LTC job and schoolwork

  1. I'm having a bit of a dilemma. I currently work 3rd shift full time as a private duty RN. I was just offered a job at a nursing home on what they equate to a med-surg floor. I'm a relatively new RN (been working for 6 months) so at first I was excited about the opportunity to increase my nursing skills... but now I'm concerned about how much (if any) time I'll have to do homework/study. As you can imagine I have plenty of free time working overnight in my current position and have more than enough time to get work done. I always hear LTC is extremely busy and hectic, even during 3rd shift. I know the nurse to patient ratio at this facility is 1:25 (give or take)... which is horrifying to me... but again, I realize that is the norm.

    Is it ridiculous to think I'll get any study time at this new job? I'm going to school full time to get my BSN and I should be done in December.

    Also... my ultimate goal is to land a job in the ICU, so any advice regarding the pros/cons of working in LTC vs. private duty would be great as well.

    Thanks for your help!
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    About cazach0122

    Joined: Oct '10; Posts: 47; Likes: 35


  3. by   CapeCodMermaid
    You're not being paid to study. You're being paid to work. Study on your own time. You shouodn't expect down time...especially as a new nurse in a new job
  4. by   cazach0122
    I definitely don't expect it, I was just wondering how it compares since I need to keep school in mind with regards to my decision. I wont have much time at all of my own to study with this new job so I'm just weighing my options.
  5. by   CapeCodMermaid
    Then to answer your original question, yes it's ridiculous to think you'll get any study time at the new job.
  6. by   Hoosier_RN
    Exactly CCM! I wish I only worked an 8 hr day so I could have time to study something outside of work. I do 12s, but usually ends up 4-5 days/wk, not 3!.
  7. by   bluegeegoo2
    I work nights and have 46 residents, 15 of those being skilled at the moment. If the night is quiet, and half the hall doesn't want a PRN, and no one falls or exacerbates, and the planets line up just so, I might have some down time. It's rare. Very rare. Even on a "good" night I stay pretty busy just doing what needs to be done on my shift. Add (insert event here) to the mix and I need roller skates to finish on time. In other words, I wouldn't expect any down time in a LTC regardless of shift.
  8. by   cazach0122
    That's really helpful, thank you! That's what I figured, more or less.
  9. by   caliotter3
    I learned from experience that there is no time to study on night shift in a LTC facility but there might be on a night shift home health case.
  10. by   JBMmom
    I don't work third, but in my facility if you were studying on the clock, that would definitely get you walked out the door. Whether you can find the time or not, it wouldn't be tolerated. Don't want to sound like a jerk, just a thought that even if you "have" time, it might not be wise to use it. Do you really not have any time to study other than when you're at work? The experience might be good for you, more action as a new nurse than your current position. Doesn't sound you're getting a whole lot of nursing care experience, so depending on what your goals are, a more active job might be good.
  11. by   Sam J.
    Working in a SNF will be all the 'homework' you'll be able to manage while working in a SNF. It sounds as though your idea of a night in LTC might be sleepy, quiet, and uneventful- if so, you're probably in for quite a suprise...
  12. by   casi
    I'm guessing what a LTC equates to a med-surg floor is their transitional care unit. 25 patients in transitional care is heavy. Hospitals really like to d/c some real train wrecks to TCU because they know we'll try to treat and keep them in house before sending back to the hospital. For the most part you'll be running your butt off all night.

    When it comes to experience. TCU is where you'll get a lot of experience. You'll see and do A LOT. From what I understand private duty patient's can be very complex, but for the most part they are stable.

    In TCU you'll see IVs, central lines, various types of wound care including wound vacs, feeding tubes, new ostomys, hospice, drains and so on. Patient diagnosis range like crazy.
  13. by   NurseNightOwl
    I worked 11-7 on a rehab hall. While the nurses on the LTC halls had time to surf facebook on their ipads or read novels (not all night but in hour-long spurts throughout the shift), I never had time for anything like that, due to the difference in the types of pts I had. Also, I wouldn't start my med passes early for anything, worried that state would walk in any second (hey, you never know!) and it was common practice by more seasoned nurses to start 2 or more hours early in order to get everything done early (ex. starting med pass at 4 am for 6 am meds).
  14. by   Momtomykiddos
    I think there is a common myth that nights on LTC are quiet. All the residents are asleep, right? At least, that's what the people who do the scheduling seem to think, hence the insane ratios at night.

    But you have people sundowning. You have insomnia, from people napping during the day. You have pain issues. You have people self-transferring because there are fewer aides, decreased lighting, and residents who don't have their hearing aids or glasses, and all of that and more leads to more falls at night.

    Then there are the tasks that get relegated to night shift. So when you have down time from patient care, you have glucometers to QC, and fridge temps to check. Our night shift nurse also switches out the papers in the MARs and the TARs at the beginning of the month. They're also responsible for switching out the nebulizer tubing that is in a lot of the rooms. Then there's the charting--higher ratios means more people to chart on--even if you don't have to chart on everyone, you still have notes to write on more people.

    Short answer: no, there isn't more down time in an LTC.