Will I ever get out of LTC or am I doomed?

  1. 0
    I am a newer grad. Graduated last summer. Only job that even gave me a chance is LTC/sub-acute rehab. I hate it. I want a hospital job, desperately. Even a clinic, anything but this kind of nursing. All I do is pass meds, do basic, and rushed assessments, irrigate foleys, change bedsore dressings, chart, do fall work, and get yelled at, and the population I care for (elderly, dementia, or rehab and very needy and frankly a lot of them are abusive and drug-seeking) feels like glorified babysitting. Will anyplace besides this type of nursing facility ever consider me? I'm doing my BSN now so will that even help? If i am gonna be stuck in LTC forever with no hope I may as well go back to school for something else. I LOVE nursing, and I love my patients, but I have way too many (50 by myself) and not enough time, help, or supplies and I am quickly being burned out. Well, I am burned out. Less than a year in LTC and I can feel the compassion fatigue so much, I try to stay compassionate but it is hard when patients kick you and punch you, scream, call names, and have very annoying and disruptive behaviors but you have such a heavy med pass and treatment assignment you don't have 5 minutes to spend with them, and they beg for attention through behaviors. I NEVER wanted to work in LTC but I have to pay my bills. Any advice appreciated.
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  3. 53 Comments so far...

  4. 9
    Keep in mind that the patient that kicks, screams, and is "annoying" is someones grandma, wife or mom. That is the disease, not the person acting out. for the sake of those PEOPLE- get out of LTC. You dont fit. Good luck in your endeavors. I am proud to be what you call a "glorified babysitter". I am more proud to have RESPECT for the elderly. Wow. Just wow.
    just.me, kate0x, workingmama77, and 6 others like this.
  5. 7
    Alot of nurses feel the way you do if you just take a look at the majority of posts in the geriatrics forum they are about unsafe staffing and unsafe work environments. I made a post not too long ago myself. I love my residents and under better conditions I would be a happy LTC nurse but I am leaving my job for a clinic position next month. This does not mean you're not a good nurse. The expectations given to us in nursing school about total care of the patient and meeting all their needs are very hard to achieve in this setting. Do what makes you happy.
    cazach0122, milfordmom, ivyleaf, and 4 others like this.
  6. 9
    I am a LPN, but I work in long-term care and can completely relate to what you have posted. I graduated last April and passed my boards in May. Since that time, I've worked in two different LTC facilities. I absolutely HATE it. I dread going in to work each day. The med pass is sooooo much, and don't even get me started on the paperwork. We do computer charting, which you would think makes it easier, but in fact most things have to be double charted, once on paper and once in the computer. And without fail, there is a fall, skin tear, or some other disturbance to my routine each time I work. I do have respect for my residents, but the truth is, a lot of them DO in fact know what they are doing when they kick or punch you. Yes, I realize that it's someone's mother, wife, grandmother, sister, etc., and I treat them with kindness and in a way that I would want my own family member treated. However, that doesn't make it any less stressful.
    newbieRN724, cazach0122, milfordmom, and 6 others like this.
  7. 3
    Quote from newrnltc
    Alot of nurses feel the way you do if you just take a look at the majority of posts in the geriatrics forum they are about unsafe staffing and unsafe work environments. I made a post not too long ago myself. I love my residents and under better conditions I would be a happy LTC nurse but I am leaving my job for a clinic position next month. This does not mean you're not a good nurse. The expectations given to us in nursing school about total care of the patient and meeting all their needs are very hard to achieve in this setting. Do what makes you happy.
    Egglady I agree with you! I have been in LTC for 12 years. Love "babysitting". I have assessments daily, med, pass, and tx. I still feel like a nurse and quite capable of my nursing abilities. I must say tho I have not come across a facility where I got kicked on a daily basis. Egg you are 100% correct in your statement. This is someones mom , grandfather and at some point WILL be the relative of the writer! Thanks to all who do long term. And if it's not for you please move on.
    Rach823RN, onyx77, and egglady like this.
  8. 2
