Long Term Care Nurse Career Overview | Nursejournal.org (2023)

how long will 2-4 years be
Employment prospects 9% growth from 2020-2030
average earning potential $75,330 (among ALL RNS) Source: BLS

Long-term care providers provide long-term care for patients with disabilities or chronic or progressive illnesses. These specialist nurses often work with the elderly and others who need help with daily living. A career in LTC nursing offers unparalleled advancement opportunities. As the US population ages and the need for primary care increases across all demographic groups, demand for long-term care nurses is expected to skyrocket over the next decade.

What does a long-term caregiver do?

DNA or BSN is required

optional certification

Although the required roles of long-term care nurses depend on the type of healthcare facility and the specific needs of the patient, these nurses spend much of their workday coordinating and evaluating patient care. They work with a full team of professionals including physicians, social workers, physical therapists and case managers to provide a comprehensive plan for delivering quality care to their patients.

nurses in long-term careCarrying out routine procedures such as B. Recording vital signs and administering medication, as well as providing specialized treatments for progressive and chronic diseases. These nurses also provide educational and emotional support to patients and families.

typical tasks

  • Develop, coordinate and implement comprehensive patient care plans with medical and clinical staff.
  • Administer medications, perform vital sign checks and medical procedures, and provide therapeutic treatments such as exercise and massage.
  • Operate medical devices, monitor and assess patient status, and capture patient information in medical records
  • Assist patients with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing.
  • Providing education, emotional support and guidance to patients, families and carers.

career characteristics

  • Ability to build long-term relationships with patients and caregivers.
  • Working patiently under stressful conditions.
  • Strong observation and evaluation skills.

Long Term Care Nurse Career Overview | Nursejournal.org (4)

Credit: sturti/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Where do long-term caregivers work?

Long-term care workers find extensive employment opportunities in a variety of work environments. While they are most commonly employed in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living, these nurses may also work in rehabilitation centers, hospices and home health care facilities. The facilities listed below that care for the elderly, patients with disabilities, and those with chronic or terminal illnesses are among the top employers for long-term care workers.

Facilities for assisted living

Residents of assisted living facilities live in a homely environment, often in small, fully equipped apartments. They may not need 24-hour care, but they do need help with daily activities, housework, and medical care. Caregivers in these facilities perform a variety of duties, such as: B. Bathing, dressing and administering medication to help residents maintain a degree of independence.


Qualified care facilities offer 24-hour care for people who are no longer independent or who can be cared for at home. Nursing home residents who are elderly or who have chronic and complex medical needs require a high level of care from LTC. Nurses at these locations administer medications, assist with hygiene and daily activities, and monitor and assess patients' conditions in collaboration with other staff medical professionals.

Memory, Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Centers

These facilities only accept patients with cognitive and memory impairments due to senility, Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. Nurses in long-term care often earn specialized certifications in these settings to provide behavioral support and conduct therapies to stimulate cognitive function. An important aspect of their job is ensuring the safety of residents who may be prone to wandering, mobility issues, or outbursts of aggression or anger.

Selected MSN programs online

Why become a long-term caregiver

LTC Nursing offers significant personal and professional rewards, including competitive compensation and job security. However, nurses entering this field also face unique challenges stemming from stressful working conditions and the types of patient groups they serve.

Your benefits as a long-term care nurse

  • Expansion of career prospects and professional development.

  • Opportunity to build long-term relationships with patients and their families.

  • Acquiring specialized skills to deliver treatments and therapies to specific patient populations, e.g. B. Elderly people with chronic diseases, Alzheimer's patients

Disadvantages of becoming a long term care nurse

  • Pressure to maintain and update knowledge about drugs and other specialty treatments.

  • Insufficient support for dealing with patients with complex diseases due to staff shortages and high caseload.

  • Occupational stress from working with terminally ill patients and their families, leading to mental health problems and high levels of burnout

This is how you become a long-term caregiver

Long-term caregivers must be licensed asRegistered Nursesbefore they can go to the field. While specific requirements vary from state to state, all registered nurses follow a similar educational path leading to an RN license.

