STRESS LEVEL: Home health VS Hospital job

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in Mental Health, OB, Geriatric clinicals.

I'm a new nurse of 8 months. I currently work on an orthopedic med/surg telemetry floor. Last night I had 9 patients to myself and two other nurses who are newer nurses than I am had 8 and 9 patients each. This isn't a frequent occurence (twice in 8 months for me) but in general the stress level for me is very high. I'm always going home wondering 'did I do everything I needed to do??'.

I'm wondering, is home health a less stressful environment? I realize nursing can be stressful no matter where you are working but in general I would think home health would be better. I really enjoyed it during my clinicals and I think my personality would go well with home health.

Any opinions would be appreciated!

While Home Health does have it's stresses, I found it much, much better than a hospital!!!!!


Specializes in ER.

The stressor for me if I ever do home health would be the driving. I can't stand being lost!! Also I live in an area that gets dumped with snow 4 months of the year. I have a friend who does home health and she said going into dangerous areas of the city is a concern as well. But she did mention they do provide a body guard if requested. By otherwise I think home health would be much better than the hospital.

I recently went to home care full time, and I would say that it's less stressful in some ways, but still stressful. I had 5 years nursing experience, and I would definitely recommend at least 1-2 years experience on med-surg before going to home care. You are out there on your own, and patients have a lot of questions, and expect you to have answers for them. While you do have educational resources to provide them, they don't want you to be reading them, they expect you to be knowledgeable. You also do a lot of complex wound care and blood draws, so you want your skills there to be up to par as well. If you work for a company that does OASIS, there is A LOT of paperwork. Our admission packets are 36 pages long and 6 pages of orders. I would say I have at least 1 hour of paperwork per night. On the upside, I work M-F 8-3 or 4ish, and come home to do 1-2 hours of paperwork per night. I'm on call 3 days per month, usually 2 evenings (4-8PM) and 1 weekend shift. We work less holidays in home care than in the hospital. So the scheduling is much better. I still come home stressed. I love my home care job, but it can still be stressful at times. PM me if you have any questions.

I would stay on med surg for at least one yr. Most HH agencies want a year of experience. Good luck to you

The least stressful area of home health is extended care, or shift work, also known as continuous care, as opposed to intermittent visits. You work a shift of usually four to eight, 10, or 12 hours with one stable patient, providing routine care. You only have to drive to the one address for your shift and you produce one nurses note for the shift. You are paid for the hours on your shift. No fuss, no muss, for the most part, especially if you get a pleasant, cooperative family. You can read about the hazards of intermittent visits in plenty of other posts. Not all the time, but often, you end up doing lots of paperwork and follow-up on your own time and receive no compensation for it. There are other ways to get taken advantage of, usually dealing with hours worked and compensation. Definitely, least amount of stress is possible in extended care. Hope you like home health if you decide to make the change.

Specializes in Home Health Care.

I went from 2yrs geriatric Psych Hospital experience to home health care last Nov. I absolutely love home health care! I am doing well with blood draws, cath's, wound vac's and other things I had no previous experience with. I have a great staff to work along side with. HHC is far less stressful than the hospital. My patient load is usually 15-20. (apprx 4pts a day)

I would stick it out for a least a year. The more hospital experience you have the better. Dont jump ship now because it is hard, u are in a very valuable learning environment that will help you your whole career.

Specializes in WOC, Hospice, Home Health.

I'm a case manager in home health, my caseload is 6-7 revisits in a day, less if admissions, etc. It's less stressful on a day to day basis, but stressful in other ways- I've been where I am for almost 2 years, and I only started to feel really comfortable within the last 3-4 months. I work in an urban area, which I do like because my patients all are very close to each other (no more than 5 miles between patients) Maybe shadow someone in HH to see if you like it? I went in as a new grad on an extended orientation/scholarship program- Hospital experience helps, but if you are confident in your skills, it might be worth a look.

hi, i’m going to start orientation this month (home care). i don't have hospital experience (new grad). please, if you have any special advice about oasis and in general. thanks a lot!!!

HH is not without stress, but my worst day in HH is still better than my best day in the hospital.

I would recommend at least one year experience.

Specializes in WOC, Hospice, Home Health.
hi, i'm going to start orientation this month (home care). i don't have hospital experience (new grad). please, if you have any special advice about oasis and in general. thanks a lot!!!

1. ask if you don't know. if they know you are a new grad, then they know that you will need some extra support. if you've never even seen a wound vac...tell them!! if you don't have much experience with chest tubes...make them take you out on an established chest tube case!! take advantage of any and all orientation. my agency will have you shadow a phlebotamist in a lab for a day if you are unsure about blood draws for example. hopefully you'll have a good preceptor.

2. oasis is...different. hopefully you will have a staff development person who can show you the ropes, otherwise it's very confusing- questions on it are not always posed very clearly.

3. remember that home care is very different from the hospital. you're on the patient's turf. you need to have respect for them and their home, or they will very quickly shut down and not listen to a word you say.

i've seen nurses take a very "this is the way you have to do things or else" approach with patients. sometimes that approach is appropriate (and needed!)-- but most of the time it shuts the patient down to any further teaching. i do a lot of meeting halfway and then going from there.

for example: if i can teach mrs b the chf-er about her lasix -and she was initially not taking it at all because she hates peeing all the time-- and after a few days of working with her she's taking it everyday except sunday because she goes to church and doesn't want to be running to the bathroom--well, for the most part i'm satisfied, and i won't push the issue too much (assuming of course that she's non-symptomatic and the doc is aware). some nurses won't agree with that, but i'd rather have a patient compliant 85% of the time than a patient who tells me what i want to hear and ignores the teaching entirely.

good luck! and give yourself time. it took me a long time to get comfortable (about a year and a half). hope you like it! :nurse:

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