According to data from the Health Resources and Services Administration, 63 percent of registered nurses (RNs) work in hospitals providing inpatient and outpatient care. This makes sense when you think of the number of patients hospitals serve every day and the high demand for nurses in these facilities.
However, while many people assume that nurses work only in hospitals, clinics or private practices, they often overlook long-term care facilities. If you are an experienced nurse looking for a change of pace, consider long-term care nursing jobs.
Long-Term Care Nursing
Unlike hospitals that deal mostly with patients who are facing an acute health issue, long-term care facilities offer services to people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. In long-term care facilities, patients live in spaces designed to resemble a home, rather than a hospital or clinic. However, long-term care services are also available in a patient’s own home.
Patients in long-term care require help with medical and non-medical matters, such as dressing, hygiene, eating and tracking medications. Nurses can find long-term care nursing jobs at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospice facilities or agencies specializing in in-home care.
Benefits of Long-Term Care Nursing Jobs
Americans are living longer, and our elderly population is growing. This means that many people will need long-term care services to cope with chronic illnesses and disabilities. However, the majority of nurses currently work in hospitals. If you are looking for an in-demand niche for skilled nurses, long-term care facilities and in-home nursing agencies are a great match.
In addition to increased job opportunities, long-term care nursing jobs offer a number of on-the-job benefits. While working in a hospital, nurses often see hundreds — if not thousands — of patients every year. The turnover rate of patients is high, as it should be in an efficient and successful hospital; however, this does not leave you much opportunity to get to know your patients. In long-term care settings, nurses get to know their patients, build trust and rapport, and become an important part of patients’ lives. Many long-term care nurses value this aspect of their jobs dearly.
Another benefit of long-term care nursing jobs is that they offer more regular schedules and easier work days than many hospital jobs. If you have ever worked as an emergency room, delivery room or urgent care nurse, you know just how chaotic and exhausting those settings can be. Long-term care facilities, on the other hand, do not have the same influx of emergency cases. Rather, nurses monitor patients with chronic health conditions closely, and new patients arrive at a steady, manageable pace.
Joining the Long-Term Care Workforce
If you think a long-term care nursing job sounds like the right fit for you, you can have your dream job by following this simple plan. You will need either a nursing diploma, Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Upon completing one of these degree programs, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This exam will allow you to begin working as a registered nurse (RN) in a nursing home or similar facility.
If you decide to continue on this career path, the next step is to pass your Long-Term Care Nurse certification exam. Upon passing the exam, you will be ready to work as a Certified Registered Nurse in Long-Term Care (CRNL). While you can certainly be successful in this career path as an ASN or RN, BSN-prepared nurses are far better equipped to pass the exams and handle the work required of a long-term care nurse. BSN-prepared nurses have more training, education and expertise on matters that apply directly to long-term care.
Working in long-term care nursing is a rewarding experience. You will become an important figure in the lives of your patients, and you can make a significant difference for them and their families. Set yourself up for success with an online RN-to-BSN program and pave the way to your ideal long-term care nursing job.
Learn more about the UT Arlington online RN to BSN program.
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