How to Properly Vet a Private Duty Nurse


An aging baby boomer population is creating a demand for personal services. That is especially true for in-home health services such as private duty nursing since many people want to remain at home as long a feasibly possible.

There are more than 10,000 people born between 1947 and 1964 turning 65 years old every day, according to the latest data. That is providing an enormous opportunity for those interested in the home nursing field.

Labor statistics indicate numbers of personal care aides have dramatically increased over the past decade. Data indicates 1.3 million people will become care aides by 2020. That’s a 70 percent jump from 2010.

This provides many options for families looking for care for their aging parent or grandparent, but also presents challenges in picking an awesome personal care aide. There are a few things you can do to properly vet a private duty nurse.

1. Check their resume. 

Call the references listed on their resume. Sometimes corporate employers can’t provide you detailed information about their work, but asking will give you some indicators of their experience. Those families who have employed the nurse privately will be able to provide more detailed information.

2. Check any associations where they are a member.

Most private duty nurses belong to an association that offers ongoing education and support. Ask for this and call the association to ask if they are in good standing or have had any complaints.

3. Ask for copies of all their education certifications. 

A responsible private duty nurse should have their certifications up to date. You can also call the certification company to make sure documents are valid and determine how many years the applicant has been certified and re-certified.

4. Run a criminal background check. 

A criminal background check is fairly simple to do now with advanced technology. You can require them to provide a criminal clearance from the local police department in order to be considered rather than running a background check yourself. The police department will take their fingerprints and provide a hard copy of the report.

5. Ask applicant to take a drug test. 

This can be important because your loved one is likely taking medication and they will have access to it. It is not uncommon to ask for a drug test and many tests are readily available at some drug stores and online for a relatively inexpensive price.

Doing these things will go a long way to ensure you have a qualified private duty nurse for your loved one. It will also give you confidence and peace of mind regarding your choice.