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Celebrating Nurses: A Day In The Life of a Home Health Care Nurse

Posted: 5/5/2022 11:36 AM by Interim HealthCare
What comes to mind when you think of a nurse? Is it someone wearing scrubs and tending to a patient lying in a hospital bed? 
 
Although the concept of nursing has existed for centuries, the field of nursing has expanded exponentially over time. There are now more than 2.9 million registered nurses in the United States alone, and many more worldwide. Nurses work in hospitals, doctors' offices, and schools, and they care for patients in their homes, too. Nursing is recognized as the largest and most diverse profession in the country. It’s also one of the most respected health care professions that exist today.
 
As we celebrate our nurses during Nurses Week, let’s take a look at what a day in the life of a home care nurse case manager looks like. Meet Ashlee Burrows, RN, an Interim HealthCare Case Manager.
 
From Hospital to Skilled Nursing Facility
Like many nurses, Ashlee began her nursing career caring for patients at the bedside in a hospital. As nurse-to-patient ratios began to increase, Ashlee considered a career shift that would allow her to spend more quality time with her patients. She was also looking to advance her nursing career through a leadership role.
 
“I was interested in finding a management position,” said Ashlee. “At the hospital, I really enjoyed being a charge nurse and a clinical coach for new nurses and student nurses. When a job as a Quality Assurance Nurse at a local skilled nursing facility opened up, I decided to give it a shot.”

From Skilled Nursing Facility to Home Care Nursing
Ashlee was familiar with home care nursing. Prior to her time as a bedside nurse, Ashley worked with Interim HealthCare as a home health aide while attending nursing school. So when she was presented with the opportunity to work as a private home nurse, Ashlee chose to return to her roots–she left her position at the skilled nursing facility and began caring for an elderly woman in her house. About a year later, Ashlee’s nursing career came full circle when she found her way back home to Interim, the place where her nursing career began. 
 
A Day in the Life of a Home Care Nurse
Though Ashlee holds the title of Registered Nurse, her job may not look exactly as you would think. However, Ashlee says many people would be shocked to know that her current role is really not much different than working as a bedside nurse. And in many cases, the patients she cares for in their homes need a nurse just as much as they did while they were in the hospital.
 
“I think over the past few years, hospitals have become busier than ever. It’s apparent that patients are being discharged sooner, yet they still require nursing care to recover from their illnesses, surgeries, or injuries. It makes sense why home health is recommended more for patients now than it was years ago. Our patients often need the services we provide, but they can’t stay in the hospital as long as they need to anymore.”
 
As a home health nurse, Ashlee performs many of the same skills that nurses perform in hospitals.
 
“Some of the skills I still use as a home health nurse include wound care, wound vacs, chest tubes, Pleurex drains, foley and suprapubic urinary catheters, tube feedings, and surgical incision care,” says Ashley.
 
The only real difference for Ashlee is the location of her patients–they are recovering in their own homes, rather than in a clinical hospital setting.
 
Home Care Nursing: A Fulfilling Career
Like Ashlee, most nurses find fulfillment in their career of taking care of other people. But does a career in home care nursing provide the same sense of fulfillment a nurse gets from working in a hospital? According to Ashlee, it most certainly does.
 
“When comparing the time I spent at the bedside with my time in home health, I can say I feel more fulfilled in my career as a home health care nurse,” said Ashlee. “When I visit a client in their home for a skilled nurse assessment, the client gets 100% of my attention for approximately 30-60 minutes. I’m able to provide one-on-one care during that visit, and that is something a nurse will never experience in a bedside hospital nurse role. I also get the time to connect with my patients and hear about their life stories, which is an extra special in my book.”
 
Home Care Nursing: A Flexible Career
According to Ashlee, an added bonus is the independence that comes with working as a home health nurse.
 
“Each day, I’m given a list of patients that I need to see. Then, I get to make my own decision on how to plan my day. I don’t have anyone following me, watching over me, competing for my attention, or interrupting my time with patients,” Ashlee said.
 
Home Care Nursing: A Rewarding Career
Ashlee values the role she plays in allowing her patients to recover from injury or illness in the comfort of their own homes. In fact, she says it’s the most rewarding part of her job.
 
“People want to remain in their home for as long as possible in their lifetime,” said Ashlee. “It gives me great satisfaction knowing that every day I am helping people stay in their homes. My visits, the services I provide, and the knowledge I can offer people are what’s helping the general population stay out of the hospital,” she said.
 
Aside from helping people recover at home, Ashlee says another rewarding part of her job is when she sees a wound that is healed.
 
“At admission, the wound will likely be at its worst, and it’s great to see a wound get smaller and smaller and eventually heal from my diligence,” Ashlee says.
 
Ashlee also has the unique opportunity to visit patients in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. She particularly enjoys visiting an assisted living facility for mentally challenged clients.

“At first I felt out of place and uneasy, but now it’s my favorite place to visit,” said Ashlee. “I love when I pull into a facility and the familiar faces are already waving at me and anxiously waiting to say ‘hi.’ That makes my heart tingle EVERY time!”
 
Home Care Nursing: A Team Approach to Health Care
At Interim HealthCare, we recognize all nursing professions are important and integral in providing the full spectrum of care to patients.

“I see us as part of a team: home health, hospital, the doctors' offices, and rehabilitation facilities,” said Ashlee.”If we all work together, it will typically result in a better outcome for our patients,” Ashlee says.
 
That team-centric approach is what allows nurses to succeed and patients to heal. From the depths of our hearts, we want you to know that no matter your role, you are not only seen but you are also celebrated! Happy Nurses Week from your Interim family.