Fast growing field offers unique rewards
While most nursing students expect that their future lies in a hospital, the employment opportunities and unique rewards of home health are leading many to reconsider their career direction, writes Cathryn Domrose in nurse.com.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that home healthcare will add nearly as many jobs as hospitals in this decade, making it one of the hottest industries in the country. One factor behind the trend toward home health is healthcare reform, which rewards organizations for keeping patients out of the hospital, Domrose notes. Research has shown that well-trained home health nurses produce better patient outcomes and reduced need for inpatient care.
But Domrose cites another driver behind the trend: the unique perspective on patient care that comes from home health visits. For example, Melissa Marrero, MSN, RN-BC, planned on working in hospital ICU until she went along with a home health nurse in New York’s Chinatown as part of a clinical rotation in community nursing.
“I was converted during my senior semester,” said Marrero. “The mystery of what happens to your patients when you send them home — you get to see that.” Merrero decided to bypass hospital nursing and apply for a graduate program at Visiting Nurse Society of New York. “Going into a person’s home gives you an amazing perspective on the needs of a patient,” she says.
Home health doesn’t appeal to everyone, but for people like Shawn Quinn, BSN, RN, the exposure can be a great learning experience. Quinn was a senior nursing student at University of Detroit Mercy, Domrose writes, when he began a clinical rotation with a community health nurse case manager, visiting patients in their homes twice a week for 10 weeks. He says he was surprised at how much he learned during a semester and how much he enjoyed interacting with the patients he cared for — despite the frequent distractions. He gained a deeper understanding of the continuum of care that can be jeopardized if a patient is not able to properly care for themselves upon discharge.
“If I hadn’t had home healthcare, it would be easy to overlook those kinds of things,” he says.
* Programs vary by location
** Bakersfield campus is currently not accredited