Many illnesses and injuries require just short-term treatment. However, patients suffering from more serious illnesses or injuries may require care for an extended period of time. Medical care for these types of medical problems may be required for months or years. In some cases, patients may need to be cared for for the rest of their lives. Extended care is often provided by long-term care nurses.
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What is a Long-term Care Nurse?
A long-term care nurse is a nursing professional that is dedicated to caring for patients who are in need of extended care. This includes patients with severe illnesses, injuries, and other disabilities.
Long-term care nursing is a growing field. The number of positions for long-term care nurses is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade. By becoming a long-term care nurse, you will become a part of a growing band of nursing professionals with a career that is both steady and rewarding.
As a long-term care nurse, you will often care for the same patients every day. Because of this, you will often wind up developing comfortable relationships with your patients, and in many cases develop close friendships. However, many of the patients in need of long-term care will pass away at while under your care. Because on this, you must be emotionally mature and able to to view death as a natural part of the circle of life.
Long-term care nurses should also be compassionate and dedicated to helping others in need.
What do Long-term Care Nurses Do?
Long-term care nurses focus on providing care to patients in need of extended care. This may include patients suffering from debilitating injuries as well as illnesses such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. These nursing professionals also care for elderly patients that need frequent medical care or are unable to care for themselves any longer.
These types of nurses primarily focus on medical care for their patients. They may be responsible for monitoring and recording vital signs on a regular basis as well as administering medications. Long-term nurses will also perform other therapeutic and treatment procedures, such as massages and range of motion exercises.
Besides administering medical care, long-term care nurses may also be required to attend to some of the daily needs of their patients. This often involves assisting patients with tasks such as eating, bathing, using the toilet, and dressing.
In addition, long-term care nurses are frequently sources of support, guidance, and comfort for patients and their loved ones. They may offer advice on how to deal with a disability or simply provide a shoulder to lean on during particularly difficult times.
Where do Long-term Care Nurses Work?
Most long-term care nurses are employed by long-term care facilities. This includes assisted living facilities, nursing homes, retirement communities, and home care agencies. Some hospitals also employ long-term care nurses as well.
How do I Become a Long-term Care Nurse?
Long-term care nurses generally start their careers by becoming licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs). This involves earning a nursing degree or diploma and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Once you become licensed, you can start working as a registered nurse in either a short-term or long-term care position. You can also choose to continue your education by enrolling in continuing education programs that focus on long-term medical care or gerontology.
Below is the educational path for a Long Term Care Nurse (lowest to highest level of education)
|Educational Track||School Programs||Average Education Length||Choosing Online or Campus|
|Earn a Bachelors Degree||View Programs||4 Years||Online or Campus|
|Earn a MSN Degree||View Programs||2 Additional Years||Online or Campus|
|Earn a PHD or DNP||View Programs||2-4 Additional Years||Online or Campus|
Certification in long-term care nursing is offered by the American Association for Long Term Care Nursing (AALTCN). To sit for the certification exam, you will need to complete one of their certification programs, which includes study materials and a certification examination.