How To Be A Successful Home Health Nurse | rnventingnursing.com

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How To Be A Successful Home Health Nurse

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I was sitting in my recliner, with my laptop resting across my legs, thinking to myself “so you wanted to be a home health nurse didja?!

Feeling drained, exhausted, and so tired of always running around like “ a chicken with its head cut-off”!

Why in the world was I always feeling like this?…

There was really no need to play that “looking within myself” game because I already knew the answer…

I was transitioning into home health nursing and by the looks of my situation…

I was doing so without the proper support or tools,  and 

I was all alone!

Sound familiar at all?

Being in this same situation or a situation similar to it is way too common for home health nurses.

And because it’s so common, and unrelenting most times, it pushes home health nurses to call it quits, because we stop feeling like the “juice is worth the squeeze”!

So, let me just let you in on a little secret…

 “the juice is worth the squeeze”…

You just need to apply the proper squeezing technique for YOU,  and pair that with patience to bypass the initial bitter juice, in order to get to that good’ol sweet juice that flows at the end…wink!

For the purposes of this blog post, We’ll liken the “sweet juice” to “success” as a home health nurse.

And to get you from wanting to “call it quits” to “being a successful home health nurse”, this post is going to discuss:

  • Setting goals as a home health nurse,
  • Planning for individualized work-life balance, and
  • Strategically scheduling your OASIS assessments,

as the 3 foundational pillars of being a successful home health nurse.

Let’s get this road on a show…lol…shall we!

SETTING GOALS AS A HOME HEALTH NURSE

I’m sure that setting goals are the last thing on your mind when you have assessments to reach on time,  loads of documentation to complete, and additional loads of documentation to correct.

But, I promise you that taking the time to actually sit down and think about:

  • What’s important to you,
  • What gets you excited to wake up every morning,
  • What keeps you in a positive headspace and surrounds you with positive energy,
  • What do you want to accomplish as a home health nurse,
  • What certifications or additional education do you want to acquire to build your worth or legacy as a home health nurse,
  • What do you want to be known for when you retire, and
  • What specific period of time do you want to accomplish all of this over?

will be very beneficial to you in the long run.

Setting these goals isn’t just about placing items on a list to grow your knowledge.

It’s actually to create a strong foundation that you will be able to build upon and use as a guide for creating your individualized work-life balance plan and assessment scheduling.

In short, these goals will be your big picture goals and they will be strategically selected and broken down into tasks that serve as:

  • your day-to-day motivation and guide that moves you one step closer towards your chosen “end-game”, and 
  • provides you with a clean slate, and equal “playing field” environment where each of your aspirations will have equal time and resources for being cultivated and “loved-on” all the way through actual completion!

PLANNING FOR INDIVIDUALIZED WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Now, that we have a strong foundation in place, which is made up of your big picture goals that have been broken down into tasks, we can begin to build your work-life plan on top of it by using steps (or breaking down your tasks into smaller more simple actions) that ultimately lead to completing your original big picture goals.

Just as we used your big picture goals to guide and motivate the planning of your strong foundation…

We are going to use your tasks to motivate and guide your day-to-day decisions, set boundaries and limitations that protect your time and ability to cultivate and ”love-on” your steps in order to ensure that you reach your individualized work-life balance.

home health nurse goal setting to be successful

In other words, your tasks will make decisions about vacations, weekend plans, dinner menu selection, etc. easy, clear, and decisive. Which will allow you to plan more things in advance to make room for “living in the moment” freedom…

Making you available to live happily minus the anxiety about what you’re forgetting or need to be doing, 

Since your eye is on YOUR PRIZE and you’ve built your day-to-day around what you want/need to accomplish in the future, as well as how you’ll get there by strategically using each day to your advantage.

You can check out my post here that talks about general planning as a home health nurse.

SCHEDULING YOUR ASSESSMENTS

Scheduling your assessments is usually the very first thing we prioritize nowadays, due to our financial responsibilities or our jobs “point” system requirements. 

home health nurse unproductive assessment scheduling

Which is actually the reason why everything feels so out of whack,  all over the place, and leaves you spread way too thin.

So thin, that you’re actually placing your nursing license on the line…daily.

