How to Succeed with a Career in Long Term Care Nursing

Thanks to very high demand, there are many reasons to consider long term care nursing as a career.

To succeed in this profession, you’ll want to understand the what, how and why.

Let’s start at the beginning.

What is Long Term Care Nursing?

These professionals primarily focus on extended patient healthcare.

This can cover a wide variety of patient types including those:

  • Recovering from a very severe accident/injury
  • Living with a disability
  • Suffering from progressive illnesses
  • Suffering from chronic conditions

Success in this career field equates to executing its many responsibilities in a professional and caring manner.

How to Enter the Long Term Care Nursing Profession

It’s a requirement that you must complete a nursing program and have attained licensure.

Therefore, a person who wishes to become a long-term care nurse will often start their careers by becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN).

Earning a nursing degree or diploma and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) must happen in order to be licensed.

Once you’ve obtained your license, you can begin working as a registered nurse. Nurses often begin their careers as short-term nurses, working in a hospital or rehabilitation facility. As their experience grows, they may uncover a desire to serve as a long term care nurse.

As you know, the majority of long term care nursing patients are elderly. If you are seeking this profession, you may choose to enroll in continuing education programs that focus on long-term medical care or gerontology.

Certification in long term care nursing is almost always optional, but it benefits you and your patients, so it is highly desired. Obtaining a professional certification is an option for both RNs and LPNs.

  • The National Association for Practical Nursing and Education Service (NAPNES) offers certifications for LPNs.
  • The American Association for Long Term Care Nursing (AALTCN) offers opportunities for RNs to become certified.

Before you may take the certification exam, you must complete one of the certification programs. These programs are tailored to cover specific types of long term care and include study materials and a certification exam.

The programs include:

  • Long Term Care Nursing – Common Duties
  • Care for elderly, and younger patients with disabilities
  • Create long term patient care plans
  • Educate the patient’s family on the patient’s medical condition

Long Term Care Nurse Competency Checklist

As a Long Term Care Nurse, you will perform nursing skills, provide physical and emotional support to patients and their families, and coordinate patient care by collaborating with the patient’s interdisciplinary team.

Let’s examine these requirements more closely.

Competency #1:

Significant knowledge of patient care

Long term care nurses help those who cannot care for themselves and are in need of ongoing medical care.

Long term care nurses help those who cannot care for themselves and are in need of ongoing medical care.

Specifically, the following medical skills are often utilized:

  • Administering medication
  • Wound care
  • Monitoring and recording vital signs
  • Providing therapeutic treatments
  • Indwelling urinary catheter care
  • Intravenous therapy
  • Enteral tube feedings
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Management of stable ventilators
  • Ostomy care
  • Tracheostomy care
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Competency #2:

Professional and Personal Investment

Long term care nurses do much more than the medical aspect.

They are often very important in the daily lives of their patients providing aid with things like bathing, dressing, and eating. Assisting patients in these ways often leads to strong bonds.

An ability to be professionally and personally invested is a must for long term care nurses because patients and their families often rely on you for companionship, comfort, and support.

Long term care nurses do much more than the medical aspect. They are often very important in the daily lives of their patients providing aid with things like bathing, dressing, and eating.

Competency #3:

Strong Collaboration Skills

You will be working with a number of other professionals to ensure proper care, so it’s important that you document all care, provide education to and about your patient, and help apply and adapt their care protocol.

Because you can work in a variety of locations, having some flexibility ensures you can be there for your patients when they need you most.

Long term care nurses often work in these locations:

  • Home Care Agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Retirement communities

If you were wondering what a long term care nursing job description might look like, the responsibilities outlined above can shed some light on that.

Why Long Term Care Nursing is a Great Career

Now that you know how to succeed in this profession, check out three amazing reasons you’ll be glad you chose it:

  • Career Stability
  • Rewarding Relationships
  • Experience and Growth

1. Career Stability

This particular nursing profession is growing at a rapid pace due to the aging baby boomer population.

Choosing this specialty ensures career stability for the duration of your professional life. This field is also an ever-growing group of caregivers, which means you’ll enjoy a supportive group of associates and peers.

2. Rewarding Relationships

Because you will often care for the same patients every day, don’t be surprised when you find yourself in comfortable relationships with them and their families as well as other caregivers.

You will be working hand-in-hand with a number of associates and professional peers every single day, which will result in friendships and networking relationships.

3. Experience and Growth

Long term care nurses often gain valuable experience in certain specialties faster than short-term nurses, which allows you to increase your skill set and perfect what you do.

Gaining new skills and perfecting them ensure you become an appealing job candidate. When it comes to career growth, long term care nurses are in a prime position to move up the ladder.

Long Term Care Nursing Is A Promising Career

If you care deeply about medicine, caregiving and relationships, this profession is for you!

Do you see yourself heading into this career? Contact us today if you’d like to learn more.


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