Long Term Acute Care-New Grad

Updated:   Published

I have an interview coming up at a long term acute care hospital. The acuity of the unit is describes as being between ICU and an ICU step down. My question is would this experience be considered hospital experience in an acute care being that most hospitals want candidates to have acute care experience. As a new grad, I just don't want to put myself in a position that I wouldn't be able to further my career in an acute care setting and this experience wouldn't count as experience in acute care. All advice is appreciated.


1,076 Posts

I recommend asking this question under specialties. Scroll down to long term acute care. There is a recent discussion on this as well.


517 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Rehab.

I am not an acute care hiring manager so I can't say this for certain, but I do work in LTAC and it is pretty darn acute! I have patients on tele, do phlebotomy, IV insertions, wound care/vacs, blood transfusions, get people OOB for rehab and sitting schedules, etc etc. Many patients have trachs and G-tubes and are on ventilators. It all depends on the facility. I took this job as a stepping stone to an acute care position and I definitely feel like I'm gaining valuable experience!


1 Post

If you can work in a Long Term Acute Care setting, you can work anywhere. I did it for five years. It's very acute!

Has 12 years experience.

Experience in an LTAC is very valuable and great on the resume, I get recruited all the time. At my LTAC we do everything sort of invasive cardiac monitoring and see a wide variety of chronic and acute diseases. On any given day I have vented patients, complex wound care, complex post-surgical cases, vented patients with renal failure on HD with comorbids, etc. In my area we also had quite a few of the fungal meningitis patients that made the news-learned a ton from caring for these folks.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

In an LTAC/LATCH(Long Term Acute Care Hospital)...organization is key. You will learn a TON. LTAC's are full of very acute patients, all the medically complex/complicated course/unusual illness patient are collected under one roof. Staffing can be an issue......take what they are going to offer you and learn. getting the LTAC expereince will help you ......most acute care hospitals don't know anything about them except as a place to send patients to.....in an interview you will have to explain and "sell" your experience...but yes....it counts.

LTAC's are a unique combination of very sick patients in a LTC setting. These people are the SICKEST of the sick AND they have had complicated hospital course. A 4:1 ratio may not seem like very much but in an ICU setting in an LTAC are the failure to weans so you will have 4 vented patients. Most will have multiple lines including PA Catheter's/Swan , including pressors and IV's.

Any LTAC I have seen or worked in is a tough environment. These patients are SICK! They have just "run out" of acute days and are sent to the LTAC. These patients are the ICU patients that remain critically ill but have run out of "paid days" on insurance/medicare. You will see a ton of stuff.......everyone else's failure to discharge home. Open hearts with complicated post op courses, trauma's with Halo traction, many unique disease process with complicated recoveries, open wounds, chest tubes, vac dressings, wound irrigation's. You will give TPN, blood, do labs...your IV skill will make you valuable to them. These patients are mostly full codes and every attempt is made to get them home.....but with a fraction of the nursing staff in an acute care setting.

The LTAC I am familiar with had an ICU and these patients were not DNR's, they were vented, with lines and drips. They are a collection of the most medically complex patients that have suffered complications and rough hospital courses due to comorbidities. The floor patients can be vented, multi lumen lines, feeding tubes, IVF, antibiotics with complicated wounds still receiving aggressive treatment to get them well enough to got to a rehab, SNF or home.

The nurses perform like any other "acute care nurse" and more "acute care" nurses and hospitals/administrators need to respect what these nurses do with little to NO help. They process labs, drugs, give blood, pass meds. I have seen HALO traction many times on the elderly who have fallen. There are a ton of young trauma victims that are not doing well as well as the complicated open hearts on telemetry. They will seen neurological diseases like ALS and weird meningitis like listeria.

Any nurse will work very hard....I think a new grad who is bright and a go getter with a thirst for knowledge and confidence is a good candidate. They usually have extensive orientation programs and are will to invest I the nurses education....but you will work very hard. The patient load is double...example most ICU patients are 1:1's or 2:1's when they leave the hospital....they are 3:1, 4:1 at the LTAC.

You will gain a TON of experience and at least they do have great orientations. I wish you every bit of good fortune and luck in your new journey. If you have any other questions about and LTAC....PM me.

You will learn a TON and LTAC's are willing to teach. Organization is key.