I'm a new LTC nurse, been there a whole two weeks. I have to admit, it was the last place I had expected, or hoped, to be. Everyone that knows me would say "you'd be a great ER nurse" or something else acute care related (my true love is cardiac). I'm a task-oriented person, without much 'touchy-feely' about me, so when people talked about the relationships with patients in LTC, it really made me nervous that I just wouldn't enjoy it at all. Life being what it is, this opportunity unexpectedly came up and I figured I at least owed it a shot and went in with as open a mind as I could (still had some big reservations about whether I'd fit). I have to say, I really like it. I'm constantly on the move, and med pass on 30 residents makes my 4 patient med pass nights in clinicals look like a cake walk. I'm learning to navigate two med passes, a treatment pass, charting and any number of things that will come up. I think that acute care and LTC are just completely different animals. Some of my classmates have apologized to me that I ended up in LTC, and I can see why they'd have that opinion. I don't want to debate which is "harder" or "better", I'm no less of a nurse caring for my 30 residents than my former classmates caring for their trauma patients in the ER. My treatments might be skin tears and not surgical wounds, my assessments are more focused and maybe not as life or death, but my residents are no less important than any of those people walking into a hospital. Most of my residents led productive lives at one point, and now their world has been reduced to one floor of a building, or for some- four walls of a room. They rely on the care provided by my excellent fellow-nurses, our wonderful CNAs, and myself, and I'll do my best to provide what I can. Just thought I'd post this in case there are any new grads, or soon-to-be-grads, or even students that think they'll "never even consider LTC", you might want to be open to what life sends your way, it could be the best move you make.
My only gripe is that I've had a number of people tell me I'll "grow out of it" when I answer lights and help people with bedpans, or stop and get snacks, and I understand that people can get burnt out. Rose colored glasses of a new nurse or not, I don't intend to grow out of it, it's part of my care as long as I'm able.