Home health nurse salary
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How to Find the Best Home Health Nurse Jobs

Many nurses work in clinical settings, but there’s a growing demand from patients wishing to receive care in their own homes. Home health nurse jobs offer more flexibility and autonomy than traditional nursing jobs and an opportunity to establish deeper relationships with patients.

Explore the responsibilities of a home health nurse and the education and training needed to care for patients outside a hospital environment. This guide also takes an in-depth look at the typical home health nurse salary, highlighting high-paying markets for permanent and travel home health nursing jobs.

Demand for Home Health Nurses

Home health nurses care for patients of all ages in their homes or community settings, like assisted living facilities. Patients may be: 

  • Recovering from injuries or illnesses
  • Returning home after a hospital stay
  • Managing chronic diseases or mental illness
  • Living with disabilities
  • Facing a terminal illness

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), home health employs 11.5% of RNs and 14% of LPN/LVNs. The BLS expects the overall employment for both types of nurses to increase by 6% from 2021 to 2031. The healthcare industry especially needs home health nurses due to shorter hospital stays and a resounding number of aging Americans wishing to remain in their own homes for as long as possible.

What Is the Role of a Home Health Nurse?

Home health nurse

Home health nurses provide personalized care to patients based on a plan developed by a healthcare team. Your role varies depending on your credentials. 

RNs provide more complex medical care, which may include:

  • Assisting with pain management
  • Performing physical exams
  • Cleaning wounds
  • Administering medication
  • Setting up IVs
  • Managing tubes and lines such as catheters
  • Educating patients and families on using home medical equipment
  • Supervising LPN/LVNs and home health aides

LPN/LVNs perform basic levels of nursing care. Their exact scope of practice depends on state regulations but typically includes the following: 

  • Monitoring heart rate, blood pressure and temperature
  • Updating patient records
  • Changing bandages
  • Helping with activities of daily living, including feeding and bathing
  • Collecting samples for testing

LPN/LVNs may also take on additional duties with appropriate training and certification if required. Certifications for LPN/LVNs available through the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service include Long-Term Care, IV Therapy and Pharmacology.

Benefits of a Career in Home Health Nursing

Like their hospital-based colleagues, home health nurses equally focus on patient care, but their day-to-day work has a different cadence. One of the biggest benefits of a home health career is working outside the high-pressure hospital environment.

When you provide care in a patient’s home, you work with them one-on-one, allowing time to focus on their needs without competing demands from other patients. Other benefits of this career path include: 

  • Autonomy. As the only healthcare provider in the home, you take responsibility for assessing and monitoring your patient’s condition, reporting to their physician as needed.
  • Flexibility. Home health nurses typically work through an agency that allows them to schedule their own home visits, allowing them to schedule around personal needs as long as they make all the necessary visits. Many home health agencies also offer part-time opportunities.
  • Variety. Home health nursing lets you replace a potentially long hospital shift with downtime while traveling between patient homes and working in different settings. You might care for a new mother in the morning and an elderly patient in the afternoon.
  • Deeper patient connections. When you’re hospital-based, you rarely see a patient after the facility discharges them. Home health nurses typically see their patients through recovery until they can fully care for themselves.
  • Job satisfaction. You directly impact your patient’s quality of life by enabling them to remain in the comfort of their home. You also have more time to work through challenges to make it easier for them to manage their condition.

Qualities of a Home Health Nurse

Home health nurses work independently, without the immediate support of colleagues in a clinical setting. It’s essential to be organized, manage your time and possess strong attention to detail. Like any nurse, you must rely on solid clinical skills to evaluate your patient and elevate concerns to the healthcare team.

A home health nurse also needs a strong sense of compassion. Patients and their families may be frightened or worried, so you must be sensitive to their emotions to best support them and help them manage their unique situations.

You interact with a range of personalities in home environments with varying levels of support. A positive, go-with-the-flow attitude and strong interpersonal skills equip you for success.

Home health nurses need exceptional communication skills to concisely convey information to patients, families, doctors and the healthcare team. Because you don’t have a traditional support system around you, you must be a calm problem-solver when called upon.

What Is a Typical Home Health Nurse Salary?

Home health nurse salaries vary depending on your credentials. According to Vivian’s salary information in late November 2022, RNs working in home health earned an average of $37 per hour, while LPNs made about $23 per hour in permanent staff positions. Wages can also depend on your experience and the job location.

