9 Steps to Become a Home Health Nurse Practitioner + Salary
Written By: Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Have you been thinking about how to become a home health nurse practitioner? With an increased demand for medical services that are delivered in the comfort of patients' homes, joining this field means that you will have more opportunities and a greater potential to make good money. If you're interested in exploring how to pursue a role as a home health nurse practitioner, I have just the perfect guide for you.
This article will cover all the aspects of the home health nurse practitioner – what do they do, steps-to-become, pros & cons, and salary. This is your one-stop shop for everything to do with becoming a home health NP.
WHAT DOES A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER DO? – 5 MAIN DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1. Provide primary care to patients in their Homes:
As a home health nurse practitioner, you will provide primary care to individuals who are unable to leave their homes. Basically, you are bringing the doctor's office right to the patient’s doorstep. When I was in nursing school, I had to complete a home health rotation. Some of the primary care tasks that I performed were blood pressure monitoring and glucose monitoring.
2. Perform assessments:
When you decide to become a home health nurse practitioner you will be charged with performing ongoing assessments for your home-limited patients. Based upon your assessments, your responsibility as a home health NP will be to order any specialized equipment that your patient will need to function at their highest capacity. You will also have the responsibility of reviewing and ordering any medications your patient may need. You will also need to assess the patient’s home and ensure that the environment that they are living in is safe.
3. Advocate for services:
Becoming a home health NP means you will be the primary advocate for your patients in a way that few other healthcare professionals can. Sure, doctors can prescribe medication, and nurses can administer treatments. Still, you, my friend, can help connect patients with the community, and any other healthcare services they need to prevent and treat many health conditions.
4. Provide support to the family:
As a home health nurse practitioner, one of the most important aspects of your job is supporting your patients' families. It's not just about treating the illness - it's about providing emotional support to the entire family unit. You will be helping them understand the diagnosis, walking them through the treatment plan, and providing guidance and comfort during a trying time. It's a job that requires a ton of heart, but as any good nurse practitioner knows, that's simply par for the course.
5. Determine if the home is best:
As a home health nurse practitioner, you hold the keys to the castle of patient care. Okay, maybe not a literal castle, but you get to help determine whether the home is truly the best place for a patient to receive the care they need. It's a big responsibility and one that requires a keen eye for detail, a compassionate heart, and the ability to think on your feet. After all, not all homes are created equal or safe, and sometimes, the most important part of your job is recognizing when a change of scenery may be necessary.
RECOMMENDED ONLINE NURSE PRACTITIONER PROGRAMS
5 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES NEEDED TO SUCCESSFULLY PERFORM YOUR DUTIES AS A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER
Being a home health nurse practitioner requires a sense of self-motivation. It's crucial to be resilient and determined on days when it feels like everything is working against you. The ability to stay motivated is what will drive your career forward.
In the field of home health nursing confidence plays a role, in your success. It's not only about having knowledge and skills; it's also about how you interact with your patients and their families on a daily basis. Confidence allows you to communicate effectively, build trust, and demonstrate your expertise. Let’s be honest – entering someone’s home can be intimidating, but letting your confidence shine through can help put everyone at ease.
Home health nurse practitioners must have problem-solving skills. Think of yourself as a problem solver, like MacGyver relying on your expertise and critical thinking abilities to tackle any challenges that come your way. You will need to handle situations and make decisions that can have an impact, on both you and your patient’s progress.
4. Time management:
Time management plays a role in your position as a home health nurse practitioner. With multiple responsibilities and patients to attend effective time management becomes a skill in your toolkit. Falling behind on rounds or neglecting care can have consequences for both your day and the patient. Additionally, time management involves not only punctuality but also managing tasks like paperwork and scheduling.
Becoming a home health nurse practitioner will require that you are flexible. This is because each day brings a different scenario. You may have scheduled check-ins with one patient. End up being needed by another. Being adaptable is key in this line of work. In today’s world, it's important to be flexible and responsive, to changing plans. The days of adhering to schedules and routines are long gone. You must have the ability to adapt and adjust as the needs of your patients evolve.
