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Loving my new job in LTC...but...

Nurses   (2,399 Views | 9 Replies)

nursingcares is a RN and specializes in LTC.

3,208 Profile Views; 39 Posts

Hey all!

I'm loving my job at a LTC facility on an Alzheimer's/Psych unit. I'm a new grad and couldn't find a hospital position but it turns out I enjoy my residents soooo much! However, I am a little worried about not learning/exercising a lot of skills I would be using in a hospital. I was thinking I could get some experience to put on my resume (since most of the jobs I applied to complained I had no experience) and then I would try again and maybe stay with the LTC facility prn. I was talking to a coworker about this and she said that hospitals will not consider LTC experience? Is this true?

Thanks for your response!

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621 Posts; 5,505 Profile Views

many hospitals don't (some may though) consider ltc exp when figuring your pay, etc. it's nursing exp, but usually not the kinda nursing exp they're looking for.

example (er nursing): if you've been an er nurse for 10 years, you're gonna get paid for 10 yrs exp if you're getting a new er nursing job. however, if you've got 10 yrs ltc exp, you probably are gonna get paid about what a newbie nurse does for a job as an er nurse.

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Chin up has 26 years experience and specializes in Med surg, LTC, Administration.

694 Posts; 5,685 Profile Views

You are getting psych experience and also organizational skills. Do you want to stay in psych...then this will most definitely help you. Besides I don't understand the logic, if you never work until you get a hospital job, then you have no experience in anything. And if you get a long term care job, while trying to get into a hospital, you still don't have experience??

Your future employer will be better able to judge your work ethic, work attitude, ability to work with others among other things. You are getting experience in psych and other skills. On paper, you look better than the one who never took the initiative to find employment, at any cost. Besides, since you love LTC so much, this may be your niche and your future. There is tremendous need for RN's in LTC and so much opportunity for growth and advancement. Please reconsider leaving a field, you love so much. Good luck! Peace!

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rnlately has 6 years experience and specializes in LTC, Acute Care.

439 Posts; 7,888 Profile Views

I got a job in acute care after working in LTC for over three years and my nursing experience was counted as guess what??...EXPERIENCE. You will find that many ltc residents are hospitalized at any given time and your EXPERIENCE dealing with psych/dementia/alzheimers patients will definitely be a great help to you. I was concerned, just as you are, about "lack" of clinical skills since ltc was my first job out of nursing school; I only had to insert catheters occasionally in ltc and IV insertion was a rarity. When I interviewed for my current position I even voiced my "clinical skill" concerns to the NM whom informed me that she was more concerned with bedside manner and "skills" would become better with time. Made me feel 1000% better. I know that all hospitals aren't the same but I feel like my post will be encouraging to you. Best wishes.

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MouseMichelle has 16 years experience and specializes in Home Health/Hospice.

192 Posts; 2,529 Profile Views

You will learn a lot from LTC that would be useful in acute care. Organizational skills, being able to pick up things and report to the doc on call (as you have no doc in the facility you're it), bedside manner, medications, how to deal with confused patients, how to deal with mentally ill patients. Clinicical skills can be relearned. I would not stay with LTC for over 2 years unless you decide that is what you want to do.

Acute care will teach you those clinical skills, in the meantime get some books on clinical skills and review them often.

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nursingcares is a RN and specializes in LTC.

39 Posts; 3,208 Profile Views

Thanks everyone so much for your response! This helps a lot. Maybe I will stay in LTC but if I decide not to at least now I know I will be able to get a hospital position. Thank you!

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joanna73 is a BSN, RN and specializes in geriatrics.

1 Article; 4,767 Posts; 43,736 Profile Views

Agree with these posters. It annoys me to no end when people assume that LTC is not real nursing. BS! First of all, nursing is extremely diverse, and there are many many opportunities aside from the hospital. More importantly, LTC is becoming more acute every day. You are one nurse in LTC, so critical thinking, decision making, and time mgmt skills are superior. In the last few months at my LTC, we have had to deal with stroke, pneumonia, falls, a pt with an ileostomy, 4 IVs, one palliative, 3 deaths, and the rainbow of psych issues. And you aren't calling the doctor for every little thing like we often must do in a hospital. You learn to know when to call in LTC.

I've worked busy acute care units also. I can honestly say that in my experience, both are very comparable in terms of acuity. The best by far though, is getting hugs from my residents at night when I tuck them in. Or the funny stories. You don't get that in acute care. And I would have no issue selling my skills to any NM. Bedside manner is just as important as all those "hard" nursing skills. Even more so, in my opinion. Skills can always be reviewed, too.

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rnlately has 6 years experience and specializes in LTC, Acute Care.

439 Posts; 7,888 Profile Views

Agree with these posters. It annoys me to no end when people assume that LTC is not real nursing. BS! First of all, nursing is extremely diverse, and there are many many opportunities aside from the hospital. More importantly, LTC is becoming more acute every day. You are one nurse in LTC, so critical thinking, decision making, and time mgmt skills are superior. In the last few months at my LTC, we have had to deal with stroke, pneumonia, falls, a pt with an ileostomy, 4 IVs, one palliative, 3 deaths, and the rainbow of psych issues. And you aren't calling the doctor for every little thing like we often must do in a hospital. You learn to know when to call in LTC.

I've worked busy acute care units also. I can honestly say that in my experience, both are very comparable in terms of acuity. The best by far though, is getting hugs from my residents at night when I tuck them in. Or the funny stories. You don't get that in acute care. And I would have no issue selling my skills to any NM. Bedside manner is just as important as all those "hard" nursing skills. Even more so, in my opinion. Skills can always be reviewed, too.

More than anything, I miss the hugs and skills are like riding a bicycle; once you've done it before you never forget; it just takes practice.

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joanna73 is a BSN, RN and specializes in geriatrics.

1 Article; 4,767 Posts; 43,736 Profile Views

One of the things that makes me smile is when the residents say, "Have a good sleep," as we are putting them to bed. Sweet, lol :)

They don't realize that the staff stay awake at night...

I think our seniors deserve all the respect, love and care we are able to give. They gave their whole lives, and many fought in wars to defend the freedoms we all take for granted. Instead, there are so many misconceptions about older adults. LTC is REAL experience, and it is a privilege to know them.

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Aleka has 3 years experience.

2 Posts; 575 Profile Views

I agree with the posts above too. I have been in LTC for over 2 years now. And anyone who says that LTC is not real nursing is full of BS! I have never busted my butt more in my life. Yea sure it isn't as fast paced as an ER, But trust me we get emergencies too. Falls, strokes, dementia, Alzheimer, MI, and try all that with 30+ residents. PE, Stat doses of meds because the patient is about to blow up. All this stuff is observed and monitors by us the nurses. Their are no Dr's in the building. I love LTC. At the end of the day we are the resident's family and closest friends!

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