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Careers In Focus
Private Duty Nursing

To become a private duty nurse you have to become an RN or LPN first. After becoming qualified for home care nursing jobs, you'll be able to provide individual care for patients who require nursing services in their home.

Physicians prescribe private duty nursing for patients with injuries, physical or mental conditions warranting additional coverage, and certain other illnesses. RNs and LPNs can build an independent business around senior care jobs through their contacts and references.

Private Duty Nurse Licensing

There are times when you can give home care to the disabled or the elderly without having a license. However, you would not be able to receive payments from Medicaid, Medicare, or insurance companies without your RN license. It is better to finish your schooling and get your associates or bachelors degree in nursing so you can obtain a state license. After completing all your licensing tests, you'll be able to bill yourself out taking private duty assignments. Another good idea is to earn extra credentials in specific areas like pediatrics or respiratory care. That way you can qualify for a broader range of jobs. As a private duty nurse you should also be covered with a surety bond. This is a guarantee to your clients that you are going to fulfill your duties as set forth in the contract that you provide.

Building a Nursing Portfolio

Any independent contractor should have a portfolio that shows their talents and qualifications. It should include documentation of your payment option, your state license, and referral letters and recommendations from previous clients.

You should take your portfolio around your local area to geriatric health care facilities, churches, senior centers, and any other place where you might find private duty nursing work. As you provide care and add referrals your business will continue to grow from word of mouth. Then you will be able to stay busy without having to self-promote.

The great thing about private duty nursing is being able to set your own hours and control where it is that you work. You are in control. There are times when local area hospitals and also nursing homes will find that they need to call in some private duty nurses. You can set yourself up to work these assignments on an 'on-call' basis.

Watch For Burn-Out

A lot of private duty nurses find themselves over-extending themselves. They get so caught up in finding work, that they neglect to take the necessary time off for recharging, which is one of the main reasons for independent contracting in the first place. One thing you can do to help out with this is to develop a good relationship with one of the private duty nursing agencies in your area. Set it up so you can call them to have your shifts covered whenever you need time off to unwind. As a new business owner, you should also start building your business by recruiting other RNs to go to work for you. You are a freelancer, and are now able to build up your own agency.

Private Duty Nursing & Children:

Private duty nursing is not always given to senior care patients. Children are the recipients of the professional care of PDNs as well. Most of the time bringing a baby home from the hospital is a joyous occasion, but it can be frightening when the child comes home with apnea monitors, oxygen equipment, and suctioning equipment. Many of these children need to have complicated medication and feeding regimens. This calls for the help of a private duty nurse.

Even if a baby is stable enough to leave the hospital and go home, some parents still want the assurance of having a skilled nurse to help them with any unexpected complications. This resource is available to private duty nurses. There are certain insurers that offer some private duty nursing benefits to qualifying children. This is most often done through Medicaid.

Here are some examples of children who could qualify to receive home nursing care -

• Respiratory-Compromised Children (traumatic brain injury, bronchopulmonary dysplasia).
• Premature Babies (24-32 weeks with complications)
• Ventilator Dependent Children
• Gastronomy - (require feeding via G Button or NJ tube)
• Cardiac-Compromised Children (congenital anomaly, syndrome-related complications)

and more. The role of the private duty nurse today is one of nobility. Private duty nurses are like angels to the people who so desperately need them. Having your own business and helping so many others through your work is indeed a fulfilling, enriching, and rewarding career choice.

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