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How two nurses found careers in the home care setting

For many of our home care nurses, a career outside of the hospital or clinic setting is an unexpected – and exciting – turn in their career path. Suddenly able to use their comprehensive skills to independently provide life-sustaining care for complex children, they develop bonds, watching patients grow and reach incredible milestones while thriving in their community – all thanks to the longevity of home care.

And as some of our nurses have discovered, there are more career opportunities than they initially expected when they started as a home care nurse. Learn about how two nurses have transitioned into new roles at PHS. Are you interested in working here? Learn more about our career opportunities here!

From home care to infusion

When Patrick Collins graduated from school, he started as a home care nurse at PHS after a friend mentioned what a great company it is to work for. During his 16 months in the field, Patrick built connections with patients and their families that were stronger than he expected, and enjoyed knowing everything about his patients’ diagnoses, cares and needs.

Patrick and Nicole attend a Twins game with co-workers

Patrick and Nicole attend a Twins game with co-workers

“PHS redefined what health care was for me,” mentioned Patrick. “I always thought the part of classes about holistic care was the part to skim by, and my career would be in an ER. Then I got this job, where you really connect with patients and care about their whole being in a unique way. It just completely changed my concept of what providing care means.”

So when Patrick got a job in the office for an infusion nurse after over a year as a field nurse, he quickly realized just how much he would miss these patients he’s spent so much time with – and discovered how much families appreciate the care he provided too.

“I got hugs from parents during my last shift, telling me thank you for everything – and I realized that even though the parents don’t always vocalize how important you are to their family, they are so appreciative,” said Patrick.

Today, Patrick is settling into his fourth month as an infusion nurse and as he adjusts to having more patients but seeing them less frequently, finds himself using skills he gained as a home care nurse – helping to share tips and tricks other parents try, or encouraging parents in how they’re doing certain cares.

“I didn’t know these jobs existed until I got a job in home care,” added Patrick. “You just have to find something that meets your personality and if that’s home care, then stick with it and strive to be in the best role for you. I think home care nursing is going in a very exciting direction, and I can’t wait to see it evolve.”

Growth within the department

During Nicole Schuman’s two and a half years in the field, she started as a home care nurse, was promoted to nurse trainer, and then promoted again into a preceptor role – moves that consistently challenged her professionally and also gave her the opportunity to get experience in a variety of settings and situations. In September 2015, Nicole was hired into a new role created at PHS – office triage nurse.

Nicole visits a patient she cared for as a field nurse.

Nicole visits a patient she cared for as a field nurse.

“As an office triage nurse, I manage emails regarding progress notes, questions, and updates on patient – responding back or taking action, if necessary,” said Nicole. “I think a lot of my ability to succeed as an office triage nurse is due to the skills she acquired in the field.”

Because she spent so much time charting and submitting medications and then educating other nurses on how to perform these duties as a nurse trainer, it was extremely beneficial for Nicole to come into the office already having these skills and training.

But after 10 years of hands-on patient care, Nicole misses working with patients on a regular basis and looks forward to seeing kiddos when they come into the office.

“Some days I miss being in the field where I was immersed in the excitement of providing direct patient care, and sometimes it’s really rewarding to manage so many patient or provider needs and updates,” added Nicole.

Finding the right spot

Nicole (left), with fellow former field nurses who are now office-based

Nicole (left), with fellow former field nurses who are now office-based

At PHS, nurses can be found in a number of roles across the company – whether it be home care nurse, nurse trainer, infusion nurse, or case manager.

Our home care nurses make a difference in the lives of every patient and family they care for, and we cannot share our appreciation enough as they provide care in a setting that means patients are at home with their families. At PHS, we are proud of the paths many of our home care nurses have paved for themselves, whether in the field or the office, and know that with the best employees come the best outcomes for our patients, their families, and staff.

Originally published: April 7, 2016