Is working in a nursing home the right career move for you? If you’re a nurse, CNA, therapist, or other clinician looking for a healthcare job, it definitely could be! And if you’ve never thought about working in a nursing home or other long-term care (LTC) setting, here are a few great reasons to give it a try.
What’s it Like Working in a Nursing Home or Other LTC Facility?
What’s it like working in a nursing home or other LTC facility? That depends on which type you choose!
Types of Long-Term Care Facilities
- The most common type of LTC setting, nursing homes provide care to residents who live on-site (usually seniors). This includes helping with daily life — things like getting dressed, bathing, eating, and taking part in social activities. You’ll also need to deliver basic medical care, like taking daily vitals, helping with medication, and providing emergency treatments.
- In a skilled nursing facility (SNF), residents stay for a shorter period, but need more intensive medical care. Usually, SNFs provide care for people after they’ve been discharged from the hospital and before they go home. So, residents aren’t limited to seniors, but can also include anyone recovering from surgery, illness, or other serious medical conditions.
- Assisted living facilities provide a less intense level of care than SNFs or nursing homes. They serve as a social community for people who need some help in a safe setting, but who don’t need full-time attention. Residents may be able to prepare their own meals and plan their own social activities. Adult foster care or adult day care centers offer similar services.
- Life care communities and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) usually combine all of the services described above. These senior care facilities cover different tiers of care, ranging from people who need very little attention to constant supervision.
- Independent living communities focus more on social wellbeing for residents who usually don’t need as much medical care. Group homes, adult family homes, and residential care homes provide similar services. They all serve as communities for a smaller number of residents who need help with daily needs rather than constant, skilled medical care.
What Kind of Jobs Are Available in Nursing Homes or Long-Term Care?
Who works in these facilities? They all employ registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). And SNFs also offer jobs for other clinicians, like physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs) and speech-language pathologists (SLPs, or speech therapists), technologists, dietitians, social workers, cooks, and more.
Usually, RNs work as directors of nursing (DONs) or charge nurses who oversee other staff. Some states allow LPNs to fill this role, or to serve as assistant directors of nursing (ADONs). Most states require a certain amount of nurses and aides during the day, at night, or around the clock.
What’s It Take to Work in a Nursing Home?
Working in a nursing home or any LTC facility takes certain skills. You’ll need compassion, and the patience to help people who might not be able to take care of themselves. You’ll also need to communicate well with people who might have memory or mental health challenges. Because you’ll be looking after a number of residents at the same time, you’ll also need to be organized.
You’ll also need basic medical skills. You’ll be expected to follow treatment plans, provide medication, and help create diet plans. You should be ready to take vital signs, dress wounds, draw blood, and provide basic medical care. Nurses working in LTC settings should have advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification.
5 Benefits of Working in a Nursing Home or LTC Facility
If you have these skills — or if you’re willing to develop them — then you’ll find many benefits in these jobs. For instance:
#1: You’ll Be in Demand
Working in a nursing home means having your choice of jobs. As the number of seniors grow in the United States, the need for workers to care for them also grows. On top of that, many states are increasing the number of nurses and aides needed in nursing homes. All this adds up to plenty of career opportunities, many of which offer the chance to start immediately. It also means great job security.
#2: You Can Offer Hope to People in Need
Besides looking after their physical needs and safety, working in a nursing home gives you the chance to provide residents with important emotional support, too. These are people whose closest family members may no longer be available. And they’re also usually nearing the end of their own lives. So, the chance to build a relationship with them and put a smile on their face can be very fulfilling.
#3: You’ll Make Great Relationships
Besides the chance to bond with residents, nursing home jobs also let you work in a community that emphasizes teamwork and close relationships. And that can help you develop team skills, as well as make new friends — the type that could last the rest of your life.
#4: You Can Have Flexible Schedules & Lots of Variety
Nursing homes offer more flexible schedules than many other settings. You can usually choose whether to work days or nights, or full-time or part-time. And that means you can take more time to spend with your family, take classes, or even work other jobs.
And LTC jobs give you more variety than the hours you work. Because you’re helping care for an entire community, you’ll work with people of all types, in many ways. That includes helping people pick the most nutritious meals, keeping a close watch on those with cognitive issues, providing emergency care to those with chronic conditions, and much more.
#5: You Can Gain Great Skills & Experience
All this variety provides another benefit, too — it helps you develop important skills. And this doesn’t just help make you a more well-rounded nurse or clinician. Whether you’re a nurse, CNA or physical therapist, these skills can also help you land other jobs in the future.
Because nursing home jobs are in such high demand, they can provide a good starting point for new aides or nurses who eventually want to work jobs that might be a little harder to get. And because a lot of nurses move on to other settings, nurses may be able to move into leadership roles relatively quickly.
Seeking new nursing career opportunities? Learn more about nursing with CareerStaff
Start Working in a Nursing Home or LTC Facility with CareerStaff
If you’re looking to start working in a nursing home or other LTC setting, we’re here to help. With a great lineup of benefits plus openings across the country, CareerStaff is the best choice to find your next career opportunity.
Take a look at our available nursing home, skilled nursing, or long term care facility jobs nationwide. Or simply fill out a quick online application to connect with one of our amazing CareerStaff recruiters!