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I don't want to work in LTC... Will someone change my attitude?

First Year   (5,975 Views | 27 Replies)

4,431 Profile Views; 91 Posts

Hey everyone. I graduate this May with a BSN and expect that I will struggle to find a hospital job just like every other new grad out there. I'm in northern MN hoping to move to the metro twin cities area, but I am sure that it is just saturated with nurses. A few of my friends who graduated this winter refuse to apply to LTC facilities, but now are still without jobs and eventually it may be their only option, as well as mine. I hate the idea... Part of is the horror stories Ive been told with working at LTC, and part of it is family pressure. I also remember dreading clinical at the nursing home. The nurses always seemed to be falling behind, stressed, WAY undervalued/under-appreciated, and obviously disliked their jobs... But I may just have to suck it up for the first year or two until I gain enough experience to be considered for a hospital position. I realize that a lot of this is attitude. I'm just afraid of getting burnt out or risking my license. So I'm pretty much asking for someone to tell me some of the pros of working in LTC. What are some of your positive experiences? Do you have any advice for a new grad in LTC? Is LTC nursing really that bad? And if it really is terrible... how can I avoid burnout and make the most of the experience?

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Fiona59 has 18 years experience.

1 Follower; 8,304 Posts; 53,347 Profile Views

Well pull up this big girl or boy panties. There is no dream job anymore.

My first jobs were in LTC and I hated it. But I did it for the experience. You learn to assess and think quickly. You learn you meds. You become a pro at cathing patients. You learn to hone your psych skills.

You become a pro at paperwork.

You learn time management skills that will carry forward to any job you go to in the future.

It was my experience in LTC that got me into acute care.

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1 Article; 1,939 Posts; 40,920 Profile Views

I've done LTC and it can be a very stressful job at times. However, not all LTC facilities are bad. You have 2 options: apply at a LTC and stay for a little while until a hospital job opens out or don't apply at a LTC job and wait for a hospital job to open up. It may take 2 weeks or 2 years for you to get a job in a hospital. No one on here can 100 percent guarentee that you will or will not get a job in a hospital.

If you are going to apply and work at a LTC facility you need to change your attitude. Your co-workers and patients can tell who is there just until something up opens up and those who really do care to work in LTC.

Also, check out the LTC forum on AN.

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HyperSaurus, RN has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

758 Posts; 11,313 Profile Views

No one can change your attitude but you. As Fiona59 said, there is no dream job anymore. But, starting in LTC doesn't guarantee that you have to stay in LTC for the rest of your career. On my old floor (medical), two of my coworkers started in LTC, and on my current floor (NICU), one of the newest hires comes with a year experience at an LTC. It's a step in the right direction and can be valuable experience. It will be, like anything else, what you make of it.

Edited by HyperSaurus, RN
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RNGriffin specializes in Neuro ICU/Trauma/Emergency.

375 Posts; 8,189 Profile Views

You don't know what you will and will not like. Everything you have heard about LTC can be said about acute care.

There is a dream job, I would like to correct that statement. But, the dream also comes with bad aspects as well. You're not going to find any job that is stress free, low patient ratio, or without it's politics. Learn to go into each experience with goals in mind & forget what you've read or heard from forums/word of mouth.

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784 Posts; 8,867 Profile Views

Don't move to the Twin Cities if you want a job as a new grad... the job outlook is bad and you're going to have much more luck looking in smaller towns in between. I got offered an interview in Fargo very quickly

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nynursey_ has 3 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg/ICU/Stepdown.

642 Posts; 10,319 Profile Views

Even if you think you'll struggle, your best bet is to apply like the dickens to every single hospital that you're willing to travel to. There are 7 hospitals within reasonable driving distance from me and I put in at least 10 applications at each hospital. I was simply not willing to settle for less than what I wanted in a potential place of employment. Be persistent!

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Karou has 1 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg.

