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January 10, 2016

Long Term Care. Why you should care about it.

By | Nursing | 10 Comments

I have heard all of the snotty remarks about the “Nursing Home Nurse” before.  It’s ok, we can take it.  I say WE because at one time, I did PRN in a LTC facility for about a year.  I can tell you that it is not all burritos and strippers, my friend.

Let’s bust the stereotypes together:

  • Long Term care nurses can’t make it in the hospital! LTC Nurses are extremely organized and compassionate people.  They love their elders, and they are passionate about patient safety.  Just because you can handle 8 patients on a med surg floor, don’t assume you can take care of 60 patients in a LTC facility.hands
  • Nobody would CHOOSE to work in a Nursing Home! Many people dream of working with elders in a LTC environment.  Not everyone has the ‘sexiness’ of the ER or ICU in mind.
  • LTC nurses can’t assess a patient.  A LTC nurse probably has as good or better assessment skills as a hospital nurse.  They have to be able to APD.  Assess per door or assess per dining room.  LTC Nurses must be able to catch symptoms early, and their patients are not on 24 hour telemetry. Is that increased confusion a UTI or is their baseline dementia getting worse? Ask a LTC nurse! She must take the time to know her patients at baseline. PF-nursing-home_1202162c
  • When was the last time you administered all meds, did all dressing changes, respiratory treatments and tube feedings on 40 people? Never? Ask a LTC Nurse.  The answer is probably ‘Yesterday’.
  • How many families have you spoken with today? Was one of them ‘that’ family? That family will be there for the next 6 years.  How will you improve your communications skills to deal with them for that long? Ask a LTC Nurse.  He is an EXPERT at this!

Why should you care, hospital nurse?

  • Because your Mother, Father, Favorite Aunt, Grandmother, and perhaps YOU are going there eventually.  
  • Because it is the right thing to do.  We warehouse our elderly in this country, in unsafe conditions, for years.  
  • New Graduate Nurses are going to this environment.  This is probably the worst idea on planet earth.  Often they go with no real orientation, no mentor, and no support.  We must help our new grads keep their licenses and not burn out.
  • CNA’s are treated as disposable, minimum wage employees.  Their spines are shot in 10 years from heavy lifting, and nobody is addressing this.  They rarely have enough people to safely lift a patient, and their lift equipment is often broken or does not exist, resulting in staff and patient injuries.  Seriously?
  • Health care employees in all environments deserve to have their licenses protected, the ability to do their jobs safely, and the reasonable assurance that their patients will not be hurt because of the staffing and equipment situation in the facility.


Let me know if you want to add anything.  Ask any admin on Show Me Your Stethoscope to invite you to SMYS for Change.






*** Thanks to Dawn Doccola for helping

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