    This is pretty much the state of the industry in LTC. Just know, some places ARE better that others. We exerienced nurses also feel the same pressures as you. But we keep our heads down, priortorize and develop our own methods of coping (on & off the job). If you read the posts from newer nurses in acute care, they too are experiencing same issues. WAAAAY back, 1972ish, there was a book by Marlene Kramer, "Reality Shock: Why Nurses Leave Nursing". Sad to say, the same problems are still there 40 years later, just seem worse, I think. You need to look for something else, but be aware, you may just be going from frypan into the fire. Good luck.
    onyx77 and DizzyLizzyNurse like this.
  9. 4
    I feel as though I could have written this post. I got my RN last July and tried to get every hospital job I could apply for before I resorted to what I swore I'd never do- LTC. I hate it, but I had to work because my husband got injured in an accident and we had no income. I like my patients and have a lot of compassion for their situations in life, I mean we'll all be there one day, right? But still, I see myself as a hospital nurse, not working in a nursing home where all I get to do is pass pills all day and fill out paperwork for the newest skin tear, fall, or pressure sore. I just have a desire for the variety that a med/surg or surgical dept job in a hospital would provide. I feel for you and TOTALLY understand where you are coming from. Until then, I'm still diligently sending out resumes to hospitals.
  10. 10
    Not all LTC centers are equal. I love my job. I love my residents. Yes it is stressful at times. Yes families drive me crazy sometimes. Yes med pass gets mundane at times. Yes the paperwork sucks. But those same problems exist in a hospital setting. Instead of passing the same meds to a greater number of people, you will possibly see the same type of patient over and over again. Instead of state inspectors breathing down our necks, it will be the Joint Commission.
    I believe attitude is everything. I love that I can see the sunshine out the window at work, and open the window for some fresh air. I love that I can take residents outside and enjoy the sunshine (weather permitting, I DO live in northern MI. lol) I like seeing some of the same people all the time. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind if some of my patients moved to a different part of the building! I love that its more of a home environment and not so sterile.
    I live for, and cherish, the shifts were I get everything done on time, can help my CNA's out, document everything that I should and have a chance to spend more time with my residents; more than just "here are your dinnertime meds." Mostly the good shifts outweigh the bad shifts. I think we tend to remember the bad ones.
    Maybe LTC really is not for you, and that's fine. I just hate that it gets such a bad rap constantly and hospitals are made out to look like heaven. The grass may not always be greener.
    workingmama77, hotflashion, Pat2012, and 7 others like this.
  11. 14
    Oh please, egglady. As if you do not have patients that drive you nuts. I go out of my way to make sandwiches for people at 3 AM. I ambulate patients who just want to walk but it's night and the aides are all busy. I love my residents, but this is NOT the nursing I wanted to do, SO SORRY I am not so self-righteous as to not admit my frustrations. If you love every part of your job while getting punched by alzheimer's patients just because you approach them and said "Good morning" when they were already awake, you must be some kind of angel that I know doesn't exist. I will sit and have nonsense conversations with patients when they are confused. But I am not gonna sit and listen to a patient complain for 2 hours or call me every swear word and name on earth and pretend to love it. I won't pretend like passing pills for 5 hours a night is giving me useful "skills." I don't have disrespect for my patients, it is the care style in LTC facilities that I can't stand, 50 patients for one nurse, please. Just, please. If you have never felt compassion fatigue you must be some kind of saint, but I am sure that your post is just someone on their high horse while someone else vents. Like you've never felt burnout because of your work environment. Please get over yourself, oh mighty respectful of the elderly, always positive, never frustrated super-nurse. I feel sorry for your patients, if they complain you must give them a lecture. Can't someone just vent, jeezus.
  12. 2
    It's not just you. I feel doomed too, like I forgot every skill that I learned in nursing school. I do take care of my residents. I just sometimes wish that I could have worked in the hospital. When I have lunch with some of my former peers and hear all of the exciting things they do, I feel a bit jealous. The only thing I can contribute that is exciting is doing CPR on a 90 something year old resident whose family could never agree to sign a DNR. Until then, I am going to make the best of it and give it 100%.
    onyx77 and JZ_RN like this.


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