The following table offers a sampling of average home health RN salaries and home health LPN salaries for staff positions in various states, according to Vivian’s data on November 26, 2022.

State Avg. RN Hourly Rate Max. RN Hourly Rate Avg. LPN Hourly Rate Max. LPN Hourly Rate
California $54 $79 $29 $38
Massachusetts $45 $68 $29 $37
Florida $33 $50 $22 $44
Texas $36 $50 $23 $32
Oklahoma $31 $40 $20 $27

Travel Opportunities for Home Health Nurses

Home health nurse job

Home health nurses can also find ongoing work in the travel field, filling the demand for home care services across the United States. Vivian Health’s job board featured nearly 2,400 travel home health RN jobs nationwide on November 26, 2022. 

Travel contracts typically last 13 weeks and may offer a good option if you’re interested in exploring the country while pursuing your career. A travel career lets you choose where and when you want to work. For example, you can complete several contracts in a row, then take a break to spend time with family. Travel nursing agencies often provide health insurance, 401(k) plans and other perks, so you don’t have to stay in a permanent position to enjoy these benefits.

Average Travel Salaries for Home Health Nurses

According to Vivian’s data, the average travel salary for RN home health nurses averaged $2,338 per week on November 26. This weekly rate translates to about $58 per hour based on a 40-hour work week, which is higher than the $37 per hour average for permanent home health RNs. The average travel salary for LPN home health nurses on this date was $1,738 per week or about $43 per hour.

The following table offers a sample of average travel home health RN salaries and travel home health LPN salaries in various states, based on our data on November 26, 2022. 

State Avg. Weekly RN Salary Max. Weekly RN Salary Avg. Weekly LPN Salary Max. Weekly LPN Salary
California $2,373 $4,312 $2,005 $2,180
District of Columbia $2,541 $3,075 $1,940 $2,063
Florida $2,082 $2,720 $1,860 $1,958
Texas $1,981 $2,817 $1,701 $2,021
Oklahoma $1,958 $2,697 Not Available $2,144

Landing a High-Paying Home Health Nurse Jobs

Home health nursing jobs are available through home health agencies, travel nursing agencies, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, public health departments and similar facilities or organizations. To get started on your job search and maximize your earning potential, consider these tips: 

  • Check out online job marketplaces. With a Vivian candidate profile, you can review and compare 1,000s of home health nursing jobs in one place and apply to multiple positions with one application.
  • Look up employer reviews before accepting a position. Authentic reviews let you get a sense of the workplace culture and address concerns at the interview to ensure the company is a good fit.
  • Focus on a specific patient population. Stand out from other candidates by demonstrating knowledge and expertise in an in-demand specialty.
  • Compare salaries in different markets to find the best-paying jobs. Use a resource like Vivian’s salary comparison tool to get transparent pay-related information.
  • Consider working as a travel nurse to boost your earnings while working in different settings and building your resume.
  • Upgrade your credentials to access better career opportunities. Consider earning specialty certifications or transitioning from an LPN to RN.

Becoming a Home Health Nurse

Home health nurses are licensed RNs or LPN/LVNs, with different requirements for entering the field

To become a home health LPN/LVN, you must:

  • Complete a state-approved certificate or diploma program
    • Typically offered at community colleges or technical schools
    • Usually 1 year in length
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN)
  • Obtain a state license to practice

RNs typically enjoy more responsibility, autonomy and better pay. To become a home health RN, you must:

Specializations for Home Health Nurses

While there isn’t a national certification program for home health nurses, RNs can pursue a subspecialty beyond their basic license. These specialties help you acquire the skills and knowledge to care for patient populations commonly seen in home healthcare. For example:

  • Geriatric nurses specialize in the needs of elderly patients and have insight into the challenges of the aging process. 
  • Pediatric nurses focus on infants, children and adolescents with different illnesses and conditions.
  • Psychiatric nurses support patients coping with mental health conditions to help them enjoy full lives in their communities.
  • Medical/surgical nurses have advanced training in helping adults recover from surgeries and medical procedures.
  • Community and public health nurses focus on education, advocacy and vulnerable populations.

LPN/LVNs can also seek further training in various areas, such as dialysis, urology, gerontology, wound care, nephrology and IV therapy, to improve their career opportunities.

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