A private-duty nurse is a medically trained nurse who typically works with one client at a time to provide care in the client's home or within a licensed medical facility such as a hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation center or surgical recovery care unit. Most private-duty nurses are required to hold credentials as a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse with experience and specialized training in their field. A private-duty nurse might work as an independent contractor accepting assignments from staffing and placement agencies, or she might start her own private nursing business.
Contact the admissions representative of local colleges, universities or vocational training schools that offer nurse training in your area, and ask about the admission requirements. In most cases you will need to forward a copy of your high school transcripts as well as records from any college training you have received. Some schools also require that you pass an entrance exam before admission into an associate or bachelor's degree nurse-training program. Schedule an in-person or phone meeting with the admissions representative to design your educational path, length of study and payment options for nursing school.
Choose a specialty when you enroll in nursing school or during your training. Consider your nursing strengths and whether you relate better to a particular age group. A private-duty nurse can specialize in pediatric nursing, geriatric nursing, post-surgical nursing or general-care nursing. As you proceed with your nurse education and practical training, be open to work exposure in several areas of nursing, so you can get a feel for the specialty that works best for you.
Call or email your state's medical licensing board or nursing school to find out where testing is held in your area, and make an appointment to sit for the NCLEX-RN, or National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing administers the NCLEX exams in each state according to the requirements and standards set by the state's medical licensing board. Once you have successfully passed the NCLEX exam, you can legally practice as a nurse.
Contact your state's small business administration and medical licensing board to determine the steps required to start a private-duty nursing business in your area. Visit your secretary of state's office and obtain the forms to register your business, file articles of incorporation and form a limited liability company. Submit the paperwork to the secretary of state to form an LLC or Corporation so you can obtain liability insurance and protect yourself from potential lawsuits or malpractice claims. Consult with a business attorney and tax accountant if you need further assistance.
Seek clients to work with by registering your private-duty nursing business with your state's Medicare office as well as the nursing roster at your nursing school, local hospitals and nursing homes. Advertise your nursing business in your local business directory. Request a mention during church service announcements, and place fliers on community bulletin boards at the library, grocery stores or community centers. Ask for direct referrals from your clients whenever possible, and build word-of-mouth business.
Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.