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How do I Become a Home Health Care Nurse?

By Nat Robinson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Home health care nurses provide medical assistance to sick and disabled people at home. This may include adults, children and the elderly alike. To become a home health care nurse, an individual will need to meet certain educational requirements. Usually, this will mean obtaining a high school diploma and gaining acceptance into a nursing program. A home health care nurse may be a registered or licensed professional nurse.

An individual seeking to become a home health care nurse will first need to graduate from high school. Upon graduation, the next step will be to enroll in a nursing program at an accredited institution for higher learning. Most universities and community colleges have a nursing degree program. When deciding to become a nurse, the student will need to choose the type of degree he or she wishes to pursue.

Registered nurses typically complete a four-year program and obtain a bachelor's degree. A licensed professional nurse will generally obtain an associate's degree through a two-year program. After graduation from a college or university, the student will need to obtain a license to become a home health care nurse. This is usually a requirement before being able to practice as a nurse. Most regions will have a standardized exam to take to become licensed.

The job duties of a home health care nurse can be extensive. Most nurses will work for several different patients with varying degrees of illnesses and disabilities. For this reason, the nurse's tasks may change from patient to patient. Some of the most common duties may include administering medications, taking vital signs and providing wound care, which will usually include changing wound dressings. Patients receiving intravenous (IV) therapy will also receive IV care by the nurse.

Aside from providing medical care, some nurses may assist patients with general housekeeping. This may include sweeping, washing dishes and making the bed. To become a home health care nurse, some travel may also be required. In addition to driving to and from the patient's home, the nurse may go grocery shopping and accompany the patients on trips away from home, such as doctor appointments.

After meeting the educational requirements, the next step to become a home health care nurse is to find a job. A nurse wishing to provide home health care assistance will generally be listed with an agency which provides such services. Within every region, there is generally a wide variety of home health care agencies. The agencies may be public or privately owned. In some incidences, a health care nurse may be self-employed.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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