I love home health nursing. I'm not sure what other type of nursing I could ever see myself doing. I love the impact I can have over my patient's health as well as the independence of it.
That being said when you go from a nursing job in a facility to being in home health you are on quite a learning curve. You don't have anyone on a unit with you to help guide you so there are some qualities that will help someone have an easier time with this. You need to reach out when you have questions as soon as you have them, you can't allow yourself to get buried. You have to be disciplined with paperwork. You also need to be able to think through what to do in new situations.
There is paperwork at home. If I see 5-6 patients, which my agency considers a full time day, I work 5-6 hours depending on how far apart my patients are and why I'm seeing them. That leaves 2-3 hours (to equal an 8 hour day). Now, if I sit and just do my paperwork then my total working time may be 8 hours or less. The Oasis forms take longer than a regular visit note, but I also get paid more for them. I get paid per visit so I am not paid separately for charting time. I feel my visit rate is fair and what I get paid per visit covers my time for the visit and charting, most of the time. I make a pretty decent salary and I work just shy of full time.
The miles you drive depends on what area you work in. I work in a suburban area for a pretty decent size agency. I drive an average of 30-40 miles per day. If you work for a smaller agency or cover a rural area you will drive more. If you are home health you drive, it goes with the job. Ask what area you will be covering before accepting a job and understand if census is low you could end up covering an area that is farther from you in order to see your required number of patients.
When I first started with my company I didn't get much orientation, but there is someone else running the agency now and they give an adequate amount of orientation. Everything you ever run into will never be able to be covered in orientation. Patient's love to give us surprises. This is where you need to be able to use your nursing process and be the type of person that will call someone to ask for help.
My agency is a reputable one. We follow Medicare rules and are very highly regarded in the community. There are a lot of bad agencies out there so research the agency before you work for them. Find out what the local hospital's preferred agencies are to refer to.
Since it sounds like you are undecided about home health maybe consider a per diem job to try it out before making the jump.