As healthcare continues to evolve and expand, private-duty nursing has become an increasingly important aspect of healthcare delivery. Private duty nursing involves providing care to individuals who require ongoing medical attention in the comfort of their homes. Private duty nurses are responsible for managing and monitoring patients’ health conditions, administering medications, performing medical procedures, and…


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To work in private duty nursing, you are first expected to earn your credentials as a registered nurse. Note that some nurses prefer to move into private duty after serving in a healthcare facility so they can choose their own clients and maintain a more adaptable schedule.

Private duty nursing serves patients who require ongoing care after being discharged from a hospital. These professionals may also care for patients who have long-term illnesses. Private Nurses care for those who intend to be treated from the comfort of their homes. However, depending on the needs of the client, a private duty nurse might work for several patients throughout the day or stay with a single patient for hours.

Registered nurses who want to offer private duty services work as independent contractors either on their own or through an agency. In the United States, once they are contracted by a client, private nurses can choose the hours they will work and what care they need to provide.

A private duty nurse in the United States earns an average of $55,812 per year with opportunities for additional compensation through overtime and high-wage areas like parts of Texas and Arizona. Note that some private nurses may need to provide their own healthcare if they work solely as an independent contractors. Private Nurses who work with an agency may earn benefits through the business.

Private duty nursing falls under the category of home health care, which is a fast rising industry. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) expects a faster than average growth rate of seven percent from 2019 to 2029 within the nursing profession.

Reports also have it that since the population of aging adults is growing, so will the need for healthcare services. They envisage a greater number of patients will need to move to long-term care and rehabilitation facilities since extended hospital stays may prove too expensive. Private duty nurses will be required for long-term care as many aging adults choose to receive medical services within the comfort of their own homes.

Specific Roles and Responsibilities of a Private Duty Nurse

Your role as a private duty nurse can vary greatly based on your employer and clients. More specific job responsibilities include,

  • Monitoring medical status changes of patients
  • Providing various daily living activities
  • Managing chronic illness
  • Offering wound care
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals including therapy services
  • Educating patients, families, and caregivers
  • Keeping records of treatment plans and progress
  • Developing daily plans of care for patients
  • Tracking oxygen levels, use heart monitors, or other advanced in-home equipment
  • Personal medical care including nail trimming, oral cavity cleaning, and bowel program supervision
  • Administering medication including injections, inhalants, eye drops, oral, and topical medications
  • Providing a range of motion exercise
  • Monitoring diet
  • Homemaking services
  • Recognizing early warning signs of health issues
  • Creating and implementing care and recovery plans
  • Administering medications and handling medical devices
  • Providing hospice are
  • Performing medical procedures

How to Become a Private Duty Nurse in the United States

To become a Private Duty Nurse, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Earn a Degree

To become a private duty nurse, you will have to earn either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (AND). Note that both programs prepare you for taking the certification exam for becoming a registered nurse however, an AND program lasts only two years. AND programs provide the minimal training required to become a registered nurse.

A BSN is a four-year degree that offers prerequisite coursework in the first two years and clinical nursing experience for the rest of the program. BSN degrees can provide more opportunities for higher income and specialized nursing positions in your future career.

  1. Pass The Registered Nurse Certification Exam

Once you complete a nursing degree program, you will be expected to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN). The NCLEX-RN are known to test nurse candidates in four major categories including safe and effective care environments, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. Questions are mostly multiple choices and involve a computerized system that adjusts the complexity of questions as you progress through the exam.

  1. Acquire Medical Care Experience

A good number of private duty nurse agencies require some years of professional experience before you can join the business to find nursing jobs. Knowing and understanding how to effectively administer bedside care in a medical facility will help you prepare for a position as a private duty nurse.

  1. Earn a Certification

Have it in mind that some private duty nurses seek a critical care nurse certification to increase their value to potential clients and nurse staffing agencies. Private Nurses can also decide to earn a certification in medical surgical nursing.

  1. Work With An Agency Or As An Independent Contractor

Once you become a registered nurse with practical experience, you can decide how to pursue clients as a private duty nurse. Note that you can choose to work through a nursing agency to be placed with clients and earn income or market your services as a freelance nurse. Some private duty nurses who work as independent contractors may need to learn accounting or business management skills.


The expansion of home health care has engineered an increase in career options for registered nurses. In the nursing profession, private duty by definition means caring for individual patients in home or residential settings.

