The power of good home-based care is something Dr. Sun Jones has first-hand experience with.
Jones, a family nurse practitioner for over 21 years and a professor at the University of Phoenix, said the personal care her 91-year-old mother receives at home has changed the way her mom is able to live.
“She has a podiatrist that comes to see her, a cardiologist that she’s able to see via telehealth and a primary care nurse practitioner,” Jones told Home Health Care News. “Naturally, I love the home environment for nurses. The environment for nurses in a hospital setting is a challenge these days and a lot of them are going to home-based care to feel less burnt out and for an easier schedule.”
Jones now also holds the title as “systematic plan of evaluation and curriculum evaluator.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses in hospitals and other traditional settings have been setting record turnover rates due to the challenging – and sometimes dangerous – working environments.
The issue has been exacerbated over the last several years, and because of that, Jones and other educators have noticed a shift in the way nurses think about their future careers.
“The shift is there,” Jones said. “If there’s going to be more demand for home-based care, there’s going to be a need for nursing staff members in home-based care. There are so many nurse practitioners who are working in home-based primary care settings and that wasn’t as popular 10 years ago.”
With changes implemented by the Affordable Care Act, Jones said she noticed a shift where the overall wellness of a community started to take precedence over an acute setting. Preventing illness, creating healthy habits and creating a more comfortable aging environment for seniors gained momentum, she said.
As a professor who is teaching young nursing students — and in her case, future nurse practitioners — Jones makes sure to let young people know home-based care work is an option. Too often, students are influenced by a career in nursing by what they see on television and other popular culture references.
Home-based care nursing doesn’t have the same visibility as nurses in an acute setting, but Jones said she is starting to see a shift.
“A lot of TV shows and publicity was done for hospital care,” she said. “It’s more glorified to work in the ICU, for example. I think things are shifting now. Nurses are finding their niches in community-based settings a little more.”
There hasn’t been an emphasis from a curriculum standpoint in Jones’ experience, but more attention is paid to home-based now because of the clear demand.
It’s also easy to entice students with jobs in the space because there are plenty of them on the national scale.
“We do encourage students into home-based care because there are so many large, national companies that are constantly hiring,” she said.
However, it’s not always the easiest transition for nurses who are either coming out of school or making the move from an acute setting into the home.
Just like hospital settings, the reality is that home-based care might not be for everyone.
“Some homes are very nice and clean and others, from what I’ve heard from colleagues in the home-based care space, you can’t find a place to sit down,” Jones said.
It’s a balance, just like every other setting in nursing.
But there does seem to be a shift in the stigma around home-based care among nurses, she said.
“When I became a nurse practitioner, I wanted to work in a family practice for a couple of years to get experience and then move on to some specialty and make more money,” Jones said. “But if you want to do what you love to do, then you find your own niche and I think we’re seeing that pattern. People are enjoying community-based nursing where they’re feeling accepted and respected in their own field.”