Long Term Care Nurse Career Overview | Nursejournal.org (5)

Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

Long-term care nurses, like all registered nurses, are required to earn at least an ADN degree, while many employers prefer to hireBSN holder. Nursing school requirements often include anatomy, physiology, biology, and psychology.

Long Term Care Nurse Career Overview | Nursejournal.org (6)

Pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain the RN license

Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is the final step before earning a nursing license. State regulatory agencies use the NCLEX to determine if candidates qualify for a nursing license.

Long Term Care Nurse Career Overview | Nursejournal.org (7)

Gain experience in long-term care or gerontology.

Completing clinical hours or working in a nursing home or assisted living facility with elderly or chronically ill patients provides valuable hands-on experience for LTC nursing.

Long Term Care Nurse Career Overview | Nursejournal.org (8)

Consider getting a specialty certification

Although there are no specific certifications for LTC nursing, nurses can enhance their career prospects by earning certifications in specialized areas such as gerontology, pain management, wound care, and chronic disease management.

Learn more about becoming a long-term care nurse

How Much Do Long Term Caregivers Earn?

As the US population ages and the need for long-term care increases, nurses entering this field will find ample employment opportunities and a bright future.Salary Perspective. While the USDepartment of Labor StatisticsProjecting a 9% increase in overall nurse employment from 2020 to 2030, they also expect above-average employment growth in centers serving the elderly, long-term rehabilitation centers specializing in stroke and head injuries, and centers treating patients with Alzheimer's disease.

According to the salary tableAs of November 2021, RNs with long-term care skills earn a median annual salary of $63,120. LTC nurses looking to further their careers should consider earning aMasters in Nursing(MSN) to become a nurse. A nationwide survey byAmerican Association of Nurse Practitionersreports that NPs working in long-term care facilities earn an average annual base salary of $110,000. NPs in gerontology, acute care gerontology, and primary care gerontology earn salaries well in excess of $100,000 per year.

Salary Guide for Long Term Caregivers

Frequently Asked Questions About Long Term Care Nurses

What is the difference between long-term care and hospice care?

LTC Care Centers provide specialized treatment plans and housing for patients with chronic conditions who may live for several years. Hospice facilities care for terminally ill patients at the end of their lives. Palliative care is generally available for patients who have been diagnosed with a life expectancy of six months or less and have exhausted treatment options.

What conditions do long-term caregivers treat?

Long-term care nurses treat a wide variety of patients, including those with complex medical needs as well as those who require a moderate level of support in daily living. They provide heart and stroke care and work with patients recovering from injury or surgery. Many long-term care professionals specialize in cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's and dementia, or work exclusively with patients with physical or mental disabilities.

What skills are important to be successful as a nurse?

In addition to maintaining their nursing skills through continuing education and professional development opportunities, the best long-term care nurses possess strong leadership and organizational skills, as well as the ability to apply critical and analytical thinking skills in stressful clinical situations. Because of the collaborative nature of LTC care, these RNs must develop good communication and team building skills.

What opportunities for advancement are there for nurses?

The fast-growing long-term care market has opened up many opportunities for professional advancement for nurses with specialty certifications and advanced degrees. Employers are looking for nurses who hold coveted certifications in areas such as gerontology and pain management. In addition to clinical positions, long-term caregivers can also expect to perform administrative duties in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

related pages

Page last revised on December 6, 2021


What is the job description for LTC nurse? ›

Long-term care nurses perform routine procedures such as recording vital signs and administering medications while also providing specialized treatments for progressive and chronic conditions. These nurses also provide educational and emotional assistance to patients and family members.

What are the job duties of LTAC? ›

As a long-term acute care registered nurse, you provide care to patients with chronic conditions and prolonged or incurable illnesses. Your duties include providing patient care and assisting physicians and other medical professionals with treatment and illness management.

