Maybe you’re dealing with co-worker drama. Maybe you aren’t getting paid enough for your ceaseless efforts. Maybe you don’t know exactly why you’re looking for a change, but you definitely are. Whatever your reasons for wanting to move on from your current place of employment, don’t write off home health: There’s no shortage of good things happening in this growing career track, many of which make the downsides of traditional healthcare employment a thing of the past.
Here are seven reasons to give in-home health and well-being assessments a look during your next search for greener pastures:
1. There Is Boundless Variety
Get ready. Drive to work. Clock in. Do your thing, come home, and do it all again tomorrow. Though we all subject ourselves to some degree of “sameness” in our quest for the almighty dollar,has a higher potential for professional variety than most other healthcare jobs for nurse practitioners.
You find yourself in a new setting every time you take on a new patient, and the field’s continued popularity — more than half of major healthcare execs say it’ll see “strong growth” in 2017, for instance — means there’s no shortage of opportunities. If you like your job but dread being boxed in by the same four walls every day, home health can mean great things for your career satisfaction.
2. You Can Feel Secure
Home health’s continued importance as a source of revenue for organizations means there are plenty of jobs for nurse practitioners. If you’re on the fence, approaching this opportunity through an intermediary like a locum tenens agency offers another kind of security: the comfort of knowing you can always try something else if it’s not for you, and the knowledge that there’s someone you can call who has your back. This makes it a great option for people who don’t like feeling “trapped” by the financial security of a job they don’t particularly care for (and who does like that feeling?).
For more about locum tenens home health, read "Get Off the Carousel: Locum Tenens Home Health Offers Freedom and Flexibility."
3. It’s Great for People Who Like Driving — and Quiet
When is a commute a good thing? When it lets you travel all over a given geographical region — and when you’re getting paid time and mileage for your trouble, of course. Extra time behind the wheel means more time to listen to audiobooks, more time to enjoy the scenery, and more alone time than you probably thought was possible in a healthcare setting.
Melanie, a home health nurse practitioner and mother based in Indianapolis, said she particularly enjoys the latter: Time in the car, she said, is often her “best time to get thinking and planning done, and basically just enjoy the silence,” especially considering the constant stream of noise her toddler creates at home.
4. You Create a Map in Your Head
Melanie’s home-health job also gave her the opportunity to learn more about her home city, a place in which she still needed a GPS to get around despite living there for years. After a few weeks behind the wheel, she said, the city’s layout had become more or less “burned into [her] brain,” as did her knowledge of shopping spots, restaurants, and other fun off-the-clock activities.
“You go to places you’d never have a reason to check out otherwise,” she said, adding that she found her “favorite lunch spot by far” after stopping on a whim in between calls.
And even if you don't stay in your home city, there are innumerable benefits to becoming a traveling home-health nurse practitioner.
5. It Gives You a Chance to Connect
Like any job, home health comes with a certain pressure to get things done. That said, time constraints are much lower than at most jobs, and the simple act of meeting the patient on their “home court” can make all the difference in terms of comfort and ability to connect with clientele.
The same patient you might feel is standoffish or distant when you see them in a hospital bed or clinic room may be downright affable when you meet them in their element, making the job easier, more pleasant, and more satisfying for everyone involved in the process.
6. You Get Real Gratitude
By the same token, there’s a real sense of relief when you visit a patient who might have had trouble coming to a healthcare facility themselves. That’s true of your patients and the loved ones who “work” as their caregivers: Your visit means a better standard of health for the former and more free time for the latter, and they’re both thankful for it. Even if you’re not the kind of person who needs a thank-you for a job well done, it’s nice to note all the measurable ways you can improve lives with a simple visit.
7. It Offers Major Professional Growth
Turning back to Melanie’s home-health career, she readily admits she’s “much more knowledgeable at [her] job” since making the switch. This isn’t to say she was bad at her job before, considering she’d worked in clinics and long-term care facilities for almost ten years prior to trying the field; instead, where her old jobs required a specific set of skills to be applied to a broad range of people, home health means seeing numerous conditions and situations she rarely, if ever, encountered at her old workplaces.
If amassing a larger slate of professional tools and skills is one of your goals, give home health serious consideration — you’ll find things that were once out of your comfort zone becoming commonplace in short order.