Home Health Care Nursing Certification and Diploma Programs
Not to be confused with home health care aides, who help with basic personal care and household tasks but provide little or no medical assistance, home health care nurses do require formal training. Home health care nurses address the needs of patients, such as the elderly or disabled, who are non-ambulatory or require assistance at home for health-related challenges. A nursing diploma is one option for pursuing a home health care type of nursing position.
Diploma Program Overview
There are no diplomas targeted at home health care nursing specifically, but a nursing diploma that leads to the title of registered nurse (RN) would qualify individuals to provide medical care in a home. The term 'diploma' in the nursing world is only used to refer to a credential offered by hospital-affiliated institutions; this type of program is becoming less common. A nursing diploma typically takes 2-3 years to complete, as opposed to a 2-year associate's degree or a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It should be noted that even though this article addresses the RN diploma only, there are home health care nursing positions which require only a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) credential.
A nursing diploma will cover certain categories of patients, such as family health or community health or adult health. Liberal arts courses may be incorporated into the program or may be a prerequisite for admission. Some topics covered include:
- Nursing fundamentals
- Anatomy and physiology
- Skills for patient care
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), registered nurses could expect job growth of 26%, faster than the average for all occupations, from 2010-2020. The increase in demand is due in part to an increasing emphasis on preventive health care and technological advances that allow more conditions to be treated.
The BLS reported the need for home health aides is expected to grow 69% from 2010-2020, much faster than the average for all occupations, due in part to the fact that care in the home is often thought to be more effective than care in a nursing home or hospital. In 2010, five percent of all registered nurses were employed in home health care work, and an additional five percent worked in nursing homes.
Graduates of a nursing diploma program who have passed the NCLEX-RN exam will hold the title of RN. Further career training could take the form of on 'RN-to-BSN' curriculum which fills in the gaps between the credits earned for the diploma and those needed for the bachelor's degree. Licensing may be required to work for an agency that accepts government funding such as Medicare or Medicaid. Nurses should check with their individual state or agency for specifics. Master's degrees in nursing are available which include a focus on home health care nursing.
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