Complete surprise, in a good way, LTC experience so far

  1. 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.
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  2. 33 Comments

  3. by   NutmeggeRN
    Kudos to you for recognizing and embracing your opportunity! LTC IS a different world, but none the less can be very rewarding.

    Learn as much as you can, hone your time management skilss, really learn about psych meds (there are lot in geriatric) and put your best foot forward!
  4. by   imintrouble
    The world will most definitely try to make you think your job in LTC is second best. Save your breath on trying to explain why it's not. Those that get it, already know you're right. Those that don't, never will.
    I loved your post because everything you wrote reflected why I loved LTC.
    There is a hierarchy in nursing. But it only works if nurses believe any one area is "better" than another. You are a lucky person to know who you are, what you want, and where you're going. Your residents are even luckier.
  5. by   CrunchRN
    Great to have someone that feels as you do in LTC.
  6. by   CT Pixie
    Welcome to LTC. I love LTC and my geri pts!

    Gone are the days of 'rest homes'. You can learn so much in LTC if you just open your eyes and mind and see it. Most patients are d/c from the hospital way before they are able to go home safely. That patient comes to me. I'm doing much of what the hospital nurses did (with a few exceptions like IV meds, etc) but now its being done in the LTC setting. I have seen more acutely ill patients than chronic.

    LTC will teach you time management, deligation skills, dealing with doctors, families and other health care team members, you learn and hone many skills (for example you learn really quickly how to admister meds via g-tube with one hand while proctecting yourself from the swings and punches from the combative pt with the other You also learn a slew of meds in LTC.

    I'm so glad you are enjoying your time as a LTC nurse.
  7. by   proud nurse
    I've always been fond of LTC. It's where I began, and it holds a special place in my heart.
  8. by   prnqday
    LTC will always hold a special place in my heart. I love my geri peeps. I've done acute care and currently work in the ED and each specialty has its own battles. However, I personally think it takes a special nurse to do LTC. To be a long term nurse you need sound judgement, great assessment skills, and be willing to give a dose of TLC.
  9. by   Nascar nurse
    Welcome to LTC. What a wonderful addition to our profession you will be! Best of luck and please feel free to post if you need guidance or send me a PM.
  10. by   squidbillies
    I'm in school right now and have decided that LTC is probably what I will start with when I graduate. While it wasn't my initial choice, I have come to embrace the idea that it will be an easier job to land, I can learn tons, and have the flexibility (nights) to take it a bit slower (I hope). While I've decided this is what I will pursue, I am still nervous about whether I will truly embrace it. Your post gives me hope. Congrats and thanks.
  11. by   db2xs
    I loved this post! As a nursing student who is surrounded by classmates who praise only acute care/ED/ICU/hospital settings, it is so refreshing to read that someone loves LTC! My passion is older adults and I would be more than happy to work in an LTC or SNF. A gerontology NP who is also a university instructor told me that in this day and age, one can get equally excellent experience in a SNF or LTC as in acute care--it's just a different setting, that's all.
  12. by   djh123
    I think you've got a great attitude! Good for you. I've opened mine up as my job search has gone on and on. At first I thought 'oh, I only want to do one of these 2-3 types of nursing', but now I've applied for several more types.
  13. by   amygarside
    Great for you, it is so refreshing to find someone who know her own mind.
  14. by   Flare
    I'm happy to hear that you didn't let someone else make your mind up for you. Most people that turn their nose up at LLTC have never tried working there. Sure, there are some very poorly managed places, but there are lots of really good places too that provide excellent care for people that have no other alternatives. It really is a terribly important job.

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