Published Mar 4, 2017
I recently interviewed for an RN position working in group homes. I'd be responsible for 3 houses. I was wondering what you like most about working in this type of setting and what you dislike? What is the most stressful part of the job?
I've worked in group homes for over a decade now. At the moment I'm working in one home 13 hour nights caring for 2 individuals. I've had up to 3 homes but, the other 2 homes I just stopped in for an hour or so before or after my shift at my main home. There aren't nurses in the home all the time but, there is a nurse on call 24/7. Likes: I love the environment, I love that the patients can live semi independently in their own homes, I really get to know my patients, It's not an overly stressful job. Dislikes: most group homes employee unlicensed support staff and that's not necessarily a problem most of the time but, it can be. For some people their few days of training is the first time they've ever seen a bedpan, changed a brief or lifted a patient etc. There can be a lot of staff turnover. In my home after training they can do things like change a colostomy bag and orally suction and some go on to get med tech training. Occasionally I feel that some staff don't take their responsibilities seriously like following the Mar or procedures like ordered or they don't see a medical need arising. I'm not trying to say they're incapable, these aren't everyday issues, just issues that come up from time to time.
For me even though the dislikes can be frustrating at times, the likes far outweigh the dislikes. I love the community environment and the relationship I have with my patients.
The most stressful and heartbreaking part of the job is that this population gets dismissed a lot. Especially by some Drs. It's heartbreaking and absolutely infuriating when a Dr comes in and takes a look at someone and recommends that we don't treat an ailment because, they have no quality of life. (This has happened with several of my patients) They don't see that even though the person in question may be non verbal and in a wheelchair that they have family, friends and pets they love, are happy and for the most part seem to thoroughly enjoy their lives.
NurseLife88, ADN, RN
So I'm a newbie nurse too but have over a decade of experience in working in group homes/ residential care facility settings. I would say some of the best things about this type of work is that you really get to know your patients more so than a lot of other settings. You play a major role in all activities of their daily living and are a major influence in their over all health and well-being. You are often relied upon to be first line defense in a sense. A lot of these places have few nurses and far more in house trained and unlicensed professionals, but in my many years of experience these workers are some of the most under recognized ones in healthcare. These direct support professionals as they are usually called are a great bunch to work with most of the time and often helpful to the nurses they work with. But because of this you also tend to be the only actual health professional so assessment and critical thinking skills are much needed. You may have high or low patient loads depending on how many people may live in one home or if you go the RCF route but it is still nothing like what the stories I hear about LTC,etc. The job itself can be stressful at times but not any more than average. And probably number one thing I loved was being able to watch them grow learn and change even when faced with such difficult challenges. Now some things I didn't like. Because you know them so well you often know of the horror stories that brought them there in the first place so that's always hard( although this definitely isnt always the case its just these ones stick with you.) Also there can be high potential for violence in certain places because of the vast array of behavioral and mental health problems likely to be encountered as co morbidities. It's also hard to see the politics of how some of these places are run but that's anywhere really. And I also say probably the hardest part is the way these patients are often treated so differently than others deemed "normal" and dismissed so easily as the poster above stated. Its assumed because of their disabilities they have little to no quality of life, or that they are not capable of having feelings, making decisions, etc. which is so far from true. I have seen so many times where they are dismissed solely based on a disability that by no means defines them. Its so sad to know some have little to no control over their daily lives because they are deemed incompetent without ever having an actual chance. This is the most heartbreaking and frustrating part of working with these patients in particular. But their resilience will amaze you. I feel like in this area you feel like you have actually made a difference. It's not for everyone but if you find you love it, it may be hard to leave! Best of luck!
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