To address the ongoing home health care nursing shortage, Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire (VNH) has partnered with VNA Health System of Northern New England (VNAHSNNE) to offer registered nurse graduates a one-year Nurse Residency program. The purpose of the residency is to promote the development of competency and role transition from student to professional nurse, supporting the resident professionally, emotionally, and socially during the first year of clinical practice.
In rural areas, competing for an already depleted pool of available nurses’ leaves health systems constrained and many home health agencies, such as VNH struggling to find nurses. Nursing schools typically do not have a home health experience integrated into their curriculum, so many nurses coming out of school do not realize that home health nursing is a viable and rewarding career path. Home health is a unique specialty that promotes “top of license” practice given the independent nature of caring for people at home. It also has a direct and meaningful impact on the health and recovery of people where they want to be most, at home.
“I am excited to expand our nurse residency program this year and bring more nurses into the incredible practice of home-based care. Home care allows you to truly focus on the one person in front of you, understand their health goals, and directly impact their progress where it matters most, at home,” said Johanna Beliveau, President and CEO of VNH.
By working with local nursing schools to offer home health experiences, VNH hopes new graduate nurses will look to home health as a career option and is planning on increasing the number of new graduates hired this year. In the clinical experience, the student works under the direct supervision of a nurse mentor and is given the opportunity to apply the nursing process to patient care in the home environment. Amanda Fay, MSN, RN, Manager Clinical Education and Evidence-Based Practice at VNH explains the importance of debriefing with students after the experience to help them connect what they saw in the home with what they learned in school. “I always explain that what they learned in their medical surgical class applies to care that you do in the home as much as the hospital setting,” said Fay.
Providing care to patients in their home means less stress on our hospitals. Giving new nurses the opportunity to learn about the growing field of home health care will help to meet the rising demand for healthcare throughout our region.