Vance-Granville Community College Practical Nursing students recently learned more about the home health career field from representatives of Well Care Home Health, who visited the college’s Main Campus in late July.
The company, based in Wilmington, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. “Well Care is a unique company in providing home health,” Clinical Coordinator Mary O’Shea, a registered nurse, told the students. “It is an independent, family-owned business that is not affiliated with a major hospital, and it’s one of the few five-star-rated quality home health agencies in the state.” O’Shea said Well Care has grown dramatically over the years and now serves 42 counties in North Carolina, including the VGCC service area. “It’s awesome to be part of an organization that strives for excellence all the time,” O’Shea added.
O’Shea said she could identify with the students, who were close to graduating, recalling that she graduated from the Watts School of Nursing in Durham. “I admire you guys for sticking with it,” she told them. “Nursing has given me a great career over 25 years, and I’ve always been able to find a job that allowed me to fulfill my family responsibilities. I don’t know a lot of professions could say that they did that.” O’Shea said that about half of her career has been in the home health field. “Home health is a really unique animal,” she said. “There isn’t another part of nursing where you go into someone’s home, where you’re invited into their home.”
She explained that Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) “have a vital role in the home health world” and often perform tasks, such as complicated wound dressings, that only registered nurses would perform in a hospital setting. O’Shea noted that Well Care home health nurses generally see each patient three times a week. “You arrange your schedule for each day’s various home visits, and are paid per visit,” she said.
Next, Well Care Human Resources Recruiter Kendra Dillingham addressed students and offered tips on obtaining jobs, including interviews, resumes and communicating with potential employers, as well as specific details about careers at her company. She said that one of the advantages of a home health career is that nurses have opportunities to get to know their patients very well. “Something I love about the health care community is that you all have so many opportunities to switch types of work and types of patients you work with,” Dillingham said. She added that computer skills are important for employment as a Well Care nurse because her company uses electronic medical records “100 percent.”
The three-semester VGCC Practical Nursing diploma program prepares individuals to provide nursing care to meet the health care needs of the individual throughout their lifespan. The role of the LPN is a dependent role under the supervision of the registered nurse (RN) and other health-care providers approved by North Carolina law. Graduates of the program are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), which is required for practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Employment opportunities include hospitals, rehabilitation/long term care/home health facilities, clinics, and physicians’ offices. For more information, contact VGCC Nursing Department Chair Erica Jastrow at [email protected] or (252) 738-3457.