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Working in a long-term care or skilled nursing facility presents a unique opportunity for nurses to make an impactful difference in the lives of patients, their families, and the healthcare system as a whole.  Here are some compelling reasons why a nurse might consider this career path:

Professional Growth and Skill Development

  • Complex Care Needs: Long-term care facilities often serve patients with complex medical and emotional needs, allowing nurses to develop a diverse skill set, ranging from geriatric care to wound care and chronic disease management.
  • Interdisciplinary Teams: Nurses often collaborate with a broad range of healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists, social workers, and dieticians, enhancing teamwork and communication skills.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Smaller staff-to-patient ratios in these settings often provide nurses with opportunities to take on leadership roles earlier in their careers.

Personal Fulfillment

  • Building Long-Term Relationships: Unlike in acute care settings where patient turnover is high, long-term care allows nurses to establish deeper relationships with patients and their families. This often provides emotional rewards and a sense of purpose.
  • Making a Tangible Impact: Nurses can see the long-term effects of their care and interventions, offering a rewarding sense of accomplishment.
  • Being a Patient Advocate: In settings where patients may reside for extended periods, the nurse often becomes a key advocate for the patient’s overall well-being, which can be incredibly fulfilling.

Specialized Expertise

  • Holistic Care: Working in long-term care allows nurses to focus on not just medical needs, but also social, emotional, and psychological needs, thus delivering truly holistic care.
  • Palliative and End-of-Life Care: Nurses in these settings often have the opportunity to specialize in palliative and end-of-life care, a crucial and meaningful aspect of healthcare.
  • Geriatric Expertise: As populations age, geriatric nursing expertise is becoming increasingly valuable. Working in long-term care provides hands-on experience in this growing specialty.

Community and Societal Benefits

  • Addressing a Growing Need: As the population ages, the demand for long-term care facilities is expected to rise. By choosing this path, nurses are making a valuable contribution to a critical area of public health.
  • Family Support: Nurses in these settings often work closely with families, providing education and support that benefits not only the patient but the community at large.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Skilled nursing facilities often provide care that would be more costly if it were administered in a hospital. Nurses in these settings contribute to more sustainable healthcare systems.

A career in long-term care or skilled nursing facilities offers nurses a chance for both personal and professional growth, the opportunity to provide holistic and specialized care, and a meaningful role in the broader healthcare ecosystem.  At National Health Care Associates, we believe in empowering our nurses to continue their education by offering tuition reimbursement and scholarship programs, as well as career advancement within our affiliate centers.  Most of the regions we serve also offer paid Certified Nursing Assistant training programs for those who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing.  The programs lead newly graduated CNAs to a career path where they, too, can have access to the nursing scholarships.  To learn more, visit us online at or call our careers line at 888-987-5242.

Column was originally written by Kevin Bracken, Director of Talent Acquisition at National.