We need to have a reminder for one of the larger reasons many of us transition to home health nursing in the first place…

And that’s due to its AUTONOMY…so let’s actually use this “autonomy” to our advantage to create a better work-life balance.

Otherwise, we’re just adding on additional nursing responsibilities (all of the bedside nursing responsibilities plus the new home health nursing responsibilities) without mixing in the “relief” element that drove us to home health nursing in the first place.

home health nurse successful assessment scheduling

In order to build in your “relief” element, using your steps will come in handy to help you:

  • calculate the number of patients you can take on per day/week,
  • create time prior to your assessments for preparing your patient files and completing forms before your visits, and
  • set your daily assessment schedule based on what YOU need/want to accomplish by the end of the year, instead of by what your agency wants to accomplish by the end of the year.

I want to be very clear in saying that this is not “anti-agency” speak, but it’s “pro-home health nurse advancement” speak!

However, it needs to be said that your agency’s yearly goals will not trickle down to equal your yearly goals nor will they always trickle down to benefit you.

With that being understood, why would we as home health nurses base our entire lives around the yearly goals of an agency by scheduling our well-being after scheduling our assessments?

Sounds like we are unknowingly setting ourselves up for failure, and resentment for agencies when at the end of the year your agency accomplishes EXACTLY (and most times more than what they projected) because we as their home health nurses…

  • “ran ourselves into the ground” accomplishing their goals,
  • never gave our needs or well-being a thought, and
  • end up being stuck in the same sad situation for years.

SO, EXACTLY HOW CAN YOU BE A PRODUCTIVE HOME HEALTH NURSE?

There is nothing more precious than your time and well-being!

And in order to be successful home health nurses we need to acknowledge our well-being and work-life balance as the top priority, and set our big picture goals around them by…

  • Setting big picture goals as your yearly motivational foundation,
  • Planning for your individualized work-life balance using tasks, and
  • Strategically scheduling your daily assessments using steps.
home health nurse work-life balance
home health nurse goal steps

Of course, there are a number of other things we can do to be successful and productive, but your well-being and work-life balance are the MOST important as they are your FOUNDATION.

And once we have our foundation in place, we can move on to building multiple beautiful floors on top of it! I’ll definitely be discussing those beautiful floors in blog posts to come 🙂

YOUR ACTION ITEMS:

  1. Take a moment to think through what I’ve shared about goal setting for YOUR well-being, and share your thoughts below.
  2. Read through my very general approach to yearly planning in my blog post #1 Mistake OASIS Home Health Nurses Make During OASIS Assessments.
  3. Join the waitlist to be notified as soon as The JouRNal™ launches, which is the very first planner and assessment scheduler made for home health nurse goal setting, establishing work-life balance, and OASIS assessment scheduling here.
  4. Check out the tips for crafting an effective OASIS nursing narrative note in the 4 Things Killing Your OASIS Assessment And How To Fix Them.

I’m almost positive that the introduction of terms like big picture goals, tasks, and steps aren’t new to you by any means, but maybe a bit confusing in the way that I’ve used them.

Don’t get too flustered, because I’m going to spend the next few weeks discussing these terms and really deep-diving into tips that will help you set goals and attain work-life balance.  

I also think it’s important that I mention it’s completely understandable that you sacrifice a certain level of balance while working as a home health nurse.  However, that imbalance SHOULD NOT be your norm.

And if imbalance ends up being your norm then it’s time for you to re-evaluate your position with your agency and have a discussion with your manager.

As home health nurses, we need to feel…

empowered to evaluate our options as far as researching the benefits of seeking employment with other agencies based on those agencies being a better work-life balance and/or goal attainment fit. 

The worst thing in the world is to feel stuck or like you have no other option but to continue employment with an agency that isn’t a good fit for your well-being.

So, I’m giving you ALL power and permission to seek employment elsewhere (or with one of the 137 million home health agencies located around the world) as soon as you get an inkling of awareness that your well-being will be negatively affected.

Your well-being is irreplaceable, and you need to prioritize it while you have the opportunity 🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all that I’ve shared today, and I hope this post serves as confirmation to any of you contemplating making employment changes to better your future and/or well-being 🙂

Remember, we RN this together!

Until next time…stay safe 🙂

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