As a registered nurse, you have seen the gaps left in the field of nursing in the wake of COVID-19.
The nursing shortage brought on by COVID-19 created a new demand for travel nurses. One of the areas of nursing that has been significantly affected by this shortage is long-term care.
Long-term care registered nurses on travel assignments are in high demand and the need for these nurses will continue to grow.
Facilities are looking for nurses that are ready to make a difference in the field of compassionate care. Read on to learn more about long-term care registered nurse travel assignments.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Long-Term Care Travel Nurse?
- What Does a Long-Term Care Travel Nurse Do?
- Where Do Long-Term Care Registered Nurses Find Travel Assignments?
- Education Requirements for Long-Term Care Travel Nurses
- What Is the Average Salary for a Long-Term Care Registered Nurse on a Travel Assignment?
- Benefits of a Travel Assignment as an LTC Nurse
- How To Decide if LTC Travel Nursing Is for You
- Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find LTC Travel Nursing Positions Around the Country
What Is a Long-Term Care Travel Nurse?
A long-term care (LTC) nurse is a registered nurse that cares for patients who require extended medical care. These patients can have severe illnesses, injuries, or disabilities that require them to have around-the-clock care. Their stay at a long-term care facility might be short-term, long-term, or permanent.
Examples of patients that require long-term care are:
- Patients recovering from debilitating medical events like a stroke or heart attack.
- Patients with complex medical needs that require 24-hour care.
- Patients with cognitive disorders like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Patients with short-term, long-term, or permanent disabilities.
- Patients recovering from extensive surgery.
- Patients recovering from serious or traumatic injury.
As a long-term care nurse, you would have the responsibility of closely working with a small group of the same patients for extended periods.
This allows you to form close bonds with patients — an opportunity you might not have working in another field of nursing.
However, the mortality rate for long-term care patients is high. You might need to be emotionally developed enough to handle the passing of patients that you’ve become close to. A mindset that prioritizes compassionate care is necessary because you will be providing emotional comfort to those who may be in their last hours.
What Does a Long-Term Care Travel Nurse Do?
A long-term care travel nurse works with a medical team to develop an extensive long-term care plan for patients.
As a long-term care nurse, you would administer medications and treatments that follow the medical care plan. There are different medical needs for different types of long-term care patients, so the procedures and treatments you perform or assist with will range. You may also help patients with day-to-day tasks that they are unable to perform alone, like bathing or dressing.
Long-term care nurses also provide education and guidance to patients and their families.
LTC can be emotionally difficult for a lot of patients. They may be afraid, upset, and even a little angry. There’s a loss of agency that comes with needing long-term care.
This is where LTC nurses provide knowledge, support, and guidance. A part of your job may be providing a shoulder to cry on or a pillar of strength to draw from.
Is LTC Nursing Different Than Hospice Care?
Long-term care nurses provide care for patients who may live several years, or longer, under care. Patient care plans are designed with long-term treatment goals in mind.
Hospice care provides care for patients diagnosed with 6 months or less to live. The medical plans for hospice patients are geared toward palliative and end-of-life care.
Where Do Long-Term Care Registered Nurses Find Travel Assignments?
Facilities where long-term care travel nurses may be needed are:
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Nursing homes
- Memory care facilities
- Assisted living facilities
- Private residences
Are LTC Travel Nurses in High Demand?
Due to the ongoing nursing shortage, the demand for nurses will continue to grow.
Based on predictions of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 203, 200 openings for nurses a year will be needed until 2031.
Long-term care nursing will see a significant spike in demand due to age-related population issues. People are living longer, while fewer children are being born. The US Census Bureau predicts that by 2030 people over the age of 65 will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.
Due to the pandemic, long-term care nursing suffered a significant blow as nurses fled the long-term care field.
The significant loss of long-term care patients due to COVID-19 caused long-term care nurses to leave bedside nursing for work that was less emotionally demanding. Long-term care facilities have had trouble rebuilding the population of nurses so they have begun to outsource work via travel nurses.
Long-term travel nurses are in high demand in:
- California: 99,956 nursing home residents in the state
- Texas: 90,708 nursing home residents in the state
- New York: 89,775 nursing home residents in the state
- Pennsylvania: 72,519 nursing home residents in the state
How To Find LTC Travel Assignments
Navigating the ins and outs of long-term care registered nurse assignments can be complex and confusing. That’s why Trusted Nurse Staffing has partnered with Pronto to allow you to easily search for assignments as an LTC travel nurse.
Check out the Pronto app today to find the perfect assignment for you.
