A soon-to-be new grad who actually WANTS to work in geriatrics!

  1. 3
    Okay, so I'm graduating in December and I'm seriously considering geriatrics/LTC as a career option. I've got a knack for working with older folks (which makes me an oddity in my class of 23) and just don't like med-surg that much.

    How do I find a job in one of these places? I've been looking online and no one seems to advertise for RNs in my neck of the woods (tourist destination in the southwest) but it could be that I'm looking in the wrong places. Should I just walk in and fill out an application? What about assisted living facilities? Do they hire RNs?

    How would you advise a new grad in this situation? Also, I'd love to hear why you like this kind of nursing, because I haven't met many RNs who LOVE working with older adults.

    Thanks!
    VivaLasViejas, azcna, and Meriwhen like this.
  2. Get our hottest nursing topics delivered to your inbox.

  3. 18 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    LTC facilities most definitely hire RN's. At my facility they are mainly supervisors, charge nurses or administration but some are 'floor nurses'. Look at your local 'helpwanted.com site. they are excellent. start by googling regionalhelpwanted.com. good luck and god bless! we need good LTC nurses and it is very rewarding. I never really 'got' why LTC gets such a bad rap.
    onyx77 and hb08491 like this.
  5. 2
    Just walk in and fill out an application. Most of time they will hire you on the spot. That is how I got my job in LTC. I thoroughly enjoy working with the residents. However, as a new nurse I need to up my clinical skills and I can't do that in LTC. Look for skilled units as well, where the patients are more acute. You will get g-tubes, trachs, post ops, and IVS which will help you with your experience. Wishing you well !
    VivaLasViejas and zorabanks like this.
  6. 0
    Thanks, NamasteNurse! I have 1 friend in my class who feels the same way I do, and we've pretty much decided we're sticking to the old folks. Can you tell me more about what a typical day at work looks like for you? One reason I'm particularly interested in LTC/SNF is that I've heard the shifts are 8hrs instead of 12. Is that the case in most places? What is the nurse-patient ratio like? How many CNAs per unit? What would you say are the top 3 chronic diseases you see in your patients? I'm thinking DM 1 & 2 and COPD for starters. After I pass the NCLEX (trying to stay positive here!) what certifications would you suggest I pick up? I'm thinking ACLS, but any others?

    Thanks again for your response!
  7. 1
    Good point. I was wondering about skills - haven't had the chance in my med-surg clinicals to practice IVs much, but lots of post-op wound care & passing meds (not just PO, either). I know what you mean about working with residents. I had the opportunity to work with a lot of older adults last semester in med-surg clinical and it was very rewarding. I felt like I'd made a difference in their lives, even if it was just one shift. Thanks for the well-wishes!
    OnlybyHisgraceRN likes this.
  8. 1
    I wouldn't waste time and money getting ACLS certs if you are working in LTC, reason being the last 2 LTC did not have a code cart or ACLS meds, just O2 and suction to support until EMS arrived. Also a lot of patient tend to be DNR, so you would be doing more pallative/hospice type care.
    I would look into wound care classes, as that is what I did the most of in LTC. The nurse patient ratio depends on if your patients are LTC or skilled.
    The first SNF/LTC I worked at had 4 halls, the 1st on was strictly LTC with 30 residents, and that was the easy hallway even though there were more paitents, they never changed and you really got to know them.
    Then the skilled hallways had 22-25 patients which was way too much when you have wound vacs, PICCs g-tubes, and disorienated patients, with high turnover with admits almost daily
    tokidoki7 likes this.
  9. 1
    LoveMyBugs, I hadn't thought of that. I've got a friendly connection with the wound care RN at my med-surg clinical location, so maybe I should ask my instructor if I can shadow that nurse for a day? It sounds like the SN hallways were a lot like rehab, with some hospice thrown in. Are the SN areas more broad in the ages of the patients or are we still talking about older adults? Where I live, we have a separate rehab hospital and lots of LTC facilities, and a LOT of independent/assisted living communities with LTC sections on one big campus. Do you ever have opportunities for teaching, away from the bedside? That's something I'd really like to do, especially in an independent living/assisted living environment. Do RNs handle that, or do the communities bring in pros from the outside?

    This is really good input! Thanks everyone, and keep it coming! I'll even take stories about favorite patients
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  10. 1
    I just got a job (will start in a month) in a geriatrics medicine floor in a great hospital. I'm really excited about it. I feel like I get the "best of both worlds" by working with the geriatric population while learning med-surg. I really love the elderly, and can't wait to start. Sorry I can't give you advice on how it all works, yet. But, I'm a new-grad (sort of) starting in a fellowship program with a lot of orientation and preceptorship. Before interviewing, I had many lofty goals of what I wanted to be when I grew up (hehe), but really, the floor seemed so great, I worry I may never want to leave!
    vega likes this.
  11. 0
    I love my job as a DON in assisted living. It's a great job if you love the older population and like to teach and mentor staff, but I wouldn't recommend it to a new grad---you'll want to start out in SNF/LTAC to hone your technical skills and learn how to be a nurse first, and then move up to a supervisory position.

    The ALF nurse needs to have top-notch physical and psychosocial assessment skills, as well as knowledge of management/administrative procedures and that all-important critical thinking ability, and those are things that only come with time and experience. But it is something to think about for the long term. Best of luck, and welcome to geriatrics!!
  12. 0
    I am a soon to be new grad and want to work with the geriatric population, too! I am the lone person who is interested in them! Everyone else wants to do ER and I don't see the appeal to that. I've worked as a CNA in nursing homes and now as a caregiver in assisted living, and I love being really be able to build relationships with my residents and their families.
    I would say, if you could, get your caregiver certification. It's much cheaper and faster to get than CNA. There are a few places you can do it online (except for a few days of shadowing, which you can get hook up with a place) if you dig deep enough to find those places online. That's what I did. Then see about getting your foot in the door as a caregiver. If that doesn't work, I would get either get emails of DON/Hiring Managers of places you want to work and email them your resume/CV or go in and apply, but I wouldn't do that now, I would want until closer to graduation. I hope that helps some!


Top