How to Become a Home Health Nurse

Are you thinking about becoming a home health nurse in the near future? If so, you may be surprised by how easy this process is. In essence, all you have to do is pass through registered nurse educational requirements, and then you can start working with patients right in their homes. It only takes four years to learn how to become a home health nurse, and some people enter the career in less time than that. Here is a look at what it takes to be a part of this career path so you can determine if it is the right option for you.

Step 0 – Determine If This Is the Right Career for You

Before you can learn how to become a home health nurse, you need to figure out if this is the right career for you. Qualities of a good home health nurse include:

  • The ability to adapt to new working conditions regularly
  • A positive attitude that inspires patients to get better
  • A comforting way of approaching a situation
  • The ability to work odd hours to accommodate to the needs of others
  • A strong sense of communication

As a home health nurse, you will have to work with new patients all the time. That means that you will have to accommodate to new personalities and medical needs throughout your career. If you are not flexible enough to do this, home health nursing may not be right for you. You will inevitably have to work with a lot of elderly individuals, so you need to be able to relate to them and truly display your concern for their health. Home health nurses are nurturing, compassionate, and inspirational for patients, and they are often the only support system that some patients have. Think you can handle that kind of pressure in the future? If so, read on to see what you will have to do to become a registered nurse in home health.

Step 1 – Get an Education

In home health nursing, you have the option to become an LPN or an RN, depending on how high you want to go through your education. Your degree options are as follows:

  • Diploma in Nursing (DN)
  • Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

If you want to work in the lower level of home health, you can go through a one to two year DN or ADN program. That will provide you with enough training to work as an LPN. If you would rather work in a higher position in this career (like that of an RN), you may want to go through a BSN program or higher. That will take four years to complete, and a master’s degree will take roughly two years after that. Most home health nurses are not required to have master’s degrees, unless they plan to work in management or education. Assess your goals for the future and you will be able to select the training program that is right for you.

Step 2 – Pass a Licensure Exam

The licensure exam that you take will depend on whether you want to become a practical nurse or a registered nurse. Either way though, you will need to take some form of the National Council Licensure Examination. Assuming you pass that, you will be able to work in any hospital of your choice.

Step 3 – Gain Work Experience

Most home health agencies will want to see that you have had at least a year of experience as a nurse in a hospital setting, so you will need to gain that experience before you can officially become a home health nurse. This is just meant to ensure that you have the hands-on training needed to work in nursing as a whole. Once you get through that short trial period, you will have all the experience you need to find work.

Step 4 – Find a Job

Now that you know how to become a home health nurse, you just need to figure out how to find a job as one. There should be several venues for home health care in your area, so you can contact them to see if they have any open positions. Hopefully you have all the education, training, and experience you need to secure the job of your dreams.