Working as home care nurse not just a job

OSF HealthCare home health nurses find their work to be unique and rewarding, and they’re not shy when it comes to talking about it. With some deliberation, we were able to create a Top 10 list showcasing what sets OSF Home Care Services apart. Here we go …

1. Making a difference.

Helping people in their time of need is one of the biggest attractants for health care professionals. But caring for patients in their homes adds another layer of satisfaction.

Nobody likes to be in the hospital. We want to be in our safe place. And receiving care at home has shown to increase the chance of a positive outcome. The nurses love the opportunity to make a difference in their patients’ lives, especially isolated patients.

Studies have shown that people suffering from depression, especially when isolated, can have exponentially higher complications from chronic conditions. The nurses’ companionship can lower health risks and make a difference in the patient’s overall well-being.

2. People you meet.

Coming in a close second was talking to the patients about their likes and dislikes, learning about their jobs, families and getting to really know them. Being in the patient’s home gives a nurse the opportunity to see family photos or travel mementos and ask questions about a person’s life.

These questions give a nurse the insight to treat the whole person and not just the condition. The group felt fortunate to meet and care for many interesting people.

3. Autonomy/Independence.

No one is looking over their shoulder. While this isn’t for everyone, the nurses enjoy the freedom and the challenge of being on their own.

With a flexible schedule, they can plan their day out in a way that works for them. It also means they have some flexibility to schedule their patient visits to fit their personal schedules.

But the autonomy does come with its own set of challenges. Sometimes the situation requires them to make medical decisions on their own and without all of the bells and whistles found in a hospital.

4. Job outlook and pay.

America has an aging population. The job outlook for home health care nurses is higher than average due to the growing number of elderly patients within the United States.

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, by 2030 there will be 72.1 million people 65 years or older, representing 19 percent of all Americans. As the population ages, the need for qualified home health care nurses will continue to grow. And the money is comparable to hospital positions with the opportunity for overtime usually available.

5. Being a patient advocate.

Sometimes home health nurses see needs that will go unmet unless they step in for the patient and mobilize additional resources.

Many of their patients do not have a network to support them. And often times, the nurses will see a health issue or even a personal need that requires additional resources. A call to different community or family resources can alleviate unnecessary suffering.

This compassion surpasses basic care and contributes to the nurses’ job satisfaction while embracing the Sisters’ Mission.

6. Professional development.

The position allows many opportunities for professional growth. OSF HealthCare provides caregivers a supportive environment that nurtures career development with many options for training, including access to progressive technology. And through our education assistance benefits, OSF HealthCare provides a unique opportunity to help Mission Partners achieve their self-development goals.

7. Different environments.

This circles back to the autonomous aspect of their job. None of the nurses felt bogged down or stuck in an office. They are on the move, visiting people all over the community.

The constant change in scenery keeps their minds sharp and stimulated. In addition, they enjoy the drive time in between appointments. The short breaks allow them to breathe for a minute and relax.

8. Experiences and rewarding outcomes.

Another aspect of working alone is being in charge at the scene. There isn’t a physician or care team with them, and they don’t have the advantage of hospital monitors to warn them. They must be aware and fully present for each appointment.

This is one area where they felt their personal relationship with their patient acts as a guide for interpreting and reacting to the situation. Several of the nurses have had to improvise how they provide care. But they said you would be surprised at how positive these situations tend to turn out.

9. Working for OSF HealthCare.

Working for a faith-based organization is a positive for the nurses and not just from a religious standpoint. The fact that the Sisters encourage everyone to care and love for everyone gives the nurses the confidence and devotion to give their patients the best care possible.

Plus, the Sisters treat their Mission Partners with the same devotion and love. It has led to OSF Home Care Services scoring in the 95th percentile for employee engagement. All of the nurses are proud to be a part of a greater Mission – something bigger than themselves, which led directly to number 10 on our list.

10. Teamwork.

For a position that requires you to work alone, you might be wondering how teamwork would make the list. However, the group responses were overwhelming.

Whether it’s covering each other’s patients, answering a paperwork question or providing treatment advice, they said the teamwork you experience at OSF Home Care Services is second to none. The OSF Mission is infectious and drives them to not only care for their patients with the utmost care and love but their co-workers, as well.

Although you work on your own, you are never alone.

OSF Home Care Services nurses regularly face many challenges, but they all accept the responsibilities and challenges in stride. Their reward is more than worth their effort. They encourage anyone interested in becoming a field nurse with OSF HealthCare to search for available positions.

About Author: David Pruitt

David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelor’s of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014.

An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.

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