Ever wonder it would be like to work in a different type of nursing? Well, we’re here to help.

Minority Nurse will be providing interviews with nurses in various facets of the nursing field. This month, we asked Tina Seever, RN, DPCS, Director of Nursing at BrightStar Care, what it’s like to work as a home health care nurse.

How did you get interested in being a home health care nurse? What drew you to it? How long have you been doing it?

I’ve been working as an in-home care nurse for more than 20 years. Prior to making the switch to home health care I worked as an intensive care nurse at a hospital, where I provided a plethora of emergency services to patients from transplants to oncology care, and more. I also worked as a hospice nurse. In both roles, I cared for patients on short term increments, helping to get them better and discharged from the hospital in a timely manner. Working in hospice and intensive care I had to deliver tough news of loss and navigate tough conversations with families regarding their loved ones’ health. However, after exploring my options, I made the transition to home health care and became the Director of Nursing at BrightStar Care Carlsbad. BrightStar Care is a nationwide home care and medical staffing franchise that provides a higher standard of care to its clients.

What drew me to home care was the fact that I was able to invest more into my clients and the flexibility the role offered me. With home care, you’re able to assist your client during one of the most sensitive times of their life. Working in a hospital, once a patient leaves you never hear from them again. But with home care, you’re able to develop a bond with your client and see progression with their case from start to finish.

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Lastly, home care helps bridge many of the gaps that exist in the health care continuum. As a home care nurse or caregiver, you’re able to continue a patient’s care after they’re discharged from the hospital. Often, family members are unaware of how to administer their loved one’s medicine, and they do not have the ability to transport their loved one to and from hospital visits to receive injections, infusions, and other critical medical services they might need as part of their ongoing care. That’s where home care steps in. Home care nurses have the flexibility and knowledge to administer care from the comfort of a person’s home to help lower hospital readmissions and ensure more seniors and those in need of care can age and heal safety at home. For all these reasons I’ve committed my career to home health care.

Explain to me briefly what you do as a home health care nurse. Did you have to get additional training/education to do it?

In my current role as the Director of at BrightStar Care Carlsbad, I am in a position where I act as a mentor to the caregiving staff and other nurses on duty, ensuring they are trained and up to date with the agency’s policies and clinical procedures. In this role I help other medical professionals make the transition to home care. However, our skilled nursing staff at BrightStar Care administer care directly to clients from the comfort of their homes. This is anything from providing clients with injections, infusions, to providing care to a client recovering from a major surgery or an injury.

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Additional education is not needed to become a home care nurse outside of the qualifications it takes to become a practicing nurse in your state. It’s encouraged, however, that home care nurses have experience working in a hospital or care facility. Home care nurses should feel comfortable administering care to clients without the help of a supervisor given the independent nature of the job. Home care nurses should also have the confidence and knowledge to access any situation and act accordingly to ensure the best outcomes for their clients.

What types of people/clients do you serve? What are they looking for and what do you provide for them?  

While a large portion of in-home care clients are seniors who require senior care services, in-home care can range from personal care to Alzheimer’s & Dementia care, disability services, childcare, transitional care, and more. If a nurse joins the BrightStar Care team and is not particularly skilled in a certain practice, we provide training. Home care nurses provide clients everything from infusions and injections to assisting a client with recovery from a surgery or injury.

Home care nurses also engage in reporting to monitor their client’s progression and status. They work closely with each client’s caregiver and primary care physicians to ensure care plans are aligned and goals are met.

What do you like most about working as a HHC Nurse?

I love that every day is different. We have the ability to take something that starts off as an issue and create a solution for it providing clients with higher quality outcomes. It’s immensely rewarding to witness your clients heal over time and watch as your care is directly impacting their progression. Specifically in my role as the Director of Nursing, it’s a reward to watch other nurses enter the field and become experts in home care nursing.

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What are your biggest challenges in this position? What are your greatest rewards in it?  

Challenges: Prior to the pandemic I would have said there were no challenges associated with being a home health care nurse, given the flexibility the role provides. However, the pandemic intensified some of the biggest challenges in health care and those changes rippled down to our industry. Currently, the biggest challenge is navigating the labor crisis that exists nationwide.

Rewards: One of the biggest rewards that home health care offers is watching our hard work with a client pay off. Watching them heal and recover is a reward that keeps me in this field. Referrals and in door walk-ins at our office are always fulfilling – to know that a client valued our services so much that they referred a friend or loved one is an amazing feeling. While the pandemic opened the door to new challenges, it also helped reinforce the safety and flexibility in-home care offers. Nurses can often choose their own schedule and are not confined to working long hours at a hospital or care facility, instead they travel from client to client lowering their exposure to large groups allowing them to work on-on-one with a client.

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