A Day in the Life of a Visiting Nurse

Meet Julie: a dedicated and enthusiastic field nurse who has been working for the Covenant HealthCare Visiting Nurse Association for over 20 years. Julie is a mother, a caregiver, and above all else, a hero to the patients whose lives she has positively impacted throughout her career. Being a visiting nurse requires a certain amount of strength and independence, and we learned this, and much more, when we sat down to learn about Julie’s story.

Where it all began

Julie got the idea to enter the field of nursing after taking an aptitude test in school. When the test results showed nursing could be a strong fit for her professional career, Julie decided to give it a go. Before starting her schooling, Julie’s only real perception of what nurses did on a day-to-day basis stemmed from what she saw in the movies. But after graduating, working one year in a hospital and then becoming a field nurse, Julie never saw any reason to leave. She loved the work nursing allowed her to do, the personal relationships she forged with patients, the flexibility of her schedule and the impact she could make. And now, 22 years later, she seems as happy with her decision as ever.

The course of a typical day

A normal day for Julie starts around 8 a.m. After receiving a call or email from her office with the list of patients she will be visiting that day, Julie begins to plan out her schedule. She checks where patients live and tracks out her driving route. While the geographic radius she covers is fairly condensed, some of Julie’s coworkers can drive up to an hour or an hour and a half between patient visits.

When Julie arrives at her first stop, she gets right to work. A typical visit with a patient takes around 30 minutes, but it can vary depending on the type of care a patient needs. Within a given day, Julie performs a variety of tasks - from basic assessments and recovery education to administering wound care, IVs and more. One of the things she loves most about her profession is that she has the opportunity to establish true relationships with patients, their families and even their pets during visits. It’s a very personal and fulfilling line of work.

After her first visit with a patient, Julie has at least an hour of documentation to complete. This is another major aspect of her job: filling out paperwork and documenting visits. She spends a lot of time communicating with medical suppliers, family members and doctors during the day as well to retrieve supplies and make sure everyone is on the same page with a patient’s treatment plan.

Although her schedule has been planned out since early that morning, Julie’s day can change at any given moment. As patients need urgent assistance or no longer require Julie’s care, the layout of her day can shift drastically. And because of this, Julie’s workday can end anytime from 4 o’clock, on, depending on whether the office assigns any last minute visits. After leaving her last patient’s house, Julie typically ends the day with some final paperwork.

Just as flexibility was something that drew Julie to nursing from the get-go, she has also learned to demonstrate extreme flexibility with her daily schedule. In fact, it’s been a common theme throughout her professional career. Because things can change in an instant, Julie has learned to stay on her toes and go with the flow of the workday, no matter what it may bring.

What a hospital affiliation means

Working for a hospital-affiliated VNA gives Julie access to the latest technology. Unlike a friend of hers who works for an independent VNA and still uses paper, Julie and her coworkers communicate and document all information electronically. The larger staff at the Covenant VNA also prevents Julie from having to work nights and weekends, something that was very important to her while raising her family.

While Julie thought she might return to a traditional nursing career after her children were grown, she has never wanted to leave her work with the Covenant VNA and doesn’t long for the hospital setting anymore. She gives credit to her healthcare facility for listening to employees when things aren’t working and jumping in to change them. It’s a great culture, and one that has drawn her to stay for over twenty years.

Julie has experienced the good and the bad, many rewarding days and some difficult ones throughout her career, but at the end of the day, being a field nurse is a job Julie wouldn’t trade for the world. And we are honored to have her as part of the Covenant family.

Learn more about Covenant’s extraordinary VNA services here.

Posted Date: 1/9/2017

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