WHERE DO HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONERS MOSTLY WORK? – TOP 3 WORK SETTINGS
1. In a patient’s home:
Home Health NPs care for patients in the comfort of their homes
. Home health nurse practitioners serve as the heroes of the medical field, ensuring that patients who cannot leave their homes receive essential healthcare services. Becoming a home health NP means that you will be responsible for monitoring vital signs and administering medications amongst other duties in this setting.
2. In Hospice:
Having a home health nurse practitioner can be an asset when it comes to hospice care. In this setting, your unique skills, knowledge, and experience can make a difference for patients and their families. The fact that you can offer all of this right in the patient’s home brings relief to everyone involved.
3. In a Community Center:
You'll find home health nurse practitioners working in community health centers too! These healthcare professionals bring care directly into the community. This can be in the form of blood pressure monitoring or a vaccine clinic. It's like having your healthcare coordinator who understands your community inside out.
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL WORK SCHEDULE AND WORK HOURS OF A HOME HEALTH NP?
When it comes to becoming a home health nurse practitioner, your typical work schedule is as unpredictable as the weather. You could be working daytime or nighttime hours. And if you thought weekends were reserved for brunch and Netflix binges, think again. If your patients need you on a Saturday or Sunday, you'll be right there with them. Remember some patients will need round-the-clock care.
TOP 4 PROS OF BECOMING A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER
PRO #1: Autonomy:
One of the top pros of becoming a home health nurse practitioner is that you will experience something that many professionals only dream of having, autonomy
. Yes, you will be in charge of your destiny, steering your ship and calling the shots. From arranging visits and devising treatment plans to selecting the snacks for your travels, you'll have the authority to make all these decisions. You will also get the chance to build connections with your patients and their families, customizing their care plans according to their needs and making choices that directly impact their overall health and well-being.
PRO #2: Flexibility:
As a home health nurse practitioner, one of the advantages is the flexibility that this career offers. You don't have to be tied to a desk or endure rush hour traffic during the 9-5 routine. Instead, you can create a schedule that suits your lifestyle, whether you prefer mornings or late nights. If you need to take a weekday off for errands or visit a friend, feel free to do so. Likewise, it's not an issue if you need to work between picking up your kids from school and preparing dinner. The flexibility of this job allows you to earn a living while still enjoying your life. Take it from me, working those 12-hour shifts in the hospital will definitely not give you the flexibility that you would have if you decided to become a home health nurse practitioner.
PRO #3: Providing that human touch:
As a home health nurse practitioner, there's nothing quite like knowing that you've made a difference in someone's life. Not only do you get to provide necessary medical care, but you get to do it in a personal and meaningful way. It's no secret that healthcare can sometimes be a sterile and impersonal environment. Still, as a home health nurse practitioner, you can break through that barrier and connect with your patients.
PRO #4: Job security:
They say job security is a thing of the past, but not for home health nurse practitioners. One of the biggest advantages of becoming a home health nurse practitioner is that these professionals are in high demand, and with an aging population, that demand won't be declining anytime soon. So, while others fret about layoffs and unemployment rates, as a home health nurse practitioner you can relax knowing you will always have a job.
TOP 4 CONS OF BECOMING A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER
CON #1: Unpredictable:
While working with patients in the comfort of their homes may sound appealing, it's definitely not a walk in the park. One of the top cons of becoming a home health nurse practitioner is the nature of the environment that you will be working in. You never quite know what you will encounter inside someone’s home. It could be as pleasant as walking into cleaned carpets and the aroma of an apple pie baking in the oven. On the flip side, it could also mean dealing with a house full of cats and an unpleasant lingering odor reminiscent of a century-old tuna sandwich. During nursing school, I did a rotation in home care, and let me tell you, each home was different from the next. Some homes I would fantasize about living in, while others I wanted to run for the hills.
