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Scary Territory


Specializes in Transitional Care, Home Care. Has 2 years experience.

I recently started my first job in Home Health doing home visits for one of the best hospital associated agencies in my area. So far it is a challenge but I'm really enjoying it and I could see it being my niche. Unfortunately I just found out that the territory they are giving me includes ALL of the worst parts of town. Seriously, my territory looks like someone took a crime map of my city and drew an S shape around all of the neighborhoods with the highest rates of shootings, burglary, rape, and assault.

I know nursing is hard and I expect to face challenges everyday. So far in my nursing career I have prided myself in being a person who doesn't complain about the assignments given to me but honestly I don't want to spend all day everyday in neighborhoods that I am usually nervous to even drive through. I also don't want to start my new job (that I love) as the complainer.

So here is my dilemma; should I tell my nurse manager that I'm not comfortable with this assignment and if so how should I approach it?

Are you reasonably nervous to even drive through it?

Home health nurses in general need to not be timid in nature but if bystanders are actually being assaulted in the area then I would insist on an escort. If it's just blighted aesthetically and there hasn't been violence against bystanders then you may not have the personality for job.

Nrsasrus, ASN, RN

Specializes in Transitional Care, Home Care. Has 2 years experience.

Thanks for your insights Libby1987.

I'm not afraid of ugly neighborhoods and I am certainly not timid. I am however afraid gang violence and it is very evident statistically that bad things happen in this part of town due to a prevalence of gang violence.

So, how do you all think I should approach this if I talk to my manager?


Specializes in Hospice and Palliative Nurse.

Here are my tips...

I would advise you to always listen to your "inner voice". If it feels wrong, then it is. Leave the area and call your office.

I use to carry a sign for my dash that read, " visiting nurse, carries no drugs or needles".

Carry a Mace or pepper spray product (check your laws). If that is illegal, wasp spray works just as well and will reach 20 feet. Carry it visibly.

Walk confidently, make eye contact and if someone gets in your space, tell them to back off! Do no worry about being "impolite".

Make the worst areas, your early morning visits. Most criminal types sleep in generally.

The neighborhoods will get to know you eventually. Ask the local police to "park" on the street you are visiting if possible.

If you are a praying person, ask for protection as you do your visits.

Do not be shy about asking for an escort. I had armed escorts in some areas.

Good luck, you can do this!! :)

PS: the folks in these neighborhoods REALLY appreceiate the visits!

Edited by Nashvillejeanne

If there is a problem with gang and other individual violence in your service area the agency will be aware of it and should have a policy/procedure to follow if violence is a possibility. Your safety is the also the responsibility of your employer.

Please look for the P/P and then utilize that information to insure that you feel safe in your visits.

If the thought of even trying it out using the advice given above does not seem possible, or if, when talking to your supervisor about the situation, you still feel very uncomfortable, then you should seek employment elsewhere. You can expect yourself to just go so far to accommodate a situation. You can't expect to put yourself in mental or physical jeopardy on a daily basis.

If you got the impression that you are taking over the 'bad' areas that no one else will cover, you are most likely right. There is a good reason why the other nurses don't work in those areas.

realnursealso/LPN, LPN

Specializes in Peds Homecare. Has 34 years experience.

I worked in the rather bad area of the city. I did shift nursing, not visits. But, everyone in the complex knew I was the little ones nurse. They knew which one was my car. Everyone treated me with kindness and respect. And if someone new moved in, they were filled in very quickly by my little patients parents. I never had any trouble at that case, or any of the other ones in "bad neighborhoods". It was actually refreshing to be treated so nicely. Now I can't quaruntee that it will always go this way for you, but it may just surprise you.