Education Requirements for Long-Term Care Travel Nurses
Long-term care nurses have the same educational background as other RNs. It is required that you have an associate’s degree in nursing (AIN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BIN). Most employers prefer to hire nurses with BINs.
After graduating with an AIN or BIN, all registered nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to receive a nursing license.
Once you have received your nursing license, you can begin to work as an RN. Gaining nursing experience before pursuing long-term care nursing would make you a valuable, and more prepared, candidate.
Additional Coursework in Gerontology
Generally, an advanced nursing degree or Gerontological Nursing Certification (GERO-BC) is not required to be a long-term care nurse — but it is beneficial.
Some facilities may require an Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification (ACLS).
Long-term care nurses with additional certifications from coursework related to gerontology and pain management are highly sought after by long-term care facilities.
Having a GERO-BC can potentially increase pay for long-term care nurses. Additional certifications assist in the long-term career growth of RNs and can increase the likelihood of promotion to administrative roles.
What Is the Average Salary for a Long-Term Care Registered Nurse on a Travel Assignment?
The highest-paying cities for long-term care nurses are:
- New York City, NY: $85,814/yr average
- Green River, WY: $83,668/yr average
- San Mateo, CA: $83,291/yr average
- Daly City, CA: $81,878/yr average
- Bend, OR: $81,594/yr average
- Boston, MA: $81,482/yr average
- Berkeley, CA: $81,473/yr average
- Renton, WA: $80,66/yr average
- Juneau, AK: $80,617/yr average
- Santa Monica, CA: $80,426/yr average
Benefits of a Travel Assignment as an LTC Nurse
There are plenty of career benefits when it comes to being a long-term care nurse. Some benefits you should remember when considering a career in long-term care nursing are:
- Long-term care nurses gain experience that positively expands career options and job prospects.
- There will always be a demand for long-term care nurses. The demand and scarcity have increased in wages.
- You can develop close relationships with your patients. This can enrich the experience because you are caring for people that you get to know.
Travel nurses get to see a more diverse side of the field of nursing, and that can come with a lot of benefits! Some benefits of being a travel nurse are:
- Great benefits like competitive pay, dental and vision insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and stipends for housing.
- Getting to travel to new places, meet new people, and experience new things. Working in other places gives you a feel for the ideal place to finally settle down in.
- Traveling nursing provides new work experience that can help advance your career.
- A changing environment can reduce burnout.
Are There Any Downsides to Traveling as a Long-Term Care Nurse?
Disadvantages of being a long-term care nurse:
- The constant need to upgrade your knowledge of medication and procedures to keep up with patient needs.
- Staffing shortage may pose problems with receiving adequate support while handling high patient caseloads.
- The mortality rate for long-term care patients is high. Long-term care nurses are often exposed to occupational stress when handling the loss of a patient.
Stress is another potential factor to consider. Some nurses might find it harder to manage stress while away from their support system.
This is why it is important to work with travel nurse agencies that prioritize mental health and provide resources to support nurses on their assignments.
How To Decide if LTC Travel Nursing Is for You
It is one thing to be a travel nurse and another to be a long-term care travel nurse. Let’s discuss the traits and skills that will be required for long-term registered nurse travel assignments.
Skills and Traits of LTC Nurses
If you identify with these characteristics, a long-term care assignment might be right for you:
- Resilience: LTC nurses must have the ability to adapt and recover from psychologically distressing situations.
- Compassionate bedside manners: As an LTC nurse you may be guiding your patients through a difficult time in their life. You must be passionate about providing compassionate care to your patients and colleagues.
- Strong observational and assessment skills: LTC nurses have patients whose conditions can fluctuate. A great LTC provider can monitor a patient’s condition and quickly react to situations where conditions worsen.
- Strong communication skills: As an LTC nurse you will be working with a medical team, as well as patients and their families, to coordinate patients’ care. Strong communication skills are needed to be able to accurately update the necessary parties when providing care for your patients.
Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find LTC Travel Nursing Positions Around the Country
Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of long-term care patients? Are you ready to travel to new and exciting places to gain experience to make you the best nurse you can be?
Trusted Nurse Staffing is ready to help you begin your journey and support you every step of the way.
What we provide our travel nurses:
- Competitive pay
- Weekly paychecks and direct deposits
- Customizable insurance packages
- Full-time, part-time, and per diem positions
- Housing and travel stipends
- And more
Choose travel nursing with an agency that prioritizes you and your value as a nurse. ChooseTrusted Nurse Staffing.