Long term care nursing career guide

The demand for long-term-care nursing professionals has never been higher. This guide will help you to understand about LTC nursing, the salary, career prospects, and how to get into this rewarding profession.

Long-term care nurses offer extended assistance to those suffering from disabilities or who are suffering from chronic illnesses. Registered nurses with specialisation often assist the elderly and others who require help in daily activities. A job in LTC nursing can provide the unmatched professional potential for growth. As it becomes apparent that the U.S. population ages and the demand for primary health care grows across all groups of people as well, the need for nurses who provide long-term care is predicted to increase dramatically over the next 10 years.

What does a Long-Term Care Nurse Do?

While the responsibilities of nurses working in long-term care are contingent on the kind of healthcare facility and the specific needs of patients, They R.N.s are often found spending their time coordinating and evaluating the care of patients. They work with a group of experts, including social workers, doctors, physical therapists and case managers, to create the most comprehensive plan of high-quality care for their patients.

Long-term nursing staff carry out routine duties, including recording vital indicators and administering medication, while offering specific treatments for chronic and progressive ailments. Nurses also provide education and emotional support to family members and patients.

The typical Duties

Create, coordinate, and implement complete plans for patient care with the medical and clinical staff.

Assist in administering medications, conduct vital medical procedures and sign checks and offer treatments for therapeutic purposes such as exercises for range of motion and massage

Use medical equipment, monitor and evaluate the condition of patients, and record the details

Assist patients in daily tasks like bathing and dressing.

Offer support, education and support to families, patients, and caregivers.

Career Characteristics

Ability to establish long-term relationships with patients as well as caregivers

Ability to persevere in the face of stress

Skills for assessment and observation

Where Do Nurses with Long-Term Care located?

Long-term care nurses can find work opportunities in a range of settings. While they are typically employed in assisted and skilled living facilities, they can also be employed in hospital, rehabilitation centres, and in-home health care settings. The below-listed facilities are for older people, patients with disabilities, and those with terminal or chronic illnesses, among the most prestigious employers of long-term care nurses.

Assisted living facilities

Residents of assisted living homes live in a home-like environment, usually in fully equipped apartments. They might not require 24-hour aid but need assistance in their daily routine, including housekeeping and medical treatment. Long-term care nurses working in these environments perform various tasks, including bathing, dressing, or taking medication, to allow residents to maintain a certain level of independence.

Nursing homes

Skilled nursing facilities can provide 24 hours medical care for those who cannot take care of themselves. Residents in nursing homes with long-term illnesses or complex and chronic medical issues require a higher level of LTC nursing care. Long-term care nurses in these environments administer medication aiding in daily activities and hygiene and monitor and evaluate patient health conditions in collaboration with other healthcare professionals. 

Memory care facilities, Alzheimer's and dementia-related facilities

These facilities only accept patients suffering from memory or cognitive limitations due to senility, Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Nurses working in these establishments often obtain special certifications to provide therapy and support for behavioural issues and improve cognitive function. A major aspect of their job is to ensure the safety of the residents, who might be susceptible to frequent wandering or mobility problems or even bouts of anger or aggression.

Why should you become a Long-Term Care Nurse?

LTC nursing can provide various professional and personal benefits, including high-quality compensation and stability in employment. However, nurses in this field face specific difficulties due to stressful work conditions and the patient populations they treat.

Benefits of Long-Term Care Nurse Career

Prospering employment and developing professional possibilities

Chance to establish lasting relationships with patients and their families

The acquisition of specialised skills to provide therapies and treatments specifically for particular patient populations, e.g., the elderly who are chronically ill, patients who have Alzheimer's disease, etc.

Advantages of a career as a Long-Term Care Nurse

It is imperative to continue to improve and maintain proficiency in knowledge of medications and other therapies that require specialised knowledge.

Insufficient support for patients with complex medical illnesses due to inadequate staffing and a high number of patients on the caseload.

Work-related stress from dealing with terminally ill patients and their families can cause emotional problems and a high level of burnout.

How to become an LTC Nurse?

1. Earn a Bachelor's degree in Nursing (BSN) or Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

As with all nurses, nursing staff who provide long-term health care need to earn, at minimum, an ADN degree. However, many employers prefer hiring BSN holders. The requirements for nursing school typically comprise biology, anatomy, physiology, and psychology.

2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam to be able to receive an R.N. License

Achieving the NCLEX-RN certification is the final requirement for an official nursing licence. State regulatory bodies use the NCLEX to determine if applicants are eligible to be licensed nurses.

3. Get experience in Long-Term Gerontology Care.

Working in an assisted or nursing home living facility with chronically ill or elderly patients allows gaining hands-on experience in LTC nursing.

What Is The Average Salary Of Long Term Care Nurse?

In the coming years, as the U.S. population ages and the demand for long-term care increases, nurses who enter the field will have plenty of jobs and a bright pay outlook. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics estimates that there will be a 9 percent increase in the total employment of registered nurses from the years 2020 until 2030, the nurses anticipate more than the average rate of growth in hospitals that offer elderly care as well as long-term rehabilitation facilities that specialise in head and stroke injuries and those that provide treatment for patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.

As per Payscale, as of November 2021, nurses with long-term care experience make an average salary of $63,120. LTC nurses who want to grow their careers may want to consider obtaining a master’s in nursing (MSN) for a career. A nationwide survey conducted by the American Association of Nursing Practitioners states that N.P.s employed in facilities for long-term care earn an average base income of around $110,000. N.P.s working in gerontology, acute care and primary care for gerontology make more than $100,000 per year.

Many frequently asked questions about Long-Term Care Nurses.

How can you tell the differences between hospice and long-term nursing?

LTC nursing facilities offer care for patients suffering from chronic illnesses that may last for many years. They offer specialised treatment plans and accommodation. Hospice facilities offer care for the end of life to patients suffering from a terminal illness. Hospice care is generally offered to those diagnosed with a life expectancy of 6 months or less and who have exhausted their treatment options.

What are the conditions that nurses in long-term care manage?

Long-term care nurses take care of many patients, including those with difficult medical conditions and those requiring an average amount of help in their daily lives. They provide cardiac and stroke medical care and assist patients recovering from surgery or injuries. Many nurses in long-term care are trained in cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia or exclusively work with patients suffering from mental or physical disabilities.

What skills are necessary to be successful as a long-term nursing assistant?

In addition to enhancing their nursing expertise through continuous training and opportunities for professional growth, the most effective nurses for long-term care can demonstrate strong leadership and organisational abilities and apply critical and analytical thinking skills in difficult clinical situations. Due to the nature of collaboration in LTC nursing, R.N.s requires good interpersonal and team-building skills.

What are the opportunities for growth among long-term nursing?

The rapidly growing long-term health care sector has opened numerous opportunities for professional development for nurses with specialisations and advanced degrees. Employers look for nurses with certifications in demand in gerontology and pain management. Alongside clinical roles, Long-term care nurses can be expected to advance into managerial positions in assisted and skilled living facilities.

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