A Heart and Mind for Home Health

photo of Troy Lawrence

While many of his classmates gravitated toward the adrenaline rush of the emergency room or the intensity of surgery, Troy Lawrence ’10, found himself pulled in a different direction. Lawrence, a current DNP student, found his calling in home health.

Home health is unique. It is a practice that enables visiting nurses like Lawrence to care for patients, mostly older adults, where they live. That, he says, gives him an unfiltered view into his patients’ lives and any challenges they may face in caring for themselves or family members.

“When you sit down with someone at the kitchen table, the reasons why they might be noncompliant or non-adherent become really obvious, and sometimes they are really legitimate reasons,” he says.

The in-home perspective enables Lawrence, and other home-health nurses, to better tailor communication and education to individual patient circumstances.

Lawrence believes home health is a better alternative to clinic-based care for many older-adult patients. Plus, it captures the essence of nursing—of meeting patients where they are—in both the literal and figurative sense.

“There’s something really poetic about sick people not needing to leave their homes to get the healthcare they need,” he says. “They face mobility, pain and cognitive challenges, and yet we typically make them make all the effort to come to us.”

Lawrence discovered home health during a clinical rotation as an undergraduate student. Initially skeptical about the assignment, the intimacy of the practice quickly changed his mind. He has never worked as an RN in any other capacity.

“Before undergrad, I didn’t know home health was a thing,” he says. “As luck would have it … I fell in love with the model.”

Troy Lawrence, RN, works for UW Home Health. He is also pursuing his DNP at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing. He currently serves on the steering committee for the Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE).

 

Read the full story, “Leading the Way,” in ForwardNursing, Fall/Winter 2016.