Student with questions


I'm a student nurse at a community college down by Wichita, KS. I completed my first semester (successfully with an A), and my first semester clinicals were in a nursing home. Although everyone in my clinical group hated where they were at, I loved it! I also had a WONDERFUL clinical instructor who constantly challenged me, which made my learning that much better!

What bothers me is that students in my class wrinkle their noses when any discussion comes up at all about LTC. I try to explain to them that if they have a problem with elderly, then nursing isn't where they need to be. The aging babyboomers -- regardless if they are in clinics, hospitals, or nursing homes -- will still need to be taken care. Why do most students and hospital nurses feel this way about LTC? Why are LTC nurses labeled as not being "real nurses?" These comments get me started on my little soap box and make me mad! :(

Now with that said, I really want to go into geriatrics after I graduate. I plan on sitting for my NCLEX-PN this summer and I plan on working part-time as an LPN while I finish up my last two semesters. Will the experience I get working as an LPN help me transition smoothly into an RN position as a new grad? What about travel LTC assignments? Is this something a new grad should do?

Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I plan on moving to the Kansas City, MO area after I complete school to be closer to my mom, so if anyone knows of some good places to work, let me know. :kiss




105 Posts

I feel the same way. I just finished my first semester and i love LTC. I just feel really comfortable there. Don't let anyone tell you that LTC nurses aren't real nurses. They may change their mind when you are taking care of their loved one.;) Stick with what you love, and don't give that up.


94 Posts

This is just my personal opinion...

Long Term Care may be one of the hardest most challenging fields you can go into in nursing.

Its akin to home care in that the support personel that are available in the hospital are not in this setting. Usually you have to be able to have exceptional assessment and communication skills, because you will have to be the eyes and ears of the physcian when your resident is ill.

There often is not a machine or person to double check your findings with. Often it may just be you a stethescope and a blood pressure cuff to determine that your gut is telling you the truth (i.e. Something is wrong) With staffing issues you may not have anyone but your supervisor to double check and if they have to double check everyone all of the time they can't do their job, so you have to be able to tell them exactly what you found.

Any amount of experiance that you can get will help you in your roll as an RN. I would recommend some of that time to be in the hospital too.

Good luck and welcome to nursing.

jschut, BSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

I am a LPN who has worked in LTC for over a year as a nurse, and over 20 years as a CNA.

It does get pretty bad sometimes, but the feeling you get when you know you and you alone have calmed a residents fears, is totally priceless.

They depend on you. They are generous with their hugs and holding hands and telling stories.

I love my elderly folks!:kiss

Now, you will need some excellent "intuition" when it comes to watching for changes. You will need to know what is "normal" for that resident, what isn't....what med was recently changed that could possibly be making them act that way? Or breathe that way? Listen to lung sounds. When was their last BM? Feel the abdomen. Hard? Soft? Rumbling bowel sounds?

I can usually ask the CNA's (although some of them are a waste of my time and the residents time...I wouldn't believe them if they said the sky was blue.)

Yes, being a LTC nurse will help in some aspects of moving toward RN, but only you can develop your skills needed for that.

And as far as traveling, no. Work somewhere and get settled in first, then maybe you can travel a bit. Most places don't hire you until you have worked as a nurse for a year at least. (Traveling, that is...)

Good luck and welcome to the rewarding career of LT nursing! :)


74 Posts

Thank you everyone for your advice and comments. I really appreciate it! :kiss



17 Posts

I've been interested in traveling LTC for a long time but have been unable to find any jobs. I would love to know about some if there are any.

MaryEtta in Ky

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