Long Term Care Nurse Career Guide

Overview and Job Duties

People who are disabled, injured, or otherwise cannot properly care for themselves need extensive, specialized, long-term care. The professionals who provide this service in both a medical and non-medical capacity are known as long-term care nurses. Essentially, a long-term care nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who has at least 2000 hours of practical experience care giving. For those who are dedicated to helping others and genuinely care about the people around them, a career in this field might be the best possible choice. To get started, read through this career guide for the skills, training, and other requirements necessary to successfully complete and apply a degree in the nursing field.

Long-term care nurses assist patients who are not fit to care for themselves adequately and are unable to visit a hospital for care, typically due to a disability or recovery from recent surgery or illness.These nurses help alleviate patient worries and ease the burden of recovery by performing a variety of tasks for their patients, while simultaneously helping the individual in need retain and further develop their confidence and independence.

These professionals are responsible for recording patients’ symptoms and maintaining an up-to-date medical history,providing medication and carrying out any necessary treatments, and reporting to doctors about the state of the patient. The doctor will then determine if any tests, examinations, or other procedures are necessary. In essence, the long-term care nurse must play several roles and act as a general practitioner, manager, executive, and educator.

There are several different specialties available in the field, such as addiction, cardiovascular, genetic, neonatology, rehabilitation, and licensed practical nurses.

Job Outlook

Because practically every hospital and healthcare center needs long-term care nurses, these professionals should have little trouble finding work. The home healthcare industry has expanded rapidly over the past several years and will continue to increase as America’s population ages, leading to a greater need for trained nurses working in patients’ homes, extended care facilities, nursing homes, and retirement communities. In May 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 2,724,570 registered professionals in this field, with the highest number of them employed in surgical and medical hospitals.


According to salary.com, these vocational nurses on average earn around $59,049 per year.

Education Requirements

The first step to become a specialist of this area is to acquire a two-year associate’s degree in nursing or a four-year Bachelor of Science degree. In either case, both programs will require coursework in anatomy, biology, physiology, medical terminology, and various health and medical topics. Some students may choose to specialize in a certain area, such as gerontology.Regardless of which degree program is chosen, all students must undergo training in clinical environments to gain practical knowledge and experience for employment following graduation. Before beginning work, students must become licensed before beginning work, which they can achieve through passing the National Council Licensing Examination.

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