I know exactly what you are talking about. I have been in LTC for 9 years now, and ever since I graduated my dad keeps telling me that I need to "get in a hospital" (note, I am married with 3 kids, but he still gives me career advice
!) I have always felt (because of other nurses and docs views on LTC nurses) that I needed to get more skills and be a "real nurse". I was offered many acute care jobs, even one in maternity, and worked on a med surg floor for about 8 months once. And guess what....I hated it! Every time I was offered a acute care job, I thought "Now I can get good experience" as if working LTC isn't experience enough. We are all in the fields we chose for a reason, because we all have special skills and qualities that make us good nurses for the critically ill, the laboring mother, the preemie baby, the rehab ortho patient. I, personally, am sick and tired of feeling like I have to apologize for being a LTC nurse, as if I wasn't good enough or motivated enough to get in a hospital. I am sick of hospital nurses (although by no means all nurses that work in acute care) think that I lack assessment skills. I know plenty of hosp nurses that tell me they couldn't do what I do...and it's a whole different set of "skills" that a LTC nurses uses that acute care nurses don't have to possess. We don't rely on machines to tell us when something is wrong, we don't have doctors in house 24/7, we don't have a lab, or a pharmacy on site. We need to be innovative, creative and compassionate with our approaches to resident care. We know our patients better than we know our own families. And our time management skills are to die for, otherwise we'd never get done a med pass for 30-40 patients.
We all have invaluable and exceptional skills, no matter what field we choose to work in. A successful IV stick does not a skilled nurse make.
Geriatric RN extrordinaire