With an ever-increasing older population, nursing homes are becoming the new norm for taking care of aging people. These care homes ensure their residents are getting good medical and personal care, as well as support.
A nursing home hires several professionals to maintain the quality of its health care services. Qualified nurses, especially geriatric nurses, are key staff members at a nursing care facility. This career choice can be very rewarding as you will be able to work closely with patients and get to know them on a personal level.
In this article, we will explore:
- Working in a nursing home
- Pros and cons
- Salaries of nursing home RNs
- Duties of nurses in nursing homes
- Skills and qualifications needed to work in a nursing home
Working in a nursing home
Nursing homes hire nurses with multiple levels of credentials depending upon the requirements of their residents. Like any other healthcare facility, registered nurses (RNs) are the most familiar faces of nursing care staff. RNs are usually assisted by licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in delivering health services to nursing home residents.
Some nursing homes also include nurse practitioners (NPs) in their medical staff. NPs have more expertise and are able to make diagnoses and prescribe medication.
Pros and cons
Like any other nursing job, working in a nursing care facility has benefits and drawbacks.
|Enhanced collaboration||Tough routine|
|Stable and secure job||Lower average salary|
|Variety of nursing assignments||Less competitive workspace as compared to a hospital|
|Improve pharmacology skills||Very concentrated specialty|
|Learn from the life experiences of your patients||Some older adults might be uncooperative|
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Salaries of nursing home RNs
Nursing homes offer a reasonable salary to nurses with more experience. The average hourly wage of nurses working in a nursing care facility increases as they advance to higher positions.
Duties of nurses in nursing homes
Responsibilities depend largely on the role in the facility. Some of the typical nursing duties in a nursing home include:
- Initiating treatment plans
- Checking medication routine
- Taking vital signs
- Giving injections
- Applying bandages and dressings
- Drawing blood
- Setting up IV insertion
A registered nurse is often given the role of Charge Nurse in an elderly care facility. They have to monitor residents and supervise junior staff simultaneously. They also remain in touch with the families of residents and keep them updated about the health condition of their loved ones.
LPNs and CNAs perform the nursing assignments given by the charge nurse. LPNs are often responsible for direct bedside care of residents while CNAs assist them. They take care of the patients’ diets and hygiene. These nurses also help patients with walking, moving out of bed, or getting into a more comfortable position. RNs may also be floor nurses as well that work beside care.
Skills needed to work in a nursing home
Nurses working in a nursing care facility carry out routine care for older adults. These facilities prefer RNs with geriatric nursing specialties. Apart from basic health care expertise, nurses working in nursing homes should possess various social skills and consider the sensitive nature of care in their job.
Here is a summary of five essential traits for nurses working in a nursing home:
1. Effective interpersonal communication
As a nursing home worker, you must be able to connect with your patients. You should focus on building trust and rapport with facility residents as well as their families.
Some older people may find it difficult to approach nursing home workers because of various communication barriers. These barriers could include impaired hearing, loss of sight, and cognitive impairments. You can overcome these issues by allowing extra time to listen, interpret, and speak during all interactions.
Effective interpersonal communication skills require observational ability. You can identify the problems of your patients such as pain, illness, or mood swings by keenly observing their body language.
2. Patience and compassion
Patience is the key to delivering high-quality care. Aging people may refuse to cooperate with nursing staff. They may not follow their medicine routine or skip meals from time to time. This is due to a variety of reasons such as frustration or cognitive impairments.
You can help such situations by having patience and compassion toward sensitive older adults. Greeting older people with empathy and warmth helps them in adapting to their new routine. In this way, residents can establish a trusting relationship with you.
3. Teamwork and collaboration
As a nursing home employee, you should try to work as a collaborative group to ensure high-quality care. Working with fellow nursing staff to deliver excellent health care is the crucial duty of a nurse.
You will also work closely with staff with other specialties, collaborating with various professionals. These include health care providers, PT/OT, psychiatrists, dietitians, music therapists, and social workers. You will join forces to maintain the physical and mental well-being and health of the residents.
4. Planning and execution
As an RN, you are in charge of implementing the health care plan of your residents. You ensure they are taking their medications properly and on time and providing them with their routine medical treatment. It is also your responsibility to make sure the current plan of each resident is in accordance with their medical requirements.
5. Problem-solving and decision-making
As a nurse working in a nursing care facility, you should have the ability to notice any abnormal change in the vital signs of a resident. You need to consult the charge nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician immediately whenever you notice a change.
You might have to make some bold clinical decisions to stabilize a critical patient. That is why nurses who have a geriatric nursing specialty and other basic skills related to older adult care are best suited for nursing home jobs. Some basic care specialties include acute care, basic life support, wound care, and advanced cardiac life support.
Conclusion: Should you start working in a nursing home?
In a nutshell, working as a geriatric care nurse is a relatively tough job. Older adults require special care, and you will need a lot of patience and stamina to work with them. Working in this type of facility can foster long-term relationships with both residents and staff. That said, you should keep the demanding nature of a nursing home job in mind before choosing to start working in a nursing care facility.
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- “Nursing Home Jobs: Work Environment, Skills and Benefits.” indeed.com. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
- “Staff Nurse – RN – Nursing Home Salary.” salary.com. Accessed March 2, 2022.
- “The Role of Nurses in a Nursing Home.” assistedliving.org. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.