CON #2: Lack of resources:
One of the downsides of becoming a home health NP is the availability of equipment and staff. As a clever home health NP, it's important to be resourceful in finding solutions to overcome any challenges. However, there are instances where even seasoned home health nurse practitioners could benefit from assistance or specialized tools to complete their tasks effectively.
CON #3: Not for new nurses:
This profession of being a nurse practitioner in home health nursing comes with its share of challenges. It's important to note that this work environment may not be suitable for nurses who lack experience. Dealing with the added responsibility of providing care in a patient's home requires confidence and expertise to navigate the aspects of delivering care in this context.
CON #4: Safety:
One of the biggest disadvantages of becoming a home health nurse practitioner that you will need to consider is safety
when working in this field. While there are advantages like avoiding office politics and having control over your schedule it's crucial not to overlook this aspect. Unlike nurses working in other settings, those in home healthcare may need to visit neighborhoods, with high crime rates to provide care for their patients.
WHAT EDUCATION IS REQUIRED TO BECOME A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?
Becoming a home health nurse practitioner is quite an undertaking. It involves obtaining both a Bachelors
Degree in Nursing. However, embarking on this journey brings with it responsibility and numerous opportunities. When you specialize as a Family Nurse Practitioner
you'll have the chance to provide care for individuals, at every stage of life from birth, to the end of life. This will make you highly desired in the job market.
To achieve this goal there are two paths you can choose after earning your BSN. The first option is pursuing a BSN to MSN NP
program to become a Home Health NP. Alternatively, you can opt for a degree by going from BSN to DNP NP
. Below we are going to dive a bit deeper into the nitty gritty of these two paths.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?
Once you finish high school you'll be faced with decisions regarding your educational journey. Let’s explore the paths in terms of duration. To begin with, you'll need to obtain a BSN, which typically takes 36 to 48 months to complete.
After that, you'll have the option to pursue a degree in one of two ways. The first is, by earning a BSN to MSN
degree, which usually takes about 12 to 24 months. Alternatively, you might choose to pursue a degree known as the BSN to DNP pathway. This particular route requires 36 to 48 months of commitment.
| Program Type || Program Length |
| BSN ||36 to 48 Months |
| BSN-to-MSN (NP) ||12 to 24 Months|
| BSN-to-DNP (NP) ||36 to 48 Months |
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BECOME A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?
One of the crucial aspects of becoming a Home Health NP that we need to touch upon is the cost of gaining the education you will need to work in this field. The first step of earning your BSN will cost you anywhere from $8,730 to $219,450 for your degree. This is all dependent on the program you choose to attend.
Now, let's look at how much advancing your degree will cost. The BSN-to-MSN
degree will run you anywhere from $20,740 to $201,980. If you decide to earn your BSN-to-DNP
degree, you are looking at $28,390 to $277,320. Keep in mind the cost will vary from program to program.
These figures can be overwhelming, but they do not have to be. When earning my Bachelor's and Master's degrees, I was on a payment plan with the University. By sticking to a payment plan, I could pay for my education without needing loans. So, in a nutshell, it does not hurt to ask if the program you decide to attend can offer you a payment plan to pay for your education. This may cut down on incurring debt.
| Program Type || Program Cost |
| BSN ||$8,730 - $219,450|
| BSN-to-MSN (NP) ||$20,740 - $201,980|
| BSN-to-DNP (NP) ||$28,390 - $277,320|
WHAT IS THE STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS OF BECOMING A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?
(The following is a step-by-step process to become a Home Health nurse practitioner after high school.)
To start your journey to becoming a home health nurse practitioner it is vital to begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing
(BSN). It is essential to complete this step before pursuing education.
Next, you will need to take your state boards. To pursue a career in nursing it is imperative to pass your state boards or the NCLEX exam
. This examination ensures that you possess the skills and readiness to practice as a nurse.
Once you have successfully cleared the NCLEX RN
examination the subsequent step involves obtaining the license you have been diligently working towards. Communicate, with your state board of nursing, where you intend to showcase your abilities and fulfill all the application procedures.
