How to Become an Independent Private Duty Nurse

by Linda Ray

A private duty nurse is a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) who provides individual care to patients requiring more in-depth and continuous care than they receive in once- or twice-a-day visits. Private duty nursing is prescribed by a physician for those patients who have an injury, illness, mental or physical condition that warrants the additional coverage. Build a business as an independent private duty nurse through contacts and references.

Earn a License

You may be able to provide home care for the elderly or disabled without a license, but you can’t receive payments from Medicare, Medicaid or insurance companies unless you have a license to practice as a registered nurse. Complete your schooling and earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and then get your state license. Once you’ve completed the tests for licensing, you can bill yourself out for private duty assignments. Earn additional credentials in areas such as respiratory care or pediatrics to qualify for different kinds of jobs. Cover yourself with a surety bond to guarantee clients that you will fulfill your duties as stated in the contract you provide.

Build a Portfolio

Create a portfolio of services you offer and include referral letters from previous clients, a copy of your state license and a copy of your payment options. Pass out the portfolio to geriatric health care providers in your area, at senior centers, churches and local trust and estate planning attorneys. Once you develop a few stable clients, you will begin to receive more referrals and have less need for active marketing.

Register With Area Providers

One of the benefits of being a private duty nurse is that you control the hours and places where you work. Area hospitals and nursing homes often need to call in private duty nurses to provide the comprehensive care in a doctor’s orders. Find out the requirements of the local facilities in your area and register with the human resource department as a private duty nurse available on an as-needed basis.

Develop Backups

Private duty care may be tasking on an independent contractor’s schedule, leaving you with little or no time off. To ensure clients that they will be provided care as directed in the plans written up by their physicians, develop a relationship with a private duty nursing agency so you can call on them to cover shifts when you are unable to make it. Alternatively, as you begin to build a business, you should hire other registered nurses to work for you and build your own agency.

About the Author

I am a full-time freelancer available for steady work. I can provide both quality and quantity. I can do quick turn-around as I don't have any children at home. I have a fully equipped home office overloooking the mountains of Western North Carolina and my muse loves it here. I have a new laptop so that even when I travel (not very often) I can follow up with assignments. I meet deadlines and can build good rapport with editors. I have done some editing and can help in that capacity if you need it. {{}}

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