700 Posts; 8,104 Profile Views

Hello! I have a little over three years of experience in LTC as both a CNA (two years), then an LVN (little over a year). This is all in the same facility. My struggles were unique from the other nurses that I worked with in that for two years I had been this incredibly young, brand sparking new CNA who suddenly had a supervisory role over my coworkers. It was an awkward transition.

There were a lot of positives and negatives to my experience. My mother likes to laugh at me when I like to tell someone how I miss the nursing home. She promptly reminds me that I would come home very often in tears, starving, and exhausted. True. Most of the positives I realize now, but didn't appreciate at the time.

Aside from the awkward role transition, it was a tough place to work. We were always understaffed and overworked. CNA's could make or break your shift. Even in the hospital setting one of the most important things you can do is to form a good relationship with your ancillary staff. As a new nurse this can be really difficult to do. They will more than likely try to test your boundaries as they size you up. Sometimes it is important that you be tough (especially when safety is an issue), but I mostly won them over with kindness. Asking about their family, remembering their hobbies, offering to get them lunch, all help them realize you are on their side. Usually they are also the ones handling the patients more than you, so you can often rely on them to pick up on things you may not. They are often the first to have a clue that there is something off with the patient.

You will learn meds very quickly, and as another poster said, become good at catheterizing. Many incontinent patients will need urinalysis and that usually means an in and out cath. Patients still have labs you will keep up with, and you will still rely on your assessment skills. You'll still call the doctors and if y'all are paper still, you'll learn how to take a good telephone order. You will still document nurses notes and assessments. You may get patients with IV's or trach's, depending on your facility.

The hands down number one most important thing you will ever learn, will be how to interact with patients, people, and coworkers. I cannot tell you how invaluable this is! Working in LTC taught me so much about my patients as being people. I loved my "residents", and I care for all of my patients in the hospital as well. I can deal with unruly family members in the hospital because I did it in the nursing one as well. Oh, and death. My first postmortem care and hospice experiences were in the NH. I am grateful for that because it prepared me so much better for the unexpected deaths I have experienced in the hospital setting.

I could go on, and on. Basically your education and experiences are what YOU make of them. I would encourage you to go into this with your mind and heart open. Learn everything that you can. It will be hard, but make it worth it.

I am currently a med surg nurse, but I am forever grateful for my experiences in LTC. They helped shape me into the nurse and person that I am. It was the hardest thing I have ever done (even more than the hospital), but the rewards were great. GOODLUCK! If you manage to get a hospital job then I will be very happy for you, but if you end up in LTC for a while, then I think you will benefit from it in the long run. Keep applying :)

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 66 Articles; 13,948 Posts; 172,416 Profile Views

You're afraid of getting burned out or risking or license and you haven't even GRADUATED yet? Seriously?

LTC is a tough job, but it's very necessary and very worthwhile. You will learn about medications, time management, labs and catheters. You'll also learn how to interact with patients, do a snap assessment in the minute that it takes you to ask someone how their day went and how to talk to families, physicians and EMS teams. How much you enjoy your job depends entirely upon you. No one can change your attitude but you.

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HappyWife77 has 20 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Gerontology RN-BC and FNP MSN student.

739 Posts; 14,297 Profile Views

Long term care is a challenge that is very rewarding.

It will be awesome experience that will quickly get you on top of great assets such as...time management, interdisciplinary team experience, wound care, supervisory experience, dealing with families and best of all....a population of patients that need great caregivers and advocates. Not everyone that is a nurse could do it or actually even want to do it.

Step outside your percieved comfort zone and see for yourself, I bet you will be pleasantly surprised it is an awesome experience.

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344 Posts; 5,131 Profile Views

Is it true that if you work in LTC as a new grad you can kiss working anywhere else goodbye?

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LadyFree28 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

8,427 Posts; 75,829 Profile Views

Is it true that if you work in LTC as a new grad you can kiss working anywhere else goodbye?

When you have residents with vents, reviving chemo or radiation therapy, wound vacs, IV therapy, focused assessments, hospice...

Short answer- :no:

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