Staying organized in life is hard enough. Now imagine working on a short- or long-term assignment as a home health nurse. While you may have learned some of the tricks for organizing the wealth of information you handled in nursing school, now you’re about to go on the road and add an extra layer of complexity to an already intense job. What should you do to stay organized as you travel and work as a home health nurse?
Your Car Is Your Office
Home healthcare nurses are in high demand. As the baby boomer population ages, there will be additional need for home care nurses to provide comfort and caring in order to keep elderly populations at home and living independently for as long as possible. This is a noble goal for an already noble profession. But one of the challenges for home health nurses is how to stay organized when the workplace setting changes on every visit. At a hospital, you have a private or shared workspace, or at least a nursing station, as your home base. Home health nurses often end up taking notes in their car because there’s no time to go back to the office between patient visits.
Keeping your car de-cluttered, neat and clean is a good first organizing step for the home health nurse. Using that old three-ring binder from nursing school to organize case notes might be helpful. Using the navigational system on your car or smartphone will get you there, of course. But having a file folder box in the front seat beside you with commonly used educational materials for a patient is one way to keep everything in its place. Use the file folder or binder to store a copy of emergency contact numbers, team member contact information, or any other details relevant to the job at hand.
There are also tools like cloth storage bags that attach to the back seat to keep your supplies organized or car trunk organizers that keep items from rolling around. Think about the kinds of tools you need most frequently in the job and make sure your car is fully stocked in a way that keeps these items secure as you’re driving around.
We also like the idea of keeping a post-it pad, highlighter, and pen (or several) in the middle console of the car. There are even travel whiteboards you can buy to place in the middle of your dashboard, and lap desks for your laptop as you’re sitting in the car as long as you’re not using it while driving.
One temptation when you’re on the road is to grab drive-through food as a snack to keep your energy level up between visits. We all know nurses are worst at caring for themselves. Why not try a nice insulated bag of fresh, healthy snacks for the car? Obviously, it might be better in the warmer climates to store a small ice-filled cooler in your trunk, but basic snacks like fruit or protein bars usually travel well.
Finally, having a nursing bag that feels just right will help you stay organized and grounded as you travel. It’s likely your company will have a starter bag or give you suggestions on what to carry. This can feel like carrying an elephant around if you’re not careful. Remember your car trunk as kind of an office supply closet, and lighten the load by offloading anything you don’t need for that visit. You can also gravitate to the bag on wheels idea, which will certainly save your poor back!
Connect with the experienced team at National Recruiters for more home health tips and for the best jobs to help your career keep moving forward.