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New Grad not sure about LTC

Shayrey Shayrey (New) New

I'm a new grad and was just offered a position at a LTC-alzheimers/dementia floor. At first the DON said it would be on the subacute floor but all of a sudden that job got taken and the other position got thrown on the table. I have no experience in the healthcare industry and am very concerned about working with these types of patients. Can anyone tell me what to expect as far as responsibilities. The DON did not tell me much about this position because when I interviewed with her it was for the subacute unit. I need help deciding whether or not to take this position. Thank you any input would be greatly appreciated.

LoveMyBugs, BSN, CNA, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I like the LTC side of my SNF, vs the skilled side, the patientd generally are more stable and have less med then the sub acute side.

I am a grad from last year 2010 and it took me 8 months to find a job in a SNF so if you have a job offer, my advice would be to take it and learn as much as you can and keep looking for your dream job

bubblymom373

Specializes in LTC.

My guess would be the job would mostly be passing medications, supervising aides and monitoring behaviors. My thought would be to call the DON and ask what would be involved with the job. Tell her you need more info before making a decision.

taalyn_1, CNA

Specializes in CNA.

Pass Meds, document behaviors, supervise the aides, help with meals (depending on the shift). The alzheimer/dementia wing at my facility is a lot of fun. They are so cute and some of the things they come up with in conversation are so funny!! But they do require a lot of attention, so its not a cush job by any means.

Usually the dementia/alz wing has ambulatory pts, who arent all that sick so they basically just need supervision. Be prepared for lots of wandering, pts up off and on at all hours of the night, "room shoppers", fall risks and finally, be prepared to give lots of love and attention to your pts. Its a very rewarding specialty IMO. Good luck with your new job, I hope you gain a ton of knowledge and experience!!!

Shayrey-

I'm with taalyn, I think that's pretty much what to expect! On the other hand, you have: #1 - a job offer! #2 - since they have a subacute floor, that means you can always move into it!

Also, this is a great chance as a new grad, to familiarize yourself with meds/procedures/SE and AR...believe me, you have no idea what it is really like until you start working it! Think of this as an opportunity to settle in comfortably. And don't forget to constantly remind them that you want the sub-acute! You could pick up for call offs, non-covered shifts, etc...You can also talk to the nurses who work that floor; let them know you are interested and want experience...Maybe they could give you a yell if they have a procedure you could do (and you have the time/opportunity to leave your floor to do it?)

I love to see a new grad so "gung-ho" and wanting to utilize all she is capable of! LTC is actually a great environment to do this as you have opportunity and it's nice to have so many other nurses (not to mention the supervisors) there to ask questions, learn and have your back!

4hams

Specializes in Med/Surg/Renal.

I would say if you really need to take then by all means do so. However, if your heart is set in an acute care setting then go for that. I think Hospital experience is a must for new grads, I know I'm glad I chose it. I worked as an STNA at LTC before I graduated and thought of that root also, but wanted the chance to learn more skills and advance my critical thinking skills. I've never regreted it. Good luck!

Not sure what area you are located in but in many parts of the country, finding any nursing job is difficult. And in my experience, finding a job when you are employed is much easier than trying to get one under the pressure of being unemployed. So from a purely pragmatic, self-interested perspective, you may want to consider taking the job and continuing to look around for your dream opportunity.

If this seems selfish, that's because it is. However, employers long ago jettisoned even a modicum of concern for employees and now treat workers as commondities to be manipulated soley to maintain the bottom line. Since companies now act purely in their own self-interest, in my view employees should feel free to return the favor.

lizbarnes

Specializes in LTC. Has 13 years experience.

I have been in long term care for 13 years and I LOVE my residents. I love working with the elderly. They have so much that they can teach you about life, love and death. Their actions and the things they come up with are sometimes so funny that you have to walk away or laugh with them. I learned alot about drugs, the side effects and the generic/brand names of the drugs because it seems like a constant med pass with paper work in between.

I find LTC care rewarding in some senses because some of the elderly or residents don't have family that come and visit them, so I feel like I am their family. I'm there for them.

In LTC, the patients or residents are always there, you get to know the people you are caring for as to in a hospital setting, you see patients come and go all the time.

I don't really use my nursing skills as a LTC nurse. Yes, every once in a while, I change a catheter or I do an IV but I have to think about what I am doing before I do it because I don't use my skills very often.

In my opinion, I believe all new grads need to expand their horizons and get a job in a hospital setting and use the skills they have learned and learn from all the experiences in a hospital. The real world compared to nursing books are so different. I tell all nursing students to go work in a hospital and get some experience before wprking at a nursing home. Also, I have found that it is so hard finding a job outside of LTC because LTC is all I know.

Again, I love LTC but I would think hard about taking a position that you aren't really sure about.

I appreciate all the advice! After much thought I decided to accept the position! I very excited and nervous at the same time!

debi49

Specializes in psych,maternity, ltc, clinic. Has 15 years experience.

CONGRATS!!! Ive worked on and off with Dementia/Alzheimers patients and its alot of fun. If its a well run LTC with good staff, it will be a great experience...if not, it wouldnt be any better on the sub acute...

You've found a job, and in this economy that is something to celebrate. You;ll develop lots of transferable skills, and you just may find this is your niche. If not, something else will be.

LTC gives the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of patients and their families :)

alphabetsoup

Specializes in LTC,med-surg,detox,cardiology,wound/ost.

I started in LTC and I learned a lot. Much of it carried over to acute care (chronic disease management) so it was all good anyway. Since I passed so many medications, I learned a lot about pharmacy too.

I worked with residents who were in a 12 bed locked unit every other month. What you should know is that 1) those residents have good days and bad days and 2) their families need support too. You learn a lot of behavioral management and this is useful in the acute care setting as well. My advice is to read up on it and determine if this is a population you want to work with.

I will never regret that time that I spent with those residents and their families. They made me a better nurse and a better human being. Good luck!

cherubhipster

Specializes in psych, ltc, case management. Has 3 years experience.

I was in the same position last august. Now I've been working inltc and as a nurse for 9 months. It's been a good experience, and I've been grateful for the work when it's so hard to find a job. I've learned the most about time management, and facility politics. You can do the job, just keep in mind for yourself it's a learning experience and a stepping stone for bigger and better things.

Thanks for your advice and encouragement.

cherubhipster

Specializes in psych, ltc, case management. Has 3 years experience.

Shayray, I reread your post again and I thought I should add that I also got hired to a locked alzheimers/dementia unit.

As far as specific responsibilities, your number one job will be to give out medication. You'll also be doing treatments (like dressing changes), chartig and documentation. Wig those kinds of residents you'll be monitoring behavior a lot to make it easier for the psychiatrist to accurately adjust their psych meds. You'll be trying to preven falls a lot... Mostly cause a resident has to go to the bathroom and All the cnas are busy with other patients, And mr or mrs so and so doesn't understand they have to wait because they have dementia. You'll spend a lot of time after med pass putting out small fires. The residents aren't acutely I'll with major diseases, but one has a cough And you have to get the order for robitussin, another one has a podiatry Appointment and needs arrangements to go out of the facility, or this one has a bruise and nobody knows where it come from so you hAve to facilitAte writing and collecting documentAtion from everyone.

I work the day shift, so if your on another shift there is variation, but this is generally what the day is like.

I hope this helps! If you have more questions you can pm me and ill help the best I can. :)

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