Ambulatory care, or outpatient care, facilities are healthcare facilities that typically treat only patients that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital. One of the best examples of an ambulatory care center is a physician’s office. A career as an ambulatory nurse is often a little less stressful and fast-paced than other types of nursing careers, yet it is just as rewarding.

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What is an Ambulatory Care Nurse?
What do Ambulatory Care Nurses Do?
Where do Ambulatory Care Nurses Work?
How do I Become an Ambulatory Care Nurse?

What is an Ambulatory Care Nurse?

An ambulatory care nurse is a nursing professional that treats patients that seek routine medical care for acute and chronic illnesses as well as injuries, usually outside of a hospital setting. As an ambulatory care nurse, you will most likely find yourself working with individuals on an outpatient basis only. There are also several specialties that you can choose from when considering a career in ambulatory care nursing, so choosing this career will allow you to truly follow your passion.

Ambulatory care nurses may treat specific types of patients. For example, you can choose to specialize in women’s health, pediatric nursing, or geriatric nursing. You can also choose an ambulatory nursing specialty that puts you in a position to care for patients with certain types of injuries or illnesses.

Communicating with and treating patients is usually the most important aspect of ambulatory care nursing, much like other areas of nursing. Ambulatory care nurses must be able to clearly communicate their message while maintaining a friendly demeanor and a good dose of compassion and understanding. It is not uncommon for many ambulatory care nurses to build a relationship and rapport with their patients, particularly since most ambulatory care centers cater to a list of regular patients. on the other hand, some ambulatory care centers may cater to a number of different people each day, never to have them set foot through the doors again.

The hour that most ambulatory care nurses work are often more predictable and stable than the hours worked by some other nurses, like emergency nurses. These nurses also typically deal with fewer complications and health emergencies than some other nurses as well. Because of this, many ambulatory nurses find this area of nursing to be less stressful than other areas.

What do Ambulatory Nurses Do?

On any given day, an ambulatory nurse will treat several different patients with a variety of medical problems. If you’re looking to become an ambulatory nurse, you should work toward mastering basic nursing skills, such as phlebotomy procedures and detecting any deviation form normal bodily functions.

You should also be able to assess patients quickly and accurately, as ambulatory care facilities are often on tight schedules and packed with anxious patients. Patient assessment may involve monitoring vital signs, taking samples, and discussing symptoms in order to determine the possible cause or severity of a medical problem. You should then confer with doctors and other nurses to determine the general health of your patients.

Communication with patients is also an extremely important part of being an ambulatory care nurse. You should be able to explain different illnesses, injuries, and medical procedures in a way that patients can understand.

Where do Ambulatory Care Nurses Work?

The majority of ambulatory care nurses work outside of hospital settings, such as in physician offices and clinics. However, many hospital outpatient wings also hire ambulatory care nurses as well.

How do I Become an Ambulatory Care Nurse?

To become a certified ambulatory care nurse, you will first need to hold a valid license as a registered nurse (RN). This involves earning a nursing diploma or degree and passing the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Below is the educational path for an Ambulatory Care Nurse (lowest to highest level of education)

Educational TrackSchool ProgramsAverage Education LengthChoosing Online or Campus
Earn a Bachelors DegreeView Programs4 Years Online or Campus
Earn a MSN DegreeView Programs2 Additional YearsOnline or Campus
Earn a PHD or DNPView Programs2-4 Additional YearsOnline or Campus

After you have at least two years of experience as an RN as well as 2,000 hours of ambulatory care or telehealth experience, you can sit for the ambulatory care nurse certification examination, which is administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Additional Resources For Involvement in Ambulatory Care:

  1. American Academy of Ambulatory Care
  2. Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Care
  3. National Association For Ambulatory Urgent Care
  4. Journal Of Ambulatory Care Management
  5. Join the Ambulatory Nurse Discussion