What Does a Private Duty Nurse Do?

Nursing is one of those professions that you can find its practitioners working in many different settings and performing many different types of functions. Among the most popular and in demand is private duty nursing. A private duty nurse is normally a Registered Nurse (RN) or an Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) who provides one-on-one care to a single patient. This care can be provided in many different settings, including a hospital, clinic, hospice, or even a private home.

Growth of the Profession

Before the advent of intensive care units (ICUs), private duty nursing was more common, but despite this innovation, private duty nurses are in great demand, especially if these professionals have experience dealing with specific types of injuries and illnesses.

Private duty nurses normally perform the same general duties as a nurse who works in a hospital or clinic. This includes caring for and monitoring patients and their status, assisting in care of patients, performing technical functions such as monitoring equipment, and other duties. A private duty nurse can also perform certain emergency procedures when called upon and in the absence of a physician.

Progressive Care

A private duty nurse can also be hired to work on a temporary basis to help a patient move from one phase of care to another. An example of this is when a patient is moved from a hospital or other facility to a home. In this case, a private duty nurse would be called upon to monitor the transfer and give home caregivers the training they need to assist the patient in their recovery. In these cases, a private duty nurse can be hired independently or as part of a visiting nurse program.

More Than Changing Bandages

The responsibilities of private duty nursing are much more than just assisting with direct care or helping caregivers. It is often an important part of private duty nursing to be discreet, having good communication skills between the patient, caregivers, and their doctors. It is also in the nature of private duty nursing to be able to work between often changing environments, such as between a hospital to a home, hospice, or other setting.

Job Requirements

The job requirements for a private duty nurse are generally the same as any other. Most private duty nurses are RNs or LVNs. Some even have advanced degrees. And since most private duty nurses work with specialty care such as obstetrics, geriatrics, or oncology, they might have several years of direct experience in these fields. Private duty nurses are often retired or nearly retired nurses who are looking for less stressful jobs either post-career or nearing the end of their careers.

Job Demands

Although it is not often talked about, private duty nurses are often those who have worked in hospital nursing, but have grown tired of more stressful conditions, long shifts, high nurse-to-patient ratios and other problems associated with staff nursing. Fortunately, in many cases, private duty nursing pays nearly the same as staff nursing, especially when working for an agency or other private organization.