According to the Occupational Outlook guide, the nursing profession is among the fastest growing of all career paths. Within nursing, the single specialty expected to grow by leaps and bounds is gerontology. The aging of the baby boomers has increased the average age of the typical patient. According to one survey, patients over 65 make up 60 percent of adult primary visits, 48 percent of inpatient hospital admissions and 85 percent of nursing home residents. By the year 2020 – less than 15 years from now – a study from Occupational Health and Safety Administration predicts that the need for registered nurses in nursing homes will increase 66%, for licensed practical and vocational nurses by 72% and the need for certified nursing assistants will increase by 69%. For nurses working in home health settings – which include ‘managed care’ nursing home settings – those numbers are even higher – well above 250% increase in nurses needed at every level of licensing.
In other words, if you’re planning a career in nursing or are already a nurse, there are thousands of jobs available for you in nursing homes and chronic care facilities. The face of geriatric nursing has also changed considerably over the past decades. If your image of a nursing home is one of bleak halls and hopeless, helpless patients, then a visit to many of today’s nursing homes will offer an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
Nursing Home Jobs In the New Millennium. This generation of seniors is more active and more determined than any other that has come before them. It’s led to major changes in the practice of long term elder care. If you decide that a nursing home job is for you, here are some of the options that you can explore.
On Site Nurse in Senior Housing. Many seniors don’t need round the clock nursing care, but do need some nursing supervision. Senior housing communities often have an on-site nurse who is available to help residents with medication problems, take care of routine medical care and be available in case of an emergency. The nurse on site will also often consult with doctors who work with individual residents to help manage any medical care that they need. The pay scale is generally quite good, and the hours closer to a regular work week than in many other geriatric nursing jobs.
Continuing Care Retirement Community Nursing Jobs. Unlike traditional nursing homes, residents of CCRCs have and maintain their own apartments with whatever support they require to remain as independent as possible. Nursing job opportunities in CCRCs range from managed care nursing similar to the duties of a head nurse in a hospital to providing personal care to individual residents. CCRCs offer opportunities for skilled nursing care, medical case management and licensed practical nursing.
Rehabilitation Facilities. Not all nursing homes cater to long-term geriatric patients. As hospital costs have risen, the trend has been to discharge patients to rehab facilities and convalescent homes rather than keep them in the hospital until they’re ready to go home. Nurses in rehab facilities and convalescent homes get to be part of the recovery process, and many take great pride and joy in watching a patient advance and recover. Convalescent home jobs include charge nurses, floor nurses and nursing assistants as well as physical and occupational therapy specialists.
Traditional Nursing Home Jobs. Even traditional nursing homes are far different than they were a few decades ago. A nurse specializing in gerontology in a nursing home can expect to work with patients in the long term. The jobs available range from head nurses for an entire facility through floor charge nurses who are responsible for overseeing the care and medical needs of one wing or floor and certified nursing assistants who do much of the hands on nursing care.