1. Lynn, Sarah N. SN

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For most of my time in nursing school, clinical rotations took place solely in the hospital setting. Though I enjoy learning in that environment and look forward to initially starting my career in a hospital, there are cons to working in such a sterile atmosphere. Nurses can start to see patients as an assignment rather than an individual with personal wants and needs. Older adult patients, away from their familiar home surroundings, can become forgetful and agitated, and because of COVID-19, visitors were often restricted, making it difficult to communicate with their family members.


Before starting my home care rotation during community health nursing, I didn't expect to learn much about patient care. After all-the patients were doing well enough to be discharged from the hospital. I was pleasantly surprised to realize home care allowed me to explore the possibility of providing nursing care in a more personal style. Entering a person's home to provide care was beneficial to me as a nursing student. In the hospital, every patient is in the same gown, the same bed, and has the same furniture in their room. Visiting patients in their homes allowed me to construct an idea of the patient as an individual with unique needs. Home care allowed me to see the patient as someone's mother, father, sibling, or grandparent. Photos of family were plentiful. Family pets came to greet us, and homes were often littered with the remnants of hobbies or work.


I was also able to learn many new things throughout my home care experience. The nurses I followed had personal relationships with their patients. They greeted each other by first name and asked about their personal lives. It became obvious that the nurses cared deeply for the patients and were not only interested in providing care, but also in forming relationships. Many of the nurses saw the same patients weekly and became very close with those under their care. I was able to change wound dressings as a new nursing student and perfect my vital signs skills, as well as develop better physical assessment skills. Surprisingly, I gained a lot of new knowledge about a wide variety of health conditions and the importance of medication reconciliation.


Because I was able to drive along with the nurses to patients' homes, I learned a lot from their personal experiences in healthcare and how home care had impacted them professionally. Most of the nurses reported only positive experiences and enjoyed the flexibility that home care allows. Many of the nurses I followed told me they were able to create schedules that revolved around their personal and family needs.


Overall, my experience in the home care setting was positive. I learned a lot about the need for good discharge planning. I was grateful for the opportunity to provide care for these patients and know that, though I was only visiting for a short time, I had made an impact in their lives, as they did on mine.