Private duty nursing will involve providing home care services to patients. Not many nursing programs will specifically mention private duty nursing as a career path. But this type of nursing can offer a nurse the opportunity to deliver the type of personalized care that many homebound patients need.
Private duty nursing involves registered nurses who provide direct, comprehensive care on a live-in or hourly basis. Typically, every individual that has certification as a registered nurse is eligible to work in the private duty nursing field.
What are the Job Requirements for Private Duty Nursing
Today, private duty nursing will involve taking care of the chronically or acutely ill adult or child. Psychiatric private duty nursing care can also be provided. There has been an increase in demand for private duty nursing in the home of women who have just been released from the hospital after childbirth, as most women can take one to two weeks to recover from a birth, or longer if they are going through postpartum depression.
Working as a private RN can involve working as a private contractor or working for an agency who also employs CNAs and MAs. The employment requirements for the private duty nurse will vary but can typically involve an individual having valid CPR certification, valid driver’s license, and valid registered nurse licensure. The personal characteristics aspect that’s required for a successful career in private duty nursing will include excellent manners, communication skills, good interpersonal skills and written skills.
An agency can specialize in child, geriatric, maternal and psychiatric care. Some agencies are run as a division of a home care agency or medical center. In addition to skills and professional nursing services, an agency can also provide companion care.
A typical day in the private duty nursing field will vary based on the type of specialty area such as pediatrics or geriatrics, the nurse’s level of experience and the type of care a patient is in need of. A nurse working in the pediatrics field will begin their shift and assist a patient with dressing and personal and oral hygiene, administer medications and assist with feeding if needed. Working closely and communicating effectively with a child’s family, on a daily basis, is crucial when it comes to providing successful care. A nurse will need to take a patient’s vital signs, note the patient’s food and fluid intake, behaviors, response or lack of response, to medications and their urine and bowel output.
Should a child be negatively affected by a new medication, have difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement, have a change in behavior or suffer a noticeable decline, it’s the nurses responsibility to contact the patient’s physician, in addition to communicating these changes with the family.
Steps to Becoming a Private Duty Nurse
If you’re interested in the private nursing career, the first step will be to complete a registered nurse training program. These programs come in the form of the two year associate’s degree and the four year master’s degree. For individuals who are interested in a more advanced career path, obtaining the master’s degree in nursing can qualify them for a career in research or academia, in addition to qualifying for managerial or supervisory positions. With each type of degree program a nursing student will be required to complete hundreds of hours of clinical rotations, in a number of healthcare environments. Students that have decided on a specialty in nursing that they wish to pursue, such as obstetrics, can request to work in that type of environment during clinical work, in order to qualify for employment after graduation. Some of the clinical rotation environments will include hospitals, clinics, hospices, nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities.
Once a student graduates they will need to take state specific licensure exams, which qualifies them for immediate employment. Nurses that wish to work in the private nursing field may be required to purchase a state business license. These licenses will allow them to operate as an independent contractors. An individual will need to contact their local business license department in order to determine which licenses are required.
After a person has obtained all required licenses they will need to search for private duty nursing agencies. You can also self-advertise on a personal website, public site such as craigslist, or run an ad in the local newspaper.
If you work on an independent basis you will need to create an employment contract with the private party you are working for. In the contract you’ll need to state the hourly rate you require as well as the scope of work you are required to perform.
Who Qualifies for Private Duty Nursing?
When it comes to which type of patients private nursing professionals will work with, it will depend on the nurse’s specialty area and their employer. This type of nursing service was more common ten to twenty years ago and fell out of favor because this service was not covered by insurance. These days, more and more health insurance companies are covering the cost of private nursing because it’s actually cheaper than a patient staying in a hospital. Both public and private insurance companies will cover a certain amount of at-home nursing. Commonly, a patient that has just been discharged from a hospital and is in need of daily wound care treatment can benefit from a nurse visiting their home and documenting on their condition and providing wound care dressing changes.