There are countless reasons to pursue a career in healthcare. Whether it’s a strong desire to help others that drives you or the fact you get to wear all sorts of cute scrub jackets and tops while on shift, nursing is a career path millions of Americans choose to embark on to meet their personal and professional goals. If you are currently working in the public sector and are thinking about making a change, going into private duty could be an excellent option. Keep reading to discover a few reasons to consider changing to private duty nursing.
What Is Private Duty Nursing?
Before we dive into the reasons why one might want to switch to private duty nursing, let’s take a few moments to discuss what it is. Frequently confused with other types of in-home nursing, private duty nursing is a rapidly evolving specialty in nursing. As baby boomers continue to age and the elderly population becomes larger and larger, more families are seeking private duty nurses to provide high-quality, consistent care for their loved ones.
Private duty nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who work directly for patients and/or their families. Unlike other types of home care nurses, they do not work in shifts. Instead, private duty nurses often live in the home and work long hours providing round-the-clock care for the patient. A private duty nurse may be hired on a long-term basis, or they may stay with a patient for a shorter period while they recover from an illness or injury. The goal is to help patients remain safely and comfortably in their homes and to provide respite care to additional caregivers.
People choose to become private duty nurses for several reasons. While this job isn’t right for everyone, it can be incredibly rewarding and allows nurses to build deep, meaningful relationships with their clients. That is just one of the many reasons why more and more nurses are choosing to enter this growing field.
Excellent Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a total of 3,096,700 registered nurses in the United States in 2019. By 2029, it is anticipated there will be a need for more than 221,000 additional nurses. This breaks down to an anticipated growth rate of seven percent.
Between 2018 and 2028, the private duty nursing career is expected to growa rate of 12 percent, resulting in 371,500 additional job openings throughout the United States. While all fields of nursing are experiencing significant growth, the private nursing sector is expected to explode over the next several years due to the ever-growing aging population. With more and more seniors opting to age in place rather than moving into nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the demand for private duty nurses will continue to increase well into the foreseeable future.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have concerns regarding their personal health as well as the risk of potentially spreading the disease. This is especially true for healthcare professionals working in hospitals and other facilities where they are at an increased risk of coming in contact with the virus.
Switching to private duty nursing typically means working with a single patient instead of spending your days caring for several individuals. You’ll also usually work in a patient’s home, rather than in a hospital or another healthcare facility (though there are some instances where private duty nurses work in assisted living facilities). Because you will be working with fewer people each day, you are much less likely to come in contact with the virus. If your patient does contract the virus, your risk of spreading it to others is much lower, especially if you live in their home.
Even in a post-COVID-19 world, working in private duty nursing will decrease your risk of coming in contact with various viruses, bacteria, etc. If you are passionate about helping others but have concerns regarding your own health or the potential of spreading illnesses, working in private duty nursing could be a perfect solution. And if you wash your work attire using antimicrobial laundry detergent, you can further protect yourself, your family and your community.
Build Strong Relationships with Patients
Working as a private duty nurse usually means working one on one with a patient. Instead of being responsible for several people during a shift, you get to spend quality time with the person you are caring for and truly get to know them. If you are burned out from dealing with so many people while you’re at work and feeling like you aren’t helping as much as you could because you simply don’t have time to build a strong rapport with the individuals in your care, you may find private duty work more rewarding and enjoyable.
The Bottom Line
The field of private duty nursing is growing at an exponential rate and, for many people, making the switch from working in a hospital or clinic in favor of working in a patient’s home is a very rewarding one. While no job is free from challenges, private duty nurses tend to enjoy more freedom, get to build more meaningful relationships with their patients and often gain a stronger sense they are making a real difference in someone’s life.
If you are thinking about becoming a private duty nurse, you’ll likely need to have at least two to three years of relevant bedside experience. While there isn’t a specific certification that must be obtained to work in the private sector, you may be able to increase your chances of landing a job if you are certified in critical care nursing or medical surgical nursing. These advanced certifications improve your marketability to potential clients and can make it easier to begin your private duty career.
Making a major change in your career is a huge decision, and it’s one that should not be made without careful thought. If the benefits listed above appeal to you, start doing some additional research to determine whether private duty nursing is right for you.