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RN Registered Nurses take care of people who are sick, injured, convalescent or disabled. They care for patients by assessing, planning, intervention, implementation and evaluation, under general supervision, and in accordance with established practices and philosophy. Registered Nurses work with other professionals to ensure patient care is delivered effectively to achieve desired patient outcomes. The RN must effectively interact with the patient and family members while maintaining the standard of professional nursing. There are many travel assignments and jobs available for the Registered Nurse as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that nursing is one of the top 10 occupations with the largest job growth. Where would you like to visit? Work in a great environment and enjoy free time seeing places you have always wanted to visit. Many great opportunities await the Registered Nurse in todays market!

Long Term Acute Care Registered Nurses are bridging the transition from intensive care to home. LTAC patients normally transfer from an intensive care unit and are receiving ventilator assistance. Some patients have large open wounds or other acute problems. The patient may be on inotropic agents and require careful monitoring. Most patients in these units, age 18 and up, have an average stay of 25 days or longer. LTAC RNs state that one of the most challenging aspects of caring for these patients is the management of multiple, long-term, complex medical conditions, multiple system failures and the patients anxiety. LTAC if the final stop when trying to wean patients off a respirator and most patients in these units have been in the hospital for many months by the time they reach this phase. It is a long, hard road for them and some are nearing wits end by the time they reach this point in their recovery.

The LTAC RN must spend considerable time with family members in addition to caring for patients. Family members may be frustrated by their loved ones perceived lack of progress. Some may also have travelled long distances to visit their loved one and can be unfamiliar with Long Term Acute Care.

Critical thinking skills and independence are essential in this setting. Unlike the Intensive Care Unit, the physician on call in not in the unit and therefore the LTAC nurse may work more autonomously than typical in a critical care setting. RN LTAC must be able to manage stress appropriately, make decisions under pressure and manage the anger/fear/hostility and violence of others appropriately. RNs may be exposed to toxic/caustic chemicals and detergents and extreme hot and cold conditions. Exposure to communicable diseases, blood and/or body fluids and exposure to dust/fumes and gases are also possibilities.

Responsibilities of the Long Term Acute Care Registered Nurse may include:

  • Appropriate response to an emergency situation.
  • Staple/suture removal
  • Chest tube care
  • Accurate assessment, reassessment, development and implementation of care plan in a safe, accurate and appropriate manner
  • Knowledge of specific conditions, disease and treatment therapies for the specific population of the setting
  • Tracheotomy care
  • Accurately document records in a timely manner
  • IV Therapy
  • Serve as advocate for patient and/or family members regarding decisions affecting the care plan
  • Wound care and skin care protocols
  • Ostomy care
  • Identify the educational needs of the patient and family members and provide the necessary education to meet those needs
  • Post of care of patient
  • Assess and evaluate patients response to care plan and prioritize and implement appropriate changes to plan
  • Collaborate, assess and coordinate discharge planning needs and readiness for discharge with other health care team members on a timely basis
  • Always show respect and awareness for the patient and family members as individuals and as a family unit
  • Provide direct supervision and assistance in evaluation of staff performance
  • The RN in LTAC settings will stand, sit, walk, perform repetitive tasks and motions, have good manual dexterity, hear alarms/telephone/normal speaking voice, have clarity of vision and be able to distinguish colors.

Demonstrate Safe and Effective Use of Equipment such as:

  • CPM
  • Oxygen wall regulators/portable oxygen
  • Patient Call System
  • Electronic thermometer
  • TPN administration
  • Foley catheters
  • Geri chair
  • Specialty beds
  • Computer, printer, copier, fax
  • NG tube/suctioning
  • Drains
  • Safety bed alarm system
  • IV pump
  • Gait belt
  • Dinamap
  • PCA
  • Crash Cart
  • Defibrillator
  • Insulin pump
  • Lifting equipment
  • Enteral feeding pump
  • Anti embolic stockings

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