Home Health Nurse Career Overview

Home Health Nurse Career Overview

Jobs as a home health nurse involve providing clinical healthcare to patients in their homes under the supervision of a physician or nurse practitioner. These roles typically cater to older adults with disabilities, offer hospice or palliative care, and assist recently discharged patients from hospitals requiring additional care. In this article, we’ll explore home health nurse jobs, their responsibilities, and salary expectations.

Home Care Nurse

Time to Become
2-4 years

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Job Outlook
7% growth from 2019-2029

For Registered Nurses (RNs)
Average Earning Potential
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Home Healthcare Nurse Salary

Hospital-At-Home: What Nurses and Nursing Students Should Know

What Does a Home Health Nurse Do?

Home health nurse positions involve delivering healthcare to patients in their homes, supervised by a physician or nurse practitioner. While the primary focus is often on caring for older adults or providing hospice/palliative care, these nurses also attend to patients recently discharged from hospitals needing extra care.

Primary Responsibilities Include:

– Treating wounds or injuries
– Administering treatments
– Monitoring vital signs and performing tests

Career Traits:

– Empathy
– Communication
– Collaboration
– Flexibility

Where Do Home Health Nurses Work?

Home health nurses offer care in patients’ homes but operate in various settings, such as hospice and homecare organizations, community facilities, and hospitals.


Nurses administer medications, treat injuries, communicate with family caregivers, and ensure patients’ physical comfort.

Community Facilities:

Nurses administer medications, conduct tests, and coordinate care with other agencies or organizations.


Nurses treat recovering patients, administer medications, monitor vital signs, and conduct tests.

Why Choose a Career as a Home Health Nurse?

Home health nurses enable patients to receive treatment at home rather than a hospital, fostering personal connections with patients. Salaries for home health nurses, like other registered nurses, surpass the national average. Home hospice nursing has its emotional challenges and rewards.

Advantages of Being a Home Health Nurse:

– Establish personal relationships with patients and family members
– Patients are generally happier at home
– Less clinical atmosphere compared to hospitals
– More flexible scheduling

Disadvantages of Being a Home Health Nurse:

– Some family situations can be unwelcoming
– Need to travel between locations
– Isolation from clinical colleagues
– Limited immediate access to medical resources

How to Become a Home Health Nurse:

1. Earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).
– ADN takes two years, BSN takes four years.
– BSN is a requirement for most home healthcare nurse jobs.
2. Pass the NCLEX-RN for RN licensure.
– A national examination covering medicine, nursing practice, psychology, communication, and legal/ethical aspects.
3. Gain required nursing experience.
– Typically 2-3 years of medical-surgical or critical care nursing.
4. Consider a certification in home health nursing (no longer available for new certifications, only renewals).

How Much Do Home Health Nurses Make?

Home health nurses with RN credentials earn a median annual salary of $73,300. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) earn a median of $29,640, below the $39,810 annual median salary for all jobs in the United States.

Both home health nurses and CNAs are in demand, with projected growth in nursing assistant jobs by 8% and nursing positions by 7% from 2019-2029. The emphasis on providing care at home and the aging population contribute to the expected growth.

How Home Health Per Visit Pay Works

Many home healthcare nurses receive salary pay, while others are paid per visit through private insurance companies, Medicaid, or Medicare. Overtime pay eligibility varies by state, with federal law stating that home health nurses paid per visit are not eligible for overtime pay.

Questions About a Career as a Home Health Nurse:

1. How long does it take to become a home health nurse?

– Two years for an ADN or four years for a BSN, with at least 2-3 years of experience in acute care or surgical settings preferred.

2. Can home health nurses prescribe medicine?

– Nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses can prescribe, but other home healthcare nurses without additional education or certification cannot.

3. What is the difference between a CNA and an RN?

– CNA certification requires a high school diploma, completion of a state-approved training course, and a passing score on the nurse assistant certification test. RNs need at least an ADN degree and national licensure.

4. Who do home health nurses work with on a home health team?

– Home health nurses carry out prescribed treatments, may supervise CNAs or home health aides, and collaborate with other care providers like social workers or psychologists.

Resources for Home Health Nurses:

National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC):

Offers education, research, advocacy, and job listings for hospice care providers.
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine:

Provides education, resources, and networking for healthcare professionals in hospice and palliative care.

International Home Care Nurses Organization (IHCNO):

Promotes global connections among homecare nurses and provides resources for best practices in home healthcare.

Home Healthcare Now:

A journal for home healthcare nurses offering articles, continuing education credits, and job listings. articles are free, while others require a subscription. Homecare nurses can earn continuing education credits for reading certain articles through CEConnection. The site also includes home health nurse job listings.

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