What It’s Like to Work in a Nursing Home

NursingMarch 03, 2021

Elder care is a growing part of healthcare. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is expected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, according to the Census Bureau projections. This growing population will create a strong demand for senior care services, including nursing homes—and, with it, nursing home nurses. 

If you’ve considered entering this area of nursing, you may wonder what it’s like to work in a nursing home. 

Medical care

Just like in a hospital or clinic setting, nursing home nurses work directly with patients and are responsible for taking their vitals and updating their records. Residents may have a variety of conditions, ranging from heart and renal diseases and diabetes, to dementia and more. Nurses are responsible for monitoring the residents and administering medications and procedures that are needed. 

Therapeutic care

Some nurses may provide or aid in therapeutic procedures. For example, residents with mobility issues may need daily physical therapy sessions. A nurse may help the patient perform the exercises in their rooms, or they may help them get to another area of the facility for a session with a dedicated therapist.

Direct patient care

While hospital nurses often help patients with daily personal care, nursing home nurses may need to take extra steps. Nurses assist with activities like bathing, feeding, and mobility. Some patients may not be able to care for themselves while others may simply need a little help. Nurses may also be asked to assist patients as they participate in nursing home activities that are designed to improve their quality of life, such as group games or gatherings.

Emotional support

COVID-19 changed the role of the nursing home nurse as lockdowns prevented residents from having visitors. Nurses, in addition to being caregivers, have also become emotional support providers. In addition to spending time with patients, nurses have served as a connection to the patients’ families. They’ve helped patients connect with loved ones by telephone or video calls and have sometimes served as a “point person” for sharing updates on the patient’s condition with family members. 

Is becoming a nursing home nurse right for you?

Nursing homes need nurses on staff at all hours. Nurses who prefer to work nights or weekends may find that the hours available work well with their schedule and family needs. 

Caring for people in the later stages of their lives can provide valuable perspectives on aging and life priorities. Many nurses treasure the relationships they have built with seniors who have a lot of wisdom and knowledge to share. 

Fortis graduate Rebekah Tasker chose to work in a nursing home after finishing her nursing program at the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio campus. “I dabbled here and there in a few areas of nursing and found that was where I was most happy,” she says. “I enjoy what I do there for the residents. They’ve lived their lives, and I feel it’s an honor to be there for them during this time.”

If you’d like to start a career in nursing like Rebekah, Fortis can help put you on the path with a nursing education. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.