When I was in high school, there was a course offered for students who wanted to work part time and earn credits towards graduation. I was very interested in money at the time and promptly joined during my senior year. Previously my work experience had centered primarily around cashiering, however, I also had some experience filing and answering telephones. Based on my career goals and an aptitude test I was placed in the office of a home health care facility. My job, primarily, was to take calls from clients and help them with their schedules. I also helped handle some insurance problems, answered general phone calls, and of course did lots of filing. I also learned quite a bit about the profession, and even at that young age, how many types of nurses there were and the various duties each performed amazed me. There were CNAs, LPNs, and RNs as well as various types of therapists.
A CNA is a certified nursing assistant. This position requires some training and a certification process. Many of the home health care staff members were CNAs. They were the people who were scheduled to help patients perform basic care for themselves. They would help bathe, dress, and sometimes feed patients, as well as make an assessment each visit of the patients vital signs, and note if another type of nurse needed to be brought in or if a physician needed to be contacted.
An LPN is a licensed practical nurse. This position required more education and a different certification process. These nurses would typically be used if the patient had wounds that needed to be tended, catheters, or if they had labs or other tests that could be performed in the home. There were many other medical tasks the LPNs could perform, depending on the specific patient.
An RN is a registered nurse. This position requires a more extensive educational background and a different certification process. These nurses usually served as patient care coordinators and worked with the doctors to provide a plan of care. They would help in assigning the types of care the patients received and would come in to reevaluate as recommended by the CNA or LPN.
One thing all of these positions had in common was that each required the nurse to be able to quickly connect with the patient and make him or her as comfortable as possible. An unexpected requirement, at least it was something I didn’t expect, was the massive amounts of paperwork each nurse had to fill out every time he or she entered a patient’s home. Every service had to be carefully documented, and a patient assessment had to be performed and written out each time. Some of the forms had to go to specific doctors while others were required for our main office. Many of the nurses told me they felt their positions in home health care were more rewarding than other nursing positions because they were able to provide more individualized care for the patients and get to know their patients better. This seemed like a great motivation for becoming a home health care nurse to me. Why are you interested in home health care?