Nursing Home v. Hospital?

Specialties Geriatric

Published

Hi there! I hope someone can answer this question. I am a brand new graduate nurse, just passed the boards. I had hoped to find a job working in a hospital but NO ONE around here is hiring, at least not graduate nurses. I started to interview in long-term facilities and actually received two offers, one from a nursing home and the other from an assisted living facility. This is my question. Although I believe I would enjoy working at either of these places, I wonder if career-wise it's a good decision. Is it okay to start in LTC? Will it be harder for me to get a hospital job later on down the road? Also can someone explain to me what exactly the difference is between a nursing home and an assisted living facility. Thank you so much!!

arelle68

270 Posts

Specializes in Mental and Behavioral Health.

Working at an LTC is more career-wise than not working at all as an RN. At least you'll be getting some kind of experience, and making some money. If the hospitals are not hiring, what are you going to do? You have to take what you can get in this economy. Later, maybe you can get what you want. Who knows? You could end up in love with LTC.

yulans

9 Posts

I took a position at LTC after I couldn't find a job in hospital setting as a new grad and I am loving it.

caliotter3

38,333 Posts

I got my first nursing job in LTC and I have to agree that it is better than sitting at home unemployed. It is strenous and you will learn a lot and it really will prepare you to work in a hospital, especially if you work in the subacute wing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It will only hinder you from getting a hospital job later on if you let an interviewer bamboozle you. I saw more than one nurse go from the LTC facility to a hospital job. Take the LTC position over the ALF position for better work experience. And from experience, you will fall in love with your residents and you won't want to leave them.

nurseneedaname

16 Posts

Specializes in dialysis.

any experience you can get is a plus to your nursing career. You will learn alot in nursing homes because you will be taking care of lots of patients like 10:1. Good luck!:yeah:

dekagirlsRN

135 Posts

Thanks for everyone's input. I definitely plan to choose one, rather than be unemployed. My guess is I will love it because I always enjoyed taking care of the elderly folks at clinicals.

So what's the difference between nursing home vs. assisted living? Nursing home is more acute?

RNgrrl09

48 Posts

There are a couple of differences between nursing homes and assisted living. The main difference is that a nursing home must follow state and federal guidelines because they are considered a medical facility. Assisted living is not. Most residents in assisted living are for the most part independent and need minimal assistance with ADL's. In nursing homes, this is not the case. You may have persons that need total care to persons that need minimal care. Nursing homes provide more medical care, while in assisted living they will go out for medical care unless there is some type of clinic associated with the assisted living facility or if the assisted living facility is associated with a nursing home. This is just what I remember from my geriatric unit from school. I too have passed my boards (in March, graduated December 2008 w/BSN) and will be starting in a LTC facility on a sub-acute unit. I hope this helps with your decision and wish you well as you start your new position.

dekagirlsRN

135 Posts

Thanks so much for the info. That's exactly what I was looking for. Still not sure which one I will accept. I plan on going to both facilities and meeting with the DON and getting all my questions answered.

Good luck in your new position!

MentalRn

34 Posts

I started out in LTC and have no regrets. In fact I chose it over a hospital position when first out of school. I loved my time spent in LTC. I now work in med/surg tele. I do not feel that I was lacking in skills when I left LTC. I spent 8 years there. You will learn great assessment skills, as you will see end stage disease at its finest. You will learn to do ten things at the same time. For me going to med/surg was a break of sorts, now I have 5-7 patients with very similar needs. You will see wound vacs, IV's, central lines, peg tubes, ng tubes, caths both suprapubic and foley, trachs, and the list goes on and of course the nurse in LTC draws there own labs even if you happen to have 12 of your 30 patients due for labs that morning. As you can see a nurse in a skilled nursing LTC stays plenty busy. I might even add that for some new graduates it is way to overwelming. So please don't for a minute think it is less of an experience. If you can keep up, it will be very rewarding and time well spent.

nyteshade, BSN

555 Posts

Specializes in Legal, Ortho, Rehab.
There are a couple of differences between nursing homes and assisted living. The main difference is that a nursing home must follow state and federal guidelines because they are considered a medical facility. Assisted living is not. Most residents in assisted living are for the most part independent and need minimal assistance with ADL's. In nursing homes, this is not the case. You may have persons that need total care to persons that need minimal care. Nursing homes provide more medical care, while in assisted living they will go out for medical care unless there is some type of clinic associated with the assisted living facility or if the assisted living facility is associated with a nursing home. This is just what I remember from my geriatric unit from school. I too have passed my boards (in March, graduated December 2008 w/BSN) and will be starting in a LTC facility on a sub-acute unit. I hope this helps with your decision and wish you well as you start your new position.

ALFs are not exempt from following state and federal guidelines...

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