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Five Qualities We Look for in a Home Health or Hospice Nurse Applicant 

There is a reason why we refer to our clinicians as “healthcare heroes” – the work they do truly is life-changing and enables patients to stay comfortably in their homes, where they most want to be. Working directly with patients as a home health or hospice nurse requires a distinct set of qualities as they are moving about in our communities delivering care. To succeed in these roles, VNA Care looks for the following characteristics in candidates for our home health and hospice nursing positions.

Independence and Critical Thinking: Home health and hospice nurses are working at the top of their licensure in an environment unlike any other in healthcare. They need to possess a high level of aptitude and autonomy that allow them to operate independently on a day-to-day basis as they care for patients with a wide range of chronic or advanced diseases, post-surgical care needs, illnesses and injuries. Our nurses must possess the ability to independently communicate their assessment findings and the care needs of the patient to the attending or specialty physician. The work requires keen assessment skills, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and self-motivation to empower patients to meet their health care goals, whether it is regaining their health and independence or making the most of life when facing a serious or life-limiting condition.

Teamwork: Although home health and hospice nursing requires autonomy, our clinicians are never alone. There is a community of support at VNA Care behind them, and the ability to work as part of a patient’s care team is crucial. Nurses can draw on the expertise of and learn new skills from VNA Care’s nurse specialists, including advanced wound care, pleurx catheters, and infusion therapy. They also have the support of their clinical services manager and participate in interdisciplinary collaboration with other members of the team (rehab therapists, social workers, etc.) to provide the best possible patient care.

Organization: Organizational skills are critical in a home health or hospice care role, particularly when working independently in the field. Our nurses are visiting with multiple patients per day with complex and unique needs. Every day is different for our nurses and they often need to multi-task in order to get the job done. Organization helps them handle multiple priorities and adapt quickly to unforeseen changes if necessary.

Empathy and compassion: Many of our nurses primarily work with elderly patients. The people we serve may be recovering from surgery, managing an illness or other health conditions, or they may be on their end-of-life journey. Empathy and compassion are important parts of supporting them through their healthcare journey, while also understanding and honoring their wishes. This is especially true when caring for someone where they live. The home setting provides a better opportunity to get to know patients and their family support systems, enabling nurses to develop rewarding relationships and better reach someone’s goals for care. An empathic and compassionate approach to care makes all the difference in creating that source of support for patients and families.

Passion for the work we do: Most importantly, VNA Care nurses enjoy working face-to-face with patients and being an integral part of our communities each day. They are eager to build meaningful relationships through uninterrupted time with patients and their families, becoming trusted partners to help people live their best lives at home.

Home health and hospice care is uniquely rigorous and exceptionally rewarding. Although it requires a specific set of skills and characteristics, nurses joining our team have time to ease into their new roles while working with a preceptor and educator through our strong orientation program. If you see these qualities in yourself and are interested in joining our team, please check out our careers page. We would love to meet you and welcome you to our team!