How much does a long-term care nurse get paid? ›

Fast Facts About Long-Term Care Nurses

As of March 2022, the average annual salary for an RN with long-term care skills is $64,370, or $29.96 per hour. The 65+ population has almost a 70% chance of needing LTC.

What is a day in the life of a long-term care nurse? ›

Patients in long-term care facilities require assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And this includes holidays and weekends. Therefore, most long-term care nurses don't have a nine-to-five job. Many facilities offer weekly schedules with five 8-hour shifts, three 12-hour shifts or a mix of the two.

What are the 7 nursing roles? ›

Role of Nurses in Healthcare: Basic Duties

Medication and treatment administration. Client education. Case management. Recording medical information.

What is long term job description? ›

A long-term employee is someone who works with a company over an extended period of time. The length of employment that constitutes long-term employment varies depending on the type of job, often ranging from five to 10 years with a company.

What is the difference between LTC and LTAC? ›

Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH) versus Long Term Care (LTC) LTACHs provide care for patients with multiple serious medical conditions requiring a longer stay than encouraged in traditional hospitals. LTACHs help to facilitate prompt discharge of clinically complex patients.

What is the difference between a SNF and LTAC? ›

Typically a SNF will offer a more residential experience, whereas an LTACH will focus on more rigorous clinical care and observation.

What is the nurse to patient ratio in an LTAC? ›

LTACH patient ratios are usually 1:5 or 1:6. This means that each RN is responsible for no more than six patients during their 12-hour shift.

What kind of nurse makes 100k a year? ›

Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP)

According to Salary.com, the average salary* of a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner is about $100,000 per year or about $48 per hour.

What is the highest paid nursing field? ›

Highest Paid Nursing Jobs:
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $202,000.
  • Nursing Administrator – $120,000.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse – $120,000.
  • General Nurse Practitioner – $118,000.
  • Critical Care Nurse – $118,000.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife – $114,000.
  • Informatics Nurse – $102,000.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – $95,000.
Dec 5, 2022

Who pays the most for long-term care? ›

Medicaid: Does pay for the largest share of long-term care services, but to qualify, your income must be below a certain level and you must meet minimum state eligibility requirements.

What are the 3 C's of long-term care? ›

Perspective: Consistency, Continuity, and Coordination—The 3Cs of Seamless Patient Care
  • Relationship Among Guidelines, Protocols, and Pathways. ...
  • Goals of Care: 3Cs.

What are the four types of long-term care? ›

It can include skilled nursing care, speech, physical or occupational therapy or home health aide services.

What are the five pillars of nursing? ›

Caring is best demonstrated by a nurse's ability to embody the five core values of professional nursing. Core nursing values essential to baccalaureate education include human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism, and social justice.

What are the 4 core measures nursing? ›

These measures specify best clinical practice in four areas: Heart Failure, Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI, i.e. Heart Attack), Pneumonia, and Surgical Site Infection prevention. Health organizations' performance on the Core Measures is assessed by examining documentation in patients' medical records.

What are long term career goals? ›

A long-term career goal is a milestone that someone spends years or even decades working toward. An example of a long-term goal within the professional world may include moving up to a managerial role, breaking into a new industry or earning a higher salary.

What are long term career goals answer? ›

Sample Answer

In the long term, I want to focus on understanding the industry as a whole so that I can advance to a management level position. My ultimate goal is to work closely with the company's clientele and oversee major projects. Feel free to be honest, but be sure to remain as positive as possible.

What are your long term career plans examples? ›

Career long-term goals examples
  • Get promoted to a senior position at work.
  • Pivot your career into a field you're passionate about.
  • Develop your own career plan.
  • Become a thought leader in your industry.
  • Master a job-specific skill.
  • Determine your dream job and start working towards it.
  • Build out your professional network.

Who is the best candidate for long-term care? ›

If you're in-between, you might be a good candidate for long-term care insurance if you're in good health, can afford the costs (including possible premium increases), don't want to use most or all of your assets and income to pay for long-term care, and don't want to burden family or friends.

