Job Title: RN
Type of Company: My company is a visiting nurse agency.
Education: Nursing Diploma, Malden Hospital School of Nursing
Previous Experience: I worked as a staff nurse for five years at one hospital, and at a medical management company for 15 years. I am currently employed as an intake nurse at a local VNA and Hospice.
Job Tasks: I take referrals on patients from area referral sources: doctor's offices, hospital, nursing homes and rehabilitation clinics. These patients are in need of any of the following services in their home: nurse, a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist or home health aide. They're usually unable to get in and out of their homes easily.
A typical day at work for me starts when a call comes in from a referral source and I take the information available on the patient: their medical condition and what kind of services they need. I schedule the patient to be seen within 1-2 days. I also contact doctor's offices for orders, if needed, and enter medical orders into our computer system. I also speak with patients and their families on a daily basis.
I also communicate with the nurses and therapists that see the patients in their homes, should the nurse or therapists have questions about the patient's medical information given to us by the referral source. I also give medical information to insurance companies in order to get insurance coverage for the home care.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part about my job is that it can be rewarding to help a patient/family that calls into us. Recently, for example, a wife called in worried about her husband. He didn't want her to call 911 but she gave me information about his condition and I escalated it to a supervisor. He wouldn't go to the hospital; instead we got his nurse there and, just as she arrived, the patient had a heart attack. She initiated CPR on him. He lived and we were able to get him to agree to the hospital after that.
My job can be quite stressful, as the phones can ring quite a bit and sometimes we don't have enough staff to process the calls immediately.
Job Tips: Ask yourself why you want to become a nurse. If it's only for the money and is not about the people, then find another profession. I would also suggest that you work in a healthcare facility in a position that requires close patient contact to see if you feel comfortable with people in general. And concentrate on your credits for anatomy and chemistry and so on before getting into the nursing classes. It is time-intensive to study for nursing classes and to prepare for your clinical rotations.
Additional Thoughts: Choosing a career in nursing will give you many different types of opportunities. If you are young and single without a family, you may pursue travel nursing which is a great, all-expense-paid way to see the rest of the country. I have been out of nursing school since 1987 and never thought at first I would leave my staff nursing job. I surprised myself though by moving into another position in the medical management company. I never thought I would leave that job either and surprised myself by taking a position in a VNA. Each position you take offers a different skill set and is something you can add to your resume. This is not to say that one should leave a position every 1-2 years. On the contrary, you should make sure you give yourself enough time to feel comfortable with your basic nursing skills.
If I could change something in my career, I would have gotten as much experience while I was at my first hospital, in different types of nursing in the hospital such as operating room, recovery rooms instead of remaining on one type of nursing floor. Some of the most important personal qualities for success in a nursing career is your ability to care about others and integrity.
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