One important step you must undertake is to gain experience as a home health nurse. I know it may seem like an undertaking, but the effort you put in will be worth it. By working as a home health nurse before advancing to a practice nursing role you'll have the chance to interact with patients and encounter scenarios, which will greatly enhance your expertise in healthcare.
Now that you have gathered experience and knowledge as a registered nurse it's time to elevate your status by becoming board certified
. This process requires some effort; maintaining an RN license having at least two years of experience completing 2,000 hours of clinical practice within the past three years and undertaking 30 hours of continuing education in the field. However, it's important to consider the benefits that come with this certification. Once you successfully pass the examination and obtain your certification, your standing as a healthcare professional will be further solidified. You'll truly be recognized as a contributor, to the field of healthcare.
To continue on your journey, the next step is to advance your nursing career and become an advanced practice nurse. This involves obtaining a master's degree and becoming a nurse practitioner. You have two choices:
BSN to MSN; You can specialize as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) through this path, which typically takes around two years full-time or three years if done part-time. The cost for this option varies between $20,740 and $201,980.
BSN to DNP; if you decide on this route as an FNP it will require three years of full-time study or four to five years if pursued part-time. The cost for this option ranges from $28,390 to $277,320.
After completing your Masters's degree as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) it becomes crucial to pass a National Board Certification examination in your field, such, as Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Additionally please keep in mind that meeting criteria, including earning continuing education credits will be necessary for the renewal of your certification.
Once you have cleared your NP boards the next step is to apply for a Nurse Practitioner Licensure in your state. It's important to remember that each state has its set of requirements for obtaining and maintaining your license. In some states holding both an RN license and an NP license may be mandatory.
The final stage in the journey, towards becoming a Home Health NP is applying for job opportunities
. When crafting your resume
make sure to highlight all of your qualities. You want colleagues to get a glimpse of what you can bring to the team. Why you would be such a valuable addition.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIRED OR RECOMMENDED CERTIFICATIONS FOR HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONERS?
As a Home Health Nurse Practitioner (NP) you'll discover that there are certifications that are essential for effectively carrying out your duties. Below you'll find some of the certifications that are necessary to excel in your profession.
Basic Life Support:
Basic Life Support (BLS) involves the actions taken to sustain a patient’s life during emergencies. This certification encompasses techniques such as resuscitation (CPR) airway management and defibrillator usage.
Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS):
PALS refers to emergency care aimed at stabilizing a child and increasing their chances of survival. This certification covers procedures such as airway management, administration of IV medications, and various therapies.
Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS):
NALS is specialized medical care focused on saving the lives of infants. This training goes beyond acquiring skills; it equips individuals with knowledge to identify and treat conditions in newborns. NALS emphasizes interventions, like airway management, chest compressions and administration of medications to stabilize a newborn's condition until specialized care can be provided.
WHAT IS THE STARTING SALARY OF A NEW GRAD HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER?
So, I am sure you are sitting on the edge of your seat wondering when I will talk about some numbers. Well, wait no further. As a Home Health Nurse practitioner fresh out of school, you will earn an annual income of $92,150. This salary will break down to a monthly income of $7,680 or a weekly wage of $1,772. If you break that down further, you will be earning an hourly wage of $44.30.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE SALARY OF A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER?
Now, let’s take a look at what your salary will look like after you have been working for some time. The average home health nurse practitioner salary will be an hourly wage of $63.24. This will add up to a weekly income of $2,530 or a monthly income of $10,960. This means you will be earning $131,543 a year.
WHAT IS THE SALARY BY LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE OF A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER?
Now, let's look at how your experience level will play into your salary. As we previously discussed, you can expect an annual salary of $92,150 when starting in this field. Once you have gained some experience, one to four years, your annual salary will increase to $108,930.