Note that a private duty nurse is self-employed or works for a home health care organization and provides basic nursing care to patients dealing with various physical conditions that restrict their mobility and ability for self-care.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is Private Duty Nursing?

Private duty nursing is the care of clients by nurses, who may be licensed as RNs (Registered Nurses) or LPNs/LVNs (Licensed Practical Nurses). Such care may be provided in the client’s home or in an institution, such as a hospital, nursing home, or other such facilities.

  1. What Is Considered Private Duty Nursing?

Private duty care is a service typically provided to elderly individuals who require assistance with their day-to-day activities. The goal of private duty care is to help maintain a client’s ability to stay in their home comfortably and offer a respite care to other caregivers.

  1. How Many Hours Of Home Health Care Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare’s home health benefit covers skilled nursing care and home health aide services provided up to seven days per week for no more than eight hours per day and 28 hours per week. If you need additional care, Medicare provides up to 35 hours per week on a case-by-case basis.

  1. What Is Pediatric Private Duty Nursing?

Pediatric private duty nursing, or PDN, is a type of special skills nursing care for children between the ages of 0 and 20. PDN is often necessary for children who require continuous and personalized care. These children must also meet a certain criterion that makes PDN care necessary.

  1. What Do Private Duty Nurses Do?

Private duty nurses have several roles that include preventing medical complications that could result in facility placement, providing medically necessary nursing care to patients in their homes, providing care for patients transitioning to in-home care, and assessing, providing, and monitoring professional care for their patients.

  1. How Do You Become A Private Duty Nurse?

Step 1: Attend Nursing School.

Step 2: Pass the NCLEX-RN.

Step 3: Gain Experience at the Bedside.

Step 4: Earn Your Certification.

  1. Where Can Private Duty Nurses Work?

Private duty nurses generally work at a patient’s private residence; however, they can be found in hospitals or assisted living facilities.

  1. What Is The Job Outlook For Private Duty Nurses?

Private duty nurses can anticipate significant job growth. Most private duty nurses are licensed as an RN or LPN–according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs will experience a 15% increase in job growth.

  1. What Is Private Duty Home Care?

Private duty care is a service typically provided to elderly individuals who require assistance with their day-to-day activities. Please note that the goal of private duty care is to help maintain a client’s ability to stay in their home comfortably and offer a respite care to other caregivers.

  1. What Is A Private Duty Caregiver?

Private duty home care is a service provided to elderly individuals who are in need of assistance with day-to-day activities. A private duty home caregiver visits your home or the home of your loved one and helps with activities such as meal preparation, housekeeping, and personal grooming and hygiene.

  1. Who Pays For Private Duty Nursing?

Private duty home care is home care that is delivered on a private-pay basis, which means clients or their families pay either the home care agency or the caregiver.

  1. Does Medicare Pay For Visiting Angels?

Yes, as long as the patients meet the three criteria below, Medicare will cover 100% of the cost for the first 20 days. From days 21-100, Medicare will cover $185.50 per day. After 100 days, you will assume all costs.

  1. How Long Will Medicare Pay For Home Health Care?

Medicare can pay the full cost of home health care for up to 60 days at a time.

  1. What Services Does Kidscare Home Health Provide?

KidsCare Home Health is a pediatric home health agency serving Texas, Colorado, Oregon, and Idaho. They focus on nursing, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy as well as provide case management for children up to 18 years old.

  1. Does Medicare And Medicaid Cover Home Care?

Medicare only covers home health care if you meet certain criteria, such as being homebound and needing skilled care. Even if you qualify for Medicare-covered home health care, you may need additional services. Medicaid can be used to supplement the amount and kind of services you get.

  1. What Is The Difference Between Private Duty Nursing Care And Home Health Care?

The basic difference between private nursing duty care and home health care is that private duty nursing care needs to be prescribed by a doctor. Care is provided primarily in shifts, up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Home health care needs to be prescribed by a doctor.

  1. What Services Does Home Health Care Provide?

At-home care services may include:

  • Doctor care. A doctor may visit a patient at home to diagnose and treat the illness(es).
  • Nursing care.
  • Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy.
  • Medical social services.
  • Care from home health aides.
  • Homemaker or basic assistance care.
  1. What Is The Difference Between A Hospital And A Skilled Nursing Facility?

It’s basically the same level of nursing care you get in the hospital. In addition to skilled nursing, care may include rehabilitative services from licensed physical, occupational or speech therapists. A skilled nursing facility provides transitional care. The goal is to get well enough to go home.

  1. What Is Home Health Care?

Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF).