em.


23 Posts

I live in the same area (work in gardens, live in Wellington) that you mention. I work at an assisted living that only hires LPNs and 1 RN supervisor. Have her look into Brookdale. There are a lot of locations around here.


1 Post

Hey, I have had great success in home health nursing. I work for a big agency and the work is there. it is definitely worth dipping her toes into to see what is available where she lives. i work 46-55 hours a week with one client. i know that may be rare but its been going on for about a year. Good luck!


7 Posts

I'm an LPN, I worked assisted livings most of my career. I loved it. There is plenty of work. They usually have an in house RN and a doctor that is always on call. I absolutely loved it. Some have great benefit and a good working environment. I wish her lots of luck. Please keep us updated on her choice of change.


23 Posts

I agree with your mother. Private duty, or home health care, is VERY unreliable. I have worked for agencies who say "We have SO much work we could really use you", and then I only end up with 4 hours a week?????? Its frustrating and unreliable. You can have a case one day and the next week they will end your services with them. There were sometimes when I would show up to my patients home and she would be in the hospital and I would not even get so much as a phone call to give me a heads up. When this happened, I do not get paid. The one plus that I can say that there is with private duty is that you tend to get paid more and it is more flexible. so....yeah I think your mom is right. She is very blessed to be working in a hospital still as an LPN. I am living in the Tampa area now and none of the hospitals, except for the VA, have any LPN's anymore. The hospitals around here are even skeptical of hiring a RN with a ASN degree instead of a BSN degree.

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health.

I put my oldest child through college by working in-home assignments. Of course, it was through 2 separate agencies and I also worked nursing homes and hospitals through those agencies. I logged 16-hour days except weekends and Wednesdays. It was awesome receiving 8-10 paychecks (5 weeks in some months) per month! My LPN years were off the chain!!:uhoh3::uhoh3::uhoh3: But, those years were paired with 8-hour shifts, a burning desire to shop til I dropped, hungry yunguns, and most importantly, youth! Had I already worked 40 years, I'd be exhausted and thankful just to be able to sit and wait for whatever crumbs the government was throwing my way.:dead: Your mother is a strong one!:up: Forty years in acute care is no stroll in the park....Memory Lane has become Elm Street (as in Nightmare on...). I applaud her for even considering any option other than retirement!


401 Posts

Specializes in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics.

To the original poster:

- You mentioned your mother was looking to get into something a little bit less strenuous than hospital nursing. As others have mentioned, Private Duty (Pediatric) is relatively easy (especially night shift). However, the hours/pay are quite unstable (hospitalization, vacations, who knows?).

Pay runs around $25/hour with no benefits (for an RN). Might get an extra $1 or $2 per hour if kid is on a vent/trache. Usually, the client will sleep the entire night. Perfect, if she wants to hit the books for school.

- I would never work Peds days, as you will be getting the autistic kids to start (as no one wants them). These kids have super/extreme behavior issues, and will leave you pulling your hair out.

- You will also get cancelled by mom for no reason at all. Some mothers switch their peds nurses every 2 or 3 months. Some will ask you not to return, again for no reason. You'll work for a client for a year or two, and then whamo, out of the blue, be asked not to return. No reason will be given.

- If there are any complaints against you. Then you are basically put on hold by the agency (no pay / no work), while the agency investigates. Even for little things, like a parent reporting that they found food in the patient's bed (some of

the patient's do eat ... and you do feed them oral foods). The simplest thing will take a week or two to investigate, which means you get pulled off all of your shifts (even other accounts), until the situation is resolved.

- God forbid, a parent accuses you of child/sexual abuse. You'll be out of work for 6 months while everyone investigates. Longer, if the parent might have an actual case. Happened to a friend of mine last year.

- Be absolutely, positively sure to carry your own ($200/year give or take $50).


- That being said, I would recommend looking at getting into a hospice group. At least here, you are guaranteed a set number of hours (usually full-time). Some will offer a company car as well. Best part is that there are travel nurse opportunities which pay full benefits, housing, and better pay (would need a year's hospice experience). This doesn't mean your mom would have to travel, as there may be travel opportunities right in her own locale. You just never know.


- If your mom decides to go the pediatrics route. I would recommend the night shift. I would recommend signing on with 2 or 3 agencies. Even if she only works for 2 of the agencies, she can keep the 3rd one in reserve (already have the human resources paperwork and orientation completed), so that if work slows down/stops at one agency, she can immediately bounce to the other one and start picking up shifts.

You have to be extremely flexible. She will probably start out as a float, and bounce between 6 or 7 clients until something opens up.

She will see the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. She will see kids that have parents who truly care. She will see situations where the place hasn't been cleaned since the Civil War, and will wonder why CPS hasn't taken the kid. She'll see 80 year old grandparents who should be getting ready to die, taking care of 4 or 5 kids, because the mom is divorced and a total crack addict. Each of the kids will have a different daddy, all of whom are in jail and out of the picture.

- Such is the realm of pediatric private duty nursing.

Hope this helps.


1 Post

I've been working peds private duty for about 3 years now and it's always been stable for me BUT I've been working between 2 agencies for about 1 of those 3 years and I literally only work like no more than 1 or 2 days with my kids and like I said I've always been stable plus I like it this way I learn a lot more and don't get bored for example Sunday kid A

monday kid B tue kid c Friday kid A again I do home health visits also all in all I average 68 hours a week BUT I also am not married and I'm childless so..


401 Posts

Specializes in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics.
I'm a PDN and I have made the most money doing this. Yes, it isn't as stable as being in a facility but the pay off is well worth it. I make 3x more then when I was in the hospital. There are very little books that can help you start and its hard to get another nurse to help you start the process. There is one book I got on amazon a few weeks ago that helped me to find my client. The author name is Tara Hines and she is actually a LPN. The book is called "private duty nursing how to make 6 figures" or something like that. I don't know everything about being a PDN but I know for sure once I get my feet really wet, I will come back and let you ladies know more details. Just buy books online about PDN and start because the money is there ladies

Sounds like you are working as an independent contractor, as opposed to going through a third-party agency (e.g., Epic, Interim, Bayada, etc.).

I definitely would like to hear how you got set up to do this. Please tell us more.

Thanks in advance.


1 Post

I loved private duty peds care but had to leave because it was so unstable. I had 40 PTO hours a year wheeee which quickly used to get a check when my patient was hospitalized for two weeks mea IMG I couldn't work. It was also hard to get the random "oh, you can home early today, we"re going up north" knowing that I would never get to make thoseo hours up. If you're looking for a fun job on the side, have at- but don't if you're looking for a steady source of income to support your mail checks. Some checks were $1200, others were $600....and occasionally, $0.


119 Posts

Depends on your state and the counties your agency/ies cover. To be continously busy, you will have to register with more than one, upgrade your skills and learn to market yourself. Where I am, the need for skilled in home care nursing is enormous. If willing, you can clock 60-70 hours weekly. Client needs surpass the number of nurses agencies can provide, and sadly some kids end up without a nurse when they desparately need one.

There's definitely $$$ to be made in PDN if you avail yourself and remain flexible.

Also school districts have been contracting with PDN agencies to staff their "special classes" with kids of medical needs like G-Tubes, Resp issues, etc. The most need is in large, urban inner city areas. Talking, networking with other nurses really helps in getting to know opportunities out there.

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