Hallie, Home Services Aide

Hallie, a home health aide sitting inside her car, charting a patient visit on her cell phone



Career Goal

I am a junior in my second semester of nursing school. I’m scheduled to graduate May 2024. I’m kind of keeping an open mind as far what nursing specialty or floor I want to work in. My far-reaching goal is to work in the emergency department, but I don’t want to start there. I want to get some good skills built up and then work in the ER. Beyond that, someday I’d like to go back for a master’s or doctorate’s so I can teach. I like school and I like helping people. Teaching has always been my alternate career path. If I wasn’t going into nursing, I was going to teach. I’d end up with the best of both worlds as a nursing educator.

What does a home services aide do?

We have three different services we support: hospice for clients facing a life-limiting illness; home health to provide medically prescribed care and assistance in a patient’s home; and HEARTH (Helping Elderly Adults Remain in Their Homes), which is very similar to home health but is not medically prescribed and often is paid for privately.

As aides, we help clients with showers, cleaning, grocery shopping and other routine tasks they need help with so they can stay and live in their home instead of going to a nursing home or assisted living. For some personal cares, like showers, it’s more of a mental reassurance for clients. They are still independent and can do a lot of it themselves, but my being there makes them feel safer or I am there to help with things that are harder for them.

What type of training did you receive?

I was afraid of not having enough training, but that wasn’t a problem at all. When I started last November, I was trained by Lynette, an aide who has worked here for over 20 years. I followed her for two to three weeks. There’s a training checklist to go through to make sure you learn all the necessary skills. Training started with me watching Lynette and helping her; later I was doing the tasks and she watched that I did them correctly. Even now if I have any questions, she’s an easy person to call.

How flexible is working at Brookings Health?

Flexibility is one of my favorite parts of the job. Our director, Lynne, is really great at working with nursing students. Sometimes I can’t help as much as other weeks because of my class work load, and she gives me a lot of grace. I’ve never had an issue of I’m working too much to keep with my studies. She’s also honest if she needs more help on certain weeks. Before she asks me to add hours, she’s great about checking with me first to make sure I can take on more hours. 

What have you learned while working at Brookings Health?

I think the biggest is activities of daily living (ADLs) and how I can help clients out with that. I was never an aide or anything before this job. I’ve been learning about nursing skills in school and this job gave me the opportunity to apply them. I’ve also been learning a lot about communication. For example, how I communicate with a 60-year-old is different than communicating with a 100-year-old, but I still need to meet each of their needs. Mobility and safety risks now pop-out to me, too. I see those and anticipate where we can make the home safer for each client. Advisors say you don’t need to be an aide to be a good nurse. That may be true, but I think being an aide helps you gain experience to be a good nurse when you graduate.

What do you enjoy most about working with home services clients?

I enjoy just talking with them. They each have a different outlook on life. Sometimes all they need is someone to rant to. Other times they want to hear about my life, too. They are just as interested in me as I am in them and they care about me the same way. I can be the person who they can tell their life stories to. Some clients do not have someone for them close by; we become their social connection, a person to talk with and help keep them company.