What is the average length of stay at LTAC? ›

People who move to long-term acute care hospitals spend an average of more than 25 days. How long you stay will be based on how well you are doing and how much progress you make during your stay. Your case manager at the LTAC hospital will let you know when you are ready to leave.

What happens when you run out of Medicare days? ›

Medicare pays all but the daily coinsurance. For days beyond 100: You pay the full cost for services. Medicare pays nothing. You must also pay all additional charges not covered by Medicare (like phone charges and laundry fees).

What are the 5 levels of medical care? ›

Health care is described as different levels of care: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary. Primary care is the main doctor that treats your health, usually a general practitioner or internist.

Why do patients go to Ltach? ›

The types of patients typically seen in LTACHs include those requiring: Prolonged ventilator use or weaning. Ongoing dialysis for chronic renal failure. Intensive respiratory care.

What is the difference between SNF and SAR? ›

SAR (subacute rehab) and SNF (skilled nursing facility) refer to the same disposition option and are often used interchangeably.

How many patients is too many for a nurse? ›

Generally, the nurse-to-patient ratio recommendation is one nurse to every four patients. According to a National Nurses United report, there are currently no federal mandates that regulate the number of patients registered nurses (RNs) can care for simultaneously.

How many patients should 1 nurse have? ›

Their standard is one nurse for every five patients on average in medical-surgical units.

What state has the best nurse-to-patient ratio? ›

California has the highest recorded range of ratios, with as many as six patients to one nurse for psychiatric care. To put this in perspective, New York's average nurse-to-patient ratio for psychiatric care is around 3:6. Massachusetts has recently passed laws that mimic the California model.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a home care nurse? ›

Assesses patient needs and develops plan of care with physician. Coordinates and oversees care plan with patient, family, and support staff—LVNs and nurse assistants. Monitors and evaluates patient response to treatment, medication, and healing or mobilization progress. Oversees case management.

What skills do you need to be an operating room nurse? ›

A good operating room nurse should have the same skills and traits as other RNs.
Certain skills are even more important than others in this environment, including the following five skills.
  • Ability to Work as a Team. ...
  • Excellent Communication Skills. ...
  • Highly Organized. ...
  • Attention to Detail. ...
  • Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking.

What is the role of the long-term care home assistant? ›

Care workers will work one to one to support our clients in; attending court, academic/day programming, home visits, and in the home with day to day functions.

What is the difference between LTC and SNF? ›

As discussed earlier, Skilled Nursing Facilities provide more complex medical care and rehabilitation while Long Term Care Facilities offer more permanent support for day-to-day needs. In some instances, both types of institutions are combined to provide the most comprehensive level of care.

What are the two major skills needed for a nurse working in the home care setting? ›

Top-notch clinical skills are necessary for every nurse, and home health care nurses are no exception. In order to meet the varied needs of their patients, home health care nurse should be able to deliver skilled services like the following: Assessment and skilled observation. Wound care and dressing changes.

What qualities do you need to work in a nursing home? ›

Skills for nursing home jobs
  • Interpersonal skills. Nursing home workers use strong interpersonal skills to build rapport and establish trust with residents and their families. ...
  • Verbal communication skills. ...
  • Observational skills. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Compassion.
Mar 29, 2021

Who is the most important person in the operating room? ›

The surgeon is your primary doctor and considered the leader in the operating room. It is the responsibility of the surgeon to ensure the operation goes smoothly, with minimal complications.

What is the average age of an operating room nurse? ›

43 years old

What are 5 skills you need to be a nurse? ›

The Five Essential Skills for Nurses
  • Leadership Skills. Nurses looking to take on higher-level roles need to develop effective leadership skills. ...
  • Communication Skills. Communication is critical in nursing environments. ...
  • Problem-Solving Skills. ...
  • Analytical Skills. ...
  • Teamwork Skills.

What are the three basic levels of long-term care? ›

Care usually is provided in one of three main stages: independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. Nursing homes offer care to people who cannot be cared for at home or in the community. They provide skilled nursing care, rehabilitation services, meals, activities, help with daily living, and supervision.


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