Jump to content

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


Okay, so I'm graduating in December and I'm seriously considering geriatrics/LTC as a career option. :loveya: 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! :nurse:

NamasteNurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Geriatrics, LTC. Has 8 years experience.

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.

OnlybyHisgraceRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC and School Health.

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 !

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! :yelclap:

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!;)

LoveMyBugs, BSN, CNA, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics.

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

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 :loveya:

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 9 years experience.

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!

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

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!! :yeah:

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!

Mandychelle79, ASN, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 2 years experience.

The majority of my class got jobs in LTC. I was the odd ball who wanted psych.

CapeCodMermaid, RN

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health. Has 30 years experience.

As someone who's worked in LTC for years, I am thrilled that there are still new nurses who don't see working there as a step down. You won't find a better place to learn time management and assessment skills. At least half of the people in my building are full codes. We do all sorts of IVs, wound care, chronic disease management, sub acute, post acute, and really sometimes acute care...add to that wound vacs, trachs, CADD pumps.....you'll love it.

egglady, LPN

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 25 years experience.

LTC is not what it used to be! You will love it, and contrary to popular belief- you wont lose all your skills!!

CapeCod Mermaid: Your LTC facility sounds wonderful, and rare. Are you hiring? :) I live very close to Cape Cod!

CapeCodMermaid, RN

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health. Has 30 years experience.

Nurse456,I don't live on Cape any more. But I am hiring. Send me an IM if yiu want details.

I do want details!!! But I can't IM b/c I only have posted twice, and I have to post 15x before I can IM. Can I forward you my resume?

I'm so glad to hear that, egglady! :yelclap: I've talked with one of my nursing instructors and she said essentially the same thing. Another told me that LTC/geriatrics is just "another type of med-surg" and I can see the logic in that. I've seen lots of older adults get dc'd/transferred from the med-surg floor to the hospital's rehab unit, or to another LTC facility. Most all have their IVs dc'd too, but I'm glad to hear that there are G-tubes, etc. My only experience on the floor with that kind of stuff was in ICU and I did not have a good experience there. First, I've never been interested in ICU to start with, and second, my nurse felt my BSN program (and me, by extension) was inferior to hers (other country, different methods, etc.). Not the best way to recruit others to the profession.

The more I think about it, the more I see geriatrics in my future.....thanks everyone!! :heartbeat

Do your research before you accept any position! i wish i asked to "job shadow" before actually accepting my position. I am only a few months into what i thought would be my dream job: 3-11pm (so basically all day with my toddlers at home), great pay, benefits, and the dementia wing (i love psych). i learned day one, that turnover for my position has been high and moral on the wing low. i am the kind of person that says, i can be a positive part here but, im starting to question it all. i love that we have picc lines, wounds, etc, but with 37 residents to my self i am barely able to get meds passed, literally throwing treatments on, and cannot get everything done that is "required".