Lorraine Grote Johnson is a registered nurse (RN) with decades of experience working in hospitals and the home care industry. She is Director of Care Quality at the Right at Home corporate headquarters. In the new “RAH RN Lorraine” video series, she explains the differences of myriad health professionals.
Q. What are the differences between registered nurses and certified nurses?
A. March 19 is Certified Nurses Day. The difference between a registered nurse and a certified nurse is that you receive extra training and testing on specific skills to be a certified nurse. I have held the Certified Registered Nurse of Infusion credential and the Oncology Nursing Society/ONCC Chemotherapy Biotherapy Certification. The certifications allowed me to do specific areas of infusion nursing and chemotherapy administration.
Q. How did your experience working in hospitals help you transition into the home care industry?
A. I worked in a hospital for the first 18 years of my career. I became well-rounded in many areas of nursing, including critical care, labor and delivery, neo-natal intensive care, orthopedics, medical-surgical (med-surg), and float pool. When your critical thinking skills are developed after working in a hospital for years, you are ready for a home care position.
Q. What is your role at Right at Home?
A. I am working on a research initiative on how in-home caregiving tools can keep seniors in their homes and avoid preventable hospital admissions. Emergency room care and hospital admissions are both costly to consumers and insurance companies.
My other role is rolling out a skilled nursing program – with that, we customize care plans, assess clients in their homes to find red flags and notify their physicians. All custom care plans are tailor-made to help clients with their specific disease process while they age in place.
Working with our franchisees to become accredited through The Joint Commission is also part of my job. The mission of the agency is to improve health care services for the public and ensure that care providers excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.
Q. In contrast to registered nurses, what do companion caregivers and personal caregivers do?
A. Registered nurses (RNs) are able to assess the clients, create a plan of care, perform physical exams and obtain health histories. They can provide health promotion, counseling and education along with administering medications, wound care and other personalized interventions. RNs are able to interpret client information and make critical decisions about needed actions.
Companion caregivers take seniors on errands – going to the hair salon, attending church, getting groceries – and complete homemaker activities and socialize with them.
Personal caregivers help elders with eating, drinking, dressing, bathing, and toileting. There are specific education requirements for personal caregivers to obtain certification.