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Become a Nurse in a Nursing Home With an RN to BSN Degree

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was apparent that patients within nursing homes needed more attention, as Trusted Health article notes. Massive outbreaks within these facilities impacted countless families across the globe.

Nurses working in these facilities were critical to preventing spread of the virus and are still considered some of the most important nurses within the field. According to the Trusted Health article, the elderly patient population they serve was and still is the most adversely affected by and at risk of the virus.

It was incredibly stressful for nurses to handle all protocols during this time. Many did not have a plan implemented in case a pandemic threatened the lives of their patients. However, they did their best with the amount of preparation and staff they had. With their skills, knowledge and resilience, they protected most of the residents in these homes.

Many nurses shifted into a new perspective of preparing safe and protective care environments at these sites to ensure each resident was thoroughly cared for and protected from the pandemic. An advanced Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree can equip healthcare professionals to care for older patients and adapt to public health crises like the pandemic.

Types of Nurses That Help With Assisted Living

Due to the different levels of care required within a nursing home, there are four types of nurses in a nursing facility:

1. Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered nurses serve a supervisory role and work under the direct guidance of the doctor or healthcare provider. Their professional title is usually “unit manager.” They oversee the licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) by designating nursing assignments and making up work schedules. They are also responsible for the total care of the residents by initiating treatment plans and administering medicine. They monitor the patient’s health of the patient and ensure family members stay informed on health changes.

2. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Licensed practical nurses are responsible for direct bedside care and routine care for their patients, which means they are responsible for the patient’s hygiene. They have a very physically demanding job, as they may be responsible for getting the patient out of bed or moving them into a more comfortable position. LPNs note patients’ vital signs and perform any tasks needed for the patient’s comfort.

3. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A certified nursing assistant assists LPNs. They are required to be state-certified. A CNA does some, but not all, of the tasks that an LPN does. For example, a CNA does not administer medicine or supply IV medicines as an LPN can. Instead, CNAs might do basic care tasks like changing bed sheets, bathing patients, changing bed pans, feeding patients, walking patients, helping with personal hygiene, transporting patients and other functions that the LPN or RN designates.

4. Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are not always on staff at nursing homes but may be assigned to specific facilities. NPs are essential in assessing physical and neurological changes and overseeing care for many residents. They can also prescribe and change medications and order treatments for patients.

General Responsibilities of a Nursing Home Nurse

A nurse in a nursing home facility has many responsibilities. They care for elderly residents, manage other employees and ensure the operation runs smoothly. Caring for nursing home patients requires hard work, as many of the residents need medical attention daily.

Medical attention ranges from medication administration and treatment plans to consultations with other team members regarding a patient. Nurses also monitor vital signs to ensure the patient is doing well. Nursing home nurses spend most of their time getting to know the residents and forming bonds with them. This rewarding experience allows nurses to tap into their compassionate nature.

When nurses have extra time, they can enjoy interacting with residents, which might mean simply visiting, joining them in an activity for a few minutes or doing something special for a resident. Nurses also have the privilege of working with residents for weeks, months or years. As a result, they may get to know the residents better than nurses working in hospitals or other healthcare settings.

Path to Becoming a Nursing Home Nurse

One way to jumpstart your career as a nurse in a nursing home is to earn your RN to BSN degree. Those who enroll in the online RN to BSN program at The University of Texas at Arlington will create a solid foundation to become compassionate, assisted-living supervisors.

In as few as nine months, graduates will adapt to evolving needs in healthcare and be empowered to continue growing in their nursing careers. All students will explore advanced concepts guiding continuity and safety of care, the provision of population-based healthcare and principles of evidence-based research to follow within a nursing home facility.

Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington’s online RN to BSN program.

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