Career Pathways & Education

What Does a Home Health Nurse Do?

Rebecca Nixon, RN
July 29, 2020
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As a home health nurse, I could definitely talk for hours about my experiences. I have worked in the home health nursing field for several years throughout my nursing endeavors.

My experience as a Home Health Nurse

Home health nursing is ideal for passionate nurses who enjoy attending to one patient at a time. This can also be a great choice for novice nurses. The most important thing I learned during continuing education in rural health care is to share your knowledge with others. The ability to pay it forward is what makes this job so fulfilling.

If home health is not the career of choice later down the line, these skills are highly transferable to other nurse niches. These include visiting nursing, specialty infusion nursing, wound care, and business consulting within the community.

What are some of the benefits of working as a Home Health Nurse?

Community benefits are one of the most significant rewards of home health nursing. The flexibility and autonomy of the role is especially appealing. If there is one branch of nursing that feels like entrepreneurship while working for another entity, it is definitely home health nursing. 

Ever hear the lyric, “They make a dollar while I make a dime, and that's why I poop on company time?” 

It's entirely possible that it was inspired by home health nursing.

photo of front of cute cottage-style house home health nursing

What are some of the not-so-great parts of working as a Home Health Nurse? 

There are many online horror stories about home health nursing:

  • The nurse came out and didn't know how to change my Picc line dressing! 
  • The home health nurse was an hour late and did not even test my blood pressure!

Stories like these emphasize the importance for nurses to be proactive in obtaining professional liability insurance, maintaining documented proficiency, and receiving ongoing education for these skills. 

That being said, one drawback is the potential for negligence lawsuits. Even unfounded, such claims can tarnish the brands, reputations, and identities of both the nurse and their nursing agency.

Home health nursing deadlines can result in hefty paperwork, with a typical Friday pile up. Many of my Fridays in the Home Health field began at 6am and continued on past midnight.

There are many branches of nursing to consider as an experienced home health nurse:

  1. Visiting Nurse
  2. In-Home Care Nurse
  3. PRN staff agency
  4. Specialty Infusion Nurse
  5. Clinical studies
  6. Clinic Nurse
  7. School Nurse

Additionally, home health nursing can also cause some significant “wear and tear” on vehicles. Keeping track of tax write-offs for transporting to home nursing locations can be laborious. Many remote areas involve long rides in rural areas, and run-ins with potholes and traffic jams can become tiresome. 

What should nurses entering this specialty expect to encounter on a regular basis?

Conditions of participation for Medicare and Medicaid services are a critical component of success for many home health care businesses. Nurses who want to get started in this field may learn from the CMS website to study the CoPs as they are updated with the state.

Reviewing OASIS and understanding the measurements to monitor for home health indicators can help new nurses provide a good foundation.

Home health nursing can lead to other opportunities. There are progressive home health agencies that act as hybrid companies. Sister companies, on the other hand, reside in one building. 

This can be a benefit for home health nurses who want to explore other nursing branches for a change of scenery. The sister company staffs a wide array of facilities as well as other companies with staff-nurse needs. The home health agency can refer nurses to these PRN assignments, which can evolve into long-lasting and fulfilling healthcare careers.

home health nurse with mask on shows elderly woman something on her phone home health nursing

Share your favorite piece of advice for nursing new grads or students looking to become a Home Health Nurse

My best advice is to: 

  • Study reviews and other indicators of the agency success
  • Protect assets, such as nursing and automobile licensure 
  • Keep track of continuing education and payer requirements

One way to find the right home health care company for you is to look into the financial assets-to-debt ratio, as well as the stock market analysis. 

Word of mouth in the community, asking fellow nurses, and reading reviews on websites like or LinkedIn can also be insightful! Company reputation and reviews are readily available online as well.

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