Long Term Care Job Descriptions, Duties and Requirements
Long term care is offered in various private homes and healthcare facilities, including convalescent homes, hospices and assisted-living centers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), long-term care accounted for approximately 30% of healthcare industry employment in 2008 (www.bls.gov).
Long Term Care Nurse Job Descriptions
Registered nurses (RNs) monitor patients, develop patient care plans, implement treatments and provide guidance. RNs who provide in-home care or who work in a care facility can supervise the work of licensed practical nurses (LPNs), nursing assistants or home care aides. Clinical nurses and nurse practitioners can be primary caregivers and are responsible for making diagnosis and prescribing treatments for patients.
RNs monitor a patient's vital signs and symptoms, maintain records, deliver medication and implement other treatments. Under the direction of RNs, aides and assistants can monitor patients, as well as feed, clothe, change linens and assist with personal hygiene. In smaller facilities, RNs may assume many duties performed by aides.
RNs typically complete a nursing associate's or bachelor's degree program before seeking entry-level work. More clinical experience is available through bachelor's degree nursing programs, which can enhance opportunities for employment in healthcare facilities. LPNs complete year-long training programs offered by vocational schools and community colleges. Completion of a graduate degree program is preferable for nurses seeking advancement to management positions and is required for clinical nurses and nurse practitioners.
All nurses must obtain a license by passing the National Council Licensure Examination. Certification is required for nursing assistants, though it is not necessary for aide positions.
Due to increased preventive care and an aging population, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment growth for RNs is expected to be 26% from 2010-2020. The average annual salary for RNs as of May 2012, the BLS further reports, was $67,930.
Long Term Care Administrator Job Description
Healthcare managers and social workers plan, organize and coordinate the services provided at healthcare facilities. Managers supervise non-medical departments and personnel, oversee finances and coordinate policy with medical professionals. They can also arrange support and recreational activities for their patients.
Healthcare managers and administrators set budgets, hire staff, coordinate training, set policy goals, ensure compliance with government regulations and maintain records. Managers also choose billing systems and the acquisition of new equipment and technology. They can also provide psychological support by arranging for additional care and support groups.
Entry-level work in healthcare management can be pursued after completing a bachelor's degree program, but completion of a master's degree program is preferred. Relevant fields of study include public health, health sciences, public administration and social work. Social workers and administrators in nursing and assisted-living facilities are required by all states to be licensed.
The BLS states that the job growth rate between 2010 and 2020 for health services managers is expected to be 22%, mainly due to an increased demand for healthcare services. Healthcare social workers should see a 34% increase in employment during the same time period, the BLS reports. The median annual salary for health services managers was $88,580 and for healthcare social workers $49,830 as of May 2012, according to the BLS.
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