Stepping Away From the Acute Care Hospital

by Howard Gerber on March 6, 2014

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sub-acute-facilities-jobsWorking in an acute care hospital or medical center is a great place to start your nursing career. In fact, most new graduates start out in a hospital and with good reason. In a hospital setting, you will likely see a large variety of illnesses and work with different types of patients. Working in a hospital is a great way to gain nursing experience and learn new things. 

But as time goes by, you may want to try a different healthcare setting. One of the benefits of becoming a nurse is there are various healthcare settings where you can work. Both permanent and travel positions are often available in a variety of settings.

Nursing Homes

Patients in nursing homes require long-term care, but are stable enough that they don’t require an acute care hospital. Although not always the case, many patients in nursing homes are elderly. You may not see the same variety of illnesses you would in a hospital. But an advantage is many patients reside in nursing homes for months or years. You really get to know your patients and their families.

Sub-Acute Facilities

Sub-acute facilities are healthcare centers, which treat patients who may not need acute care any longer, but they are not ready to go home or to a nursing home. Their condition is no longer life threatening, but they still may require a great deal of nursing care. For example, a patient who is having a difficult time being weaned off a ventilator, but is stable, may be a good candidate for a sub-acute center.

Rehabilitation Hospital

Rehabilitation hospitals provide extensive services, such as physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy. Patients are stable medically, but require therapy in order to improve function and quality of life.  Nursing care will still be needed, but it is usually not as intensive as working in an acute care hospital. 

Clinics

Nurses are needed to work in a wide variety of clinics. Some clinics are mobile and travel to different communities providing health screenings, immunizations or checkups. Other clinics may specialize and provide prenatal care to expected mothers. Certain clinics may treat the elderly or children. Nurses who work in this type of setting may not see many emergency cases. Those who love excitement may see this as a disadvantage. On the positive side, many people who utilize clinics may be without health insurance or a regular doctor. Knowing you are helping someone who is in need can be very rewarding.

Home Health

Nurses are needed to provide care in patient’s home. Various services and agencies may provide different levels of nursing services to patients. In many cases, you will do a lot of the same things you do in the hospital. Patients at home may be on ventilators or oxygen and may be receiving intravenous medications. The wide variety of duties can be an advantage of working in home health.  A possible disadvantage is the fact you work alone. While you can call a supervisor, you won’t have a coworker you can immediately ask for help.

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