I think nursing is a wonderful profession to enter because it gives you a chance to earn a living while giving back to your community and showing love in your daily work. While I spoke with these kids, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to write a few articles about different areas of nursing that are available for nurses to specialize in. I think it is good for children and teenagers considering their future to hear what it’s like to be a nurse in these different fields, so they can explore all of their options.
The first specialty I would like to write about is what I currently specialize in: private duty nursing.
Private duty nursing is much like home health nursing. The difference in private duty nursing and what is commonly known as home health nursing is that while home health nurses typically visit a home for only an hour or two at the most, private duty nurses are in the home for eight, 12 or 24 hours daily.
This amount of time is determined by the insurance provider and takes into account the patient’s disease progress, disability related to the disease, the capacity the patient and or patient care giver has to care for themselves in the future, etc.
I specifically work with pediatric patients who either have a tracheostomy or are ventilator dependent. On a typical day, I go to the patient’s home and assist them with bathing and dressing, give them their medication by mouth or through a gastrostomy tube, make sure they are constantly achieving an oxygen level greater than 92 percent, and many other things that pertain to their health.
Some patients are school age, and I go to school with them and monitor their health while at school, but most are at home 24/7. Most of my time is spent caring for the patient’s airway. Many patients require frequent suctioning, as tracheostomy’s produce thick secretions that must be cleared in order for them to breathe. Those patients with ventilators require constant monitoring, as the ventilator is equipped with an alarm that sounds if something is amiss with the ventilation of the patient.
One of the most important aspects of my job is education. The time will come when the nurses will not be able to be in the home, so it is extremely important that the patient and family are educated on how to care for the patients needs themselves.
While there are many other things about my job I could discuss, this is a good summary of my duties.
Next week, we will look at another nursing specialty, but if you have any questions about private duty nursing, please feel free to email or call me. I would love to answer any questions.
Justin Glaze is an LPN and contributing columnist for the Walker County Messenger. He can be reached at 678-988-1011 or email@example.com.