How to Become a Long Term Care Nurse

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How to Become a Long Term Care Nurse: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a long term care nurse, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a long-term care nurse:

 

• You have a comprehensive understanding of nursing care for older patients

• You are able to promptly and accurately assess rapidly changing health conditions

• You are able to accurately operate medical equipment

• You are able to deal with residents and their relatives in a manner that demonstrates tact, empathy and patience

• You have the will to enrich the lives of residents through caring and compassion, as well as have them enrich your life

 

Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a long term care nurse. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Long Term Care Nurse

Nursing is a regulated profession in both Canada and the United States. The educational requirements for becoming licensed as a nurse depend primarily on whether the nurse wants to become a Registered Nurse (more responsibility – focuses more on the development of care giving plans) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (less responsibility – focuses more on the execution of care giving plans).

 

Education Needed to Become a Registered Nurse (RN)

Canada: In Canada, you must earn a Bachelor of Nursing degree in order to qualify for becoming a Registered Nurse.

 

United States: In the United States, you can qualify for becoming a Registered Nurse by earning a Nursing Diploma, an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).


 

Education Needed to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Canada: To become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada (or Registered Practical Nurse - RPN in Ontario), you must be a graduate of an approved practical nursing education program, which is typically 2 years in duration, and includes a combination of classroom and laboratory instruction, and clinical experience in various health care settings.

 

United States: To become a Licensed Practical Nurse in the United States, you must complete an LPN training program, which may be offered at a technical school, vocational school or community college. These programs are typically 1-2 years in duration. 

 

 

 

Long Term Care Nurse Job Description

Long term care nurses provide specialized nursing care in residences where the elderly and people with physical and mental disabilities live, such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, rest homes, skilled nursing facilities and convalescent homes.

 

Although their primary focus is on providing healthcare services, long term care nurses are also responsible for assisting patients with day-to-day tasks such as getting dressed and bathing.

 

Long term care nurses may have different levels of responsibility, based on their qualifications. For example, long term care nurses that are Registered Nurses (RN’s) are responsible for the overall coordination and direction of nursing care. They are accountable for the development, implementation and ongoing evaluation of the healthcare plan to achieve desired patient/resident outcomes.

 

Long term care nurses that are Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’s) are concerned with the execution of the healthcare plan, rather than its planning. They have the limited responsibility of assisting in the delivery of nursing care under the direction of a Registered Nurse.

 

 

Long Term Care Nurse Job Duties

The specific job duties of a long term care nurse can vary depending on their level of responsibility, although in general they are responsible for:

 

• Providing direct nursing care to residents of long term care facilities

• Planning and/or executing the physical, psychological and social care of the residents

• Ensuring medication is dispensed on time and properly

• Overseeing the work of nurse’s aides

• Ensuring the provision of a high standard of resident/patient care at all times

• Ensuring patients are being treated in a caring and compassionate manner

• Liaising with therapists to provide proper care

• Promoting maximum personal and functional independence

• Directing and assisting Care Aides in the use of appropriate procedures

• Assisting the physician with examinations, diagnostic tests and therapeutic measures

• Evaluating the effectiveness of nursing care treatments

• Monitoring for significant changes in the condition of any resident

• Recommending and implementing changes to care plan as necessary

• Maintaining accurate records of residents' condition and health care requirements

• Participating in meal service to ensure that all residents receive adequate nourishment

• Responding appropriately to emergencies

 

 

Who Creates Jobs for Long Term Care Facility Nurses?

The following types of organizations hire long Term Care Nurses on a part-time, casual, full-time or contractual basis:

 

• Publicly funded and private nursing homes

• Hospitals and other healthcare facilities

• Assisted living communities

• Home health care agencies (non-profit, not-for-profit and for-profit)

 

 

Find Long Term Care Facility Nurse Job Opportunities

Long Term Care Facility Nurse Jobs - Canada

 

Long Term Care Facility Nurse Jobs - United States

 


 

 

 

Certification Needed to Become a Long Term Care Nurse

 

Canada: Long Term Care Nurse Licensing

 

In all Canadian provinces and territories (except Québec) Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses must be licensed by their provincial/territorial regulating body. To become licensed as a Registered Nurse in Canada, you must graduate from an approved Bachelor of Nursing program and pass the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE).*

 

To become licensed as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada, you must graduate from an approved Practical Nurse Education training program and pass the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination (CPNRE).

 

*Starting in 2015, provincial and territorial regulatory bodies (except Québec) will introduce a new RN entry-to-practice exam for Registered Nurses, called the NCLEX-RN.

 

 

United States: Long Term Care Nurse Licensing

 

In all of the American states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses must have a nursing license.

 

To become a licensed nurse, you must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN for Registered Nurses and NCLEX-PN for Licensed Practical Nurses). Other licensing requirements vary by state.

 

 

Additional Qualifications for Becoming a Long Term Care Nurse

In addition to being licensed as an RN or an LPN, some employers may require that you have the following additional qualifications if you want to work with them as a long term care nurse:

 

• A valid driver’s license

• No criminal record

• Current first aid and CPR certification

• Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) certification

• Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification 

 

 

Skills Needed to Become a Long Term Care Nurse

In order to become effective in a career as a long term care nurse, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:

 

• Knowledge of wound and catheter care

• Able to care for patients using ventilators or central lines

• Must possess the qualities and skills to act as a role model and leader to Care Aides and other staff

• Fitness level suitable for performing duties that require standing, bending and lifting residents

• Able to accurately operate medical equipment

• Able to promptly and accurately assess rapidly changing health conditions

 

 

Characteristics Needed to Become a Long Term Care Nurse

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a long term care nurse, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as a long term care nurse is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.

 

• Able to maintain cooperation with all levels of personnel

• Able to deal with residents and their relatives in a manner that demonstrates tact, empathy and patience

• Willing and able to form relationships with your patients and their families  

• A will to enrich the lives of residents through caring and compassion, as well as have them enrich your life

• The temperament necessary to maintain a caring manner while demonstrating a therapeutic approach to the delivery of care

 

 

Long Term Care Nurse Jobs

Our job board below has "Long Term Care Nurse" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Long Term Care Nurse Salary

The salary level of long term care nurses can vary, depending on the following factors:

 

• Their level of education

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• Their level of responsibility

• The size and type of their employer

• The region in which they work

 

Long Term Care Nurse Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Registered Nurses occupational group earn an average salary of $63,922 per year, and those working in the Licensed Practical Nurses occupational group earn an average salary of $45,170 per year.

 

Long Term Care Nurse Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary of Canadian workers in the Licensed Practical Nurses occupational group earn an average salary of $35,538 per year, and those working in the Registered Nurses occupational group earn an average salary of $51,038 per year.

 

Long Term Care Nurse Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of American workers in the Nurse Practitioners occupational group is $95,070 per year, and those working in the Registered Nurses occupational group earn a mean annual wage of $68,910.

 

 

Careers Similar to Long Term Care Nurse

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Long Term Care Nurse, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Developmental Care Worker

Geriatric Care Manager

Gerontologist

Hospice Coordinator

Registered Nurse

 

 

References: Long Term Care Nurse Career Information

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a long term care nurse.

 

Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca

Canadian Nurses Association website: www.cna-aiic.ca

Johnson & Johnson - Discover Nursing website: www.discovernursing.com

Lippincott’s Nursing Center website: www.nursingcenter.com

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Long Term Care Nurse

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Long Term Care Nurse can be found on our Nursing Scholarships page.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Becoming a Long Term Care Nurse: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a long term care nurse. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 

Nursing  

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