A private duty nurse can be a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) that provides personal, individual care to patients who require a more intensive and meticulous level of care. This degree of care is often not available from hospitals or nursing facilities because the demand of the collective patients is far too great.
Private duty nurses have the freedom to work independently, free of obligations from a large hospital or care home facility. The benefits of being their own boss and working independently through references and contacts is an enticing prospect for many registered and practical nurses.
Become Licensed to Practice in Your State
Private duty nurses are provided for patients at the direction of their primary physician. Not only does a private duty nurse need to have a license to practice as a registered nurse, but they must also become licensed by the state to receive payments from Medicaid, Medicare, and most health insurance companies. It’s also a good idea to contact the county business license department to see if additional licenses are required.
As a licensed private duty nurse, however, it’s possible to begin billing out for nursing assignments. Medical billing can be a complex process to manage on your own, so it’s advisable to contract a billing management company, like PGMBilling, for your billing and medical record needs.
Become Registered with Local Care Facilities
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The independence of working as a private duty nurse versus a facility’s in-house nurse has its number of advantages, including being in charge of your own schedule and the freedom to accept jobs at your own discretion. Registering with healthcare facilities in your area is a simple way to fill your pipeline with work, because hospitals often need the help of private duty nurses to provide attentive care to certain patients.
Develop Your Skills and Boost Your Portfolio
Developing your skills as a healthcare practitioner is not only a self-challenging way to improve upon yourself but a way of adding credentials to your skill-set and portfolio. For example, becoming certified in specific areas of care such as pediatrics will differentiate you from the other private duty nurses in your area.
Also, specializing in those hard-to-find areas will build your notoriety amongst care facilities and doctors in your area, which will in turn come with recommendations and referrals. You can even take initiative and pass your portfolio around to health care facilities in your region.
Always Create Contractual Agreements with Patients
Because you aren’t represented by the interests of a much larger health care institution, it’s ideal to draw up contracts with the patients you’re providing care. Be sure to designate the length of care, type of care you are to give, and the costs of your services. It’s essential to include a hold harmless clause that will protect against liability issues. Ultimately, this contract should be designed in a way to protect you while providing fair and quality care to the patient.
Establish Relationships with Nursing Agencies
While you may work independently and be your own boss, it’s crucial to develop working relationships with other local private duty nursing agencies. The schedule of a private duty nurse can be hectic and sometimes conflicting, so establishing relationships with nursing agencies will help you out in the event of a scheduling conflict.
Unlike other non-health care jobs, a patient’s well-being and health is on the line if they cannot receive the proper care. Having access to other private duty nurses will only strengthen your reputation as a reliable and efficient health care practitioner.
Being a private duty nurse grants the freedom to be your own boss and offers several advantages that simply aren’t available in other nursing careers. As a private duty nurse, however, the care you will be expected to provide to patients goes beyond the norm. It should not be taken as a burden, as you offer companionship and reassurance to a person who needs more than just specialized health care. So if you make the decision to take up this profession, be prepared to offer more than you have before.
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