Private Duty Nursing: Roles and Responsibilities

  • Nursing has a vast scope on healthcare and services. Large bulk is composed of nurse practitioners in healthcare institutions and hospitals. However, it is observed that the ratio of nurses to patients has become inadequate, nursing demands increase to home-bound patients and in long-term facilities posing some discrepancies to health delivery services. Thus, patients sort to hiring private duty nurses.
  • Private Duty Nurses (PDN) are eligible professionals who work as freelancers or through hospital and nursing agencies, delivering healthcare services to a patient or two. They tend to be patients in hospitals, supplementing the care given by staff nurses or work independently at home or in a long-term facility. They provide primary and focused nursing care and implements care plans that are specialized to individual medical needs.
How to become a Private Duty Nurse?

Possessing only a bachelor’s degree in nursing is rather premature to venture PDN. It is necessary for one to undergo clinical experience, trainings and seminars to equip oneself to actual patient care. PDN should have at least the following qualifications:

  • At least one year of clinical experience
  • Basic life support training
  • First aid training
  • Intravenous therapy course
  • Attended several nursing seminars and forums
Delivering Patient Care

Since PDN is a one-to-one interaction, nursing care encompasses almost all aspects. The nurse is therefore responsible for the following:

  1. Adequate medical assessment and history is taken in collaboration with other members of the healthcare providers such as the dietician or the physician
  2. Day-to-day patient interaction
  3. Vital signs checking (changes and alterations documented)
  4. Administration of medications and treatments (as pre ordered by physician)
  5. Changes dressings, bandages and contraptions as prescribed
  6. Diet supervision and monitoring (with considerations to dietician advise and medical condition)
  7. Providing or assisting patient in self-care
    • Dental care needs
    • Bathing needs
    • Elimination
    • Other self-care needs (may involve hair and nail care)
  8. Providing range of motion exercises (may be passive or active depending on the condition)
  9. If bed-ridden, an assertive plan to prevent bed sores, contractures and muscle wasting is to be provided
  10. When alterations are observed, treatments and remedies are to be performed accordingly
  11. Documentation of patient’s condition and pointing out significant changes, to be reported to the physician and to the families
  12. In case of emergency situations, application of independent emergency procedures is recommended
  13. Maintains optimum health and well-being of the patient

Private duty nursing also involves the family in the care plan. They should be informed and updated of the current status of the patient and is encouraged to assist and participate in the delivery of care.