After you have worked in this field anywhere from five to nine years, your salary will again increase to an annual wage of $128,300. After ten to nineteen years as a home health NP, you will see an annual income of $142,930. After twenty years of experience, you will be rewarded nicely with an annual wage of $174,340.
| Level of Experience || Hourly || Weekly || Monthly || Annual |
| Entry-Level ||$44.30||$1,772||$7,680||$92,150|
| 1-4 Years of Experience ||$52.37||$2,095||$9,080||$108,930|
| 5-9 Years of Experience ||$61.68||$2,467||$10,690||$128,300|
| 10-19 Years of Experience ||$68.72||$2,749||$11,910||$142,930|
| 20 Years or More Experience ||$83.82||$3,353||$14,530||$174,340|
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE SALARY OF A HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONER BY STATE?
Your salary will be different depending on which state you choose to work in. For example, if you choose to work in Alabama, you will earn an annual income of $112,480. Let's now compare that to your annual salary if you work in California. In California, you will be earning $166,830 a year. That is quite a difference. Here is something to think about although your salary differs from state to state; your job duties do not. So, essentially, your annual salary is drastically different from state to state, but you are doing the same job.
| State || Hourly || Weekly || Monthly || Annual |
| Alabama || $54.08 || $2,163 || $9,370 || $112,480 |
| Alaska || $59.04 || $2,362 || $10,230 || $122,800 |
| Arizona || $61.58 || $2,463 || $10,670 || $128,090 |
| Arkansas || $54.33 || $2,173 || $9,420 || $113,010 |
| California || $80.21 || $3,208 || $13,900 || $166,830 |
| Colorado || $59.06 || $2,363 || $10,240 || $122,850 |
| Connecticut || $66.70 || $2,668 || $11,560 || $138,730 |
| Delaware || $61.16 || $2,446 || $10,600 || $127,210 |
| Florida || $55.95 || $2,238 || $9,700 || $116,380 |
| Georgia || $58.55 || $2,342 || $10,150 || $121,790 |
| Hawaii || $65.08 || $2,603 || $11,280 || $135,370 |
| Idaho || $59.71 || $2,388 || $10,350 || $124,200 |
| Illinois || $62.04 || $2,482 || $10,750 || $129,040 |
| Indiana || $61.75 || $2,470 || $10,700 || $128,430 |
| Iowa || $65.02 || $2,601 || $11,270 || $135,240 |
| Kansas || $56.64 || $2,266 || $9,820 || $117,820 |
| Kentucky || $55.44 || $2,218 || $9,610 || $115,310 |
| Louisiana || $59.96 || $2,398 || $10,390 || $124,720 |
| Maine || $60.00 || $2,400 || $10,400 || $124,810 |
| Maryland || $60.69 || $2,428 || $10,520 || $126,240 |
| Massachusetts || $70.35 || $2,814 || $12,190 || $146,330 |
| Michigan || $57.71 || $2,308 || $10,000 || $120,040 |
| Minnesota || $65.00 || $2,600 || $11,270 || $135,210 |
| Mississippi || $59.48 || $2,379 || $10,310 || $123,710 |
| Missouri || $57.41 || $2,296 || $9,950 || $119,410 |
| Montana || $60.85 || $2,434 || $10,550 || $126,560 |
| Nebraska || $60.35 || $2,414 || $10,460 || $125,520 |
| Nevada || $69.10 || $2,764 || $11,980 || $143,730 |
| New Hampshire || $63.80 || $2,552 || $11,060 || $132,700 |
| New Jersey || $72.66 || $2,907 || $12,600 || $151,140 |
| New Mexico || $65.72 || $2,629 || $11,390 || $136,690 |
| New York || $71.76 || $2,870 || $12,440 || $149,260 |
| North Carolina || $58.05 || $2,322 || $10,060 || $120,750 |
| North Dakota || $57.79 || $2,312 || $10,020 || $120,210 |
| Ohio || $59.57 || $2,383 || $10,330 || $123,900 |
| Oklahoma || $61.75 || $2,470 || $10,700 || $128,440 |
| Oregon || $69.11 || $2,764 || $11,980 || $143,750 |
| Pennsylvania || $61.15 || $2,446 || $10,600 || $127,190 |
| Rhode Island || $63.53 || $2,541 || $11,010 || $132,140 |
| South Carolina || $55.36 || $2,214 || $9,600 || $115,140 |
| South Dakota || $58.64 || $2,346 || $10,160 || $121,970 |
| Tennessee || $50.38 || $2,015 || $8,730 || $104,800 |
| Texas || $63.23 || $2,529 || $10,960 || $131,520 |
| Utah || $58.64 || $2,346 || $10,160 || $121,970 |
| Vermont || $59.15 || $2,366 || $10,250 || $123,030 |
| Virginia || $59.34 || $2,373 || $10,290 || $123,420 |
| Washington || $68.77 || $2,751 || $11,920 || $143,050 |
| West Virginia || $54.17 || $2,167 || $9,390 || $112,670 |
| Wisconsin || $61.48 || $2,459 || $10,660 || $127,880 |
| Wyoming || $58.45 || $2,338 || $10,130 || $121,570 |
WHAT IS THE JOB OUTLOOK LIKE FOR HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONERS?
So, now let's take a look at what the job outlook is for this field. The good news is that this line of work is expected to grow by 45.68% between 2021 and 2031. You will essentially be in a field that is in demand. You will have job security.
USEFUL ORGANIZATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS FOR HOME HEALTH NURSE PRACTITIONERS
When it comes to home healthcare, the National Association, for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is truly remarkable. They have a commitment to promoting, safeguarding, and advancing top-notch care for individuals in the comfort of their homes. If you're interested, in exploring duty home care certification or executive certification NAHC is the place to turn to.
With the increasing number of individuals and the growing need, for healthcare services there is a rising demand for top-notch home care. The International Home Care Nurses Organization (IHCNO) is an association dedicated to advancing the field of home care nursing through practice, education, and research. By establishing and supporting a network of nurses the IHCNO strives to ensure that all patients who reside in their homes receive excellent care. Through their vision, the organization prioritizes the health and well-being of patients in need of home care services. Recognized as a leader in home care nursing the IHCNO is committed to advocating for standards of care and ensuring that patients receive assistance within their own homes.
Ensuring access, to high-quality healthcare is vital for every individual regardless of their income or abilities. The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) deeply understands this core principle. The VNA works towards providing expert and compassionate services to individuals and families who face resource challenges. With a team of talented healthcare professionals, the VNA goes above and beyond reaching out to underserved areas and extending support where others may not. Whether it’s within the comfort of a client's home or at a community center the skilled professionals at VNA always strive to deliver care and assistance that empowers clients to thrive. This organization remains unwavering in its commitment to making an impact on the lives of those who need it the most.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
Becoming a home health nurse practitioner can be both rewarding and challenging. The information outlined in this article about the home health nurse practitioner – what do they do, steps-to-become, pros & cons, and salary will provide you with a guide along your journey. There are advantages for individuals who are motivated and willing to invest the necessary effort. The salary for home health nurse practitioners is competitive when compared to nursing roles, which serves as an incentive for those who choose this career path. Succeeding in home health requires dedication, resilience and a strong commitment to excellence. All the hard work pays off when you witness the outcomes it brings!
So why wait? Begin your journey today. Embrace whatever opportunities tomorrow may present!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED
1. On Average, How Much Does A Home Health NP Make Per Hour?
A Home Health nurse practitioner's average hourly salary is $63.24.
2. On Average, How Much Does A Home Health NP Make Per Week?
The average salary of a Home Health nurse practitioner per week is $2,530.
3. On Average, How Much Does A Home Health NP Make Per Month?
The average salary of a Home Health nurse practitioner per month is $10,960.
4. On Average, How Much Does A Home Health NP Make Per Year?
The average salary of a Home Health nurse practitioner per year is $131,543.
Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.