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Getting a Job in Healthcare – Skilled Homecare

Examining Homecare as a job and how prospective employees might fit into this type of healthcare model. Specially the role of the Registered Nurse.

As American industry downsizes and employees lose their jobs many have turned to healthcare as a career to support themselves and their families.  The good news; there is a great demand and schools are rushing to fill the need.  The bad news; as schools rush to meet demand they often only equip their students to apply for jobs in traditional healthcare settings.  If the aspiring nurse looks to only these traditional settings for employment they are missing a number of opportunities that could be a better fit for their life style.  Homecare is one of the employment options often overlooked by the new healthcare professional because of it’s stigma.

Lets begin by describing homecare.  Their are two basic types of homecare skilled and non-skilled homecare.  for this article we will talk about the skilled variety.  Skilled Homecare professionals are licensed nurses, Therapists and Aides that provide professional intervention in the home environment for a variety of diagnosis’s.  Skilled Homecare must be prescribed by a doctor who has seen the patient and has given a face to face explanation of the need for homecare services.  Doctors may prescribe some or all of the services provided by a skilled homecare company.  Under the Doctors direction the homecare company then provides the service in 60 day increments.   After 60 days has expired, Doctors can then “re-certify” the patient for another period of 60 days if that patient still meets criteria as defined by their insurance company.

The Nursing Professionals Role

Homecare nurses are usually Registered Nurses although they can be Licensed Practical Nurses as well.  Nurses working in Homecare are mobile case managers for their patients.  They are responsible for evaluating the patients overall condition and care plan and informing the Doctor of any changes in condition.  They are also responsible for executing all Doctors orders for nursing care and obtaining new Doctors orders as condition changes. 

Common duties for a Homecare Nurse are wound care, taking vtial signs, blood draws, obtaining lab results, reporting the patients condition to the primary care physician, writing nursing notes, providing breathing treatments,  and coordinating the patient care plan with the rest of the treatment team.  The Homecare Nurse also provides a peice of mind for the paitent and family and helps patients avoid frequent hospital stays.   It is this customer service component that separates the good homecare nurse form the excellent homecare nurse.  A nurse that can provide great care while reassuring their patients that the intervention is needed to provide great outcomes is highly successful.

Management Opportunities

Nurses can also be managers and exectuives in a homecare company.  Management positions inlcude Director of Nursing, Quality Assurance, On Call Nurse Manager and even owner operator.

Getting Paid

Your typical homecare nurse gets paid per visit.  There are two types routine visits and opening visits.  Opening visits pay more.  An ideal situation for quality care is that a nurse will open a case and continue with the routine visits to a postive outome.  Pay per visit can be an exciting oportunity for a nurse who wants to make a second income or the nurse that wants to set his/her own schedule.  Please note that nurses are not allowed to recruit patients or generate referrals.  There are strict rule regarding medicare fraud and recruiting is one of these activities.

Homecare Nursing can be a great opportunity to earn a solid income while making your own schedule.  Homecare is a growing intervenion that when utilized correctly help cut hospital visits and promotes long term health.  These two benefits save the national healthcare system money while empowering patients to be partners in their own healthcare intervention.  For a list of homecare agencies in your area visit www.medicare.gov/homecarecompare

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