A nursing care facility nurse manages care for residents with conditions that range from relatively minor injuries to advanced Alzheimer’s disease. They may develop a specialty, such as working with stroke patients, head trauma patients or those with memory disorders.
A nursing care facility nurse must first become a registered nurse and then specialize in this field. While there are several ways to become a licensed registered nurse, the most common is to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. While part of a nursing education must be in a clinical setting, many of the core courses are offered online or in the classroom.
It is possible to earn a nursing certificate through an accredited program offered at a hospital, but most registered nurses choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Earning a degree can give a nurse additional training in courses such as leadership skills, critical thinking and communication which can open up many more advancement possibilities.
After a nurse earns a degree, they must pass a national exam before becoming a registered nurse. A student who already holds a bachelor’s degree in another field can choose an accelerated nursing course which allows them to get a nursing degree in a much shorter time.
A nursing care facility nurse performs many tasks during an eight hour shift. Often, they are the only registered nurse in the facility at any one time, so tasks can change from day to day. Generally, a nursing care facility nurse is responsible for:
Because patients in a nursing care facility require 24 hour care, work hours may vary and some shifts may require a nurse to work overnight or on weekends. A nursing care facility nurse must be patient when dealing with those suffering from memory issues or brain trauma and must by physically strong to assist patients in their daily care. Most nursing care facility residents are elderly, but a small percentage may be chronically ill or critically injured younger people. About 5% of all nurses are employed in a nursing care facility.
According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, as of May 2006, the median salary of a nursing care facility nurse was $52,490. Because of an ageing population and an increase in admissions due to hospitals discharging patients earlier, the job prospects for this profession are good. Employment is expected to increase approximately 20% through 2016.