In the recent past there has been a shift in types of diseases affecting the U.S. population, from acute infections to chronic illnesses. Life expectancy has been steadily increasing. As a result, the percentage of the population over the age of 65 is greater than ever before. In 2000, 12% of the population was over the age of 65. By 2030, that number is expected to grow to 19% while the amount of people over the age of 80 is predicted to more than double. Consequently, nurses who have attended campus or online nursing class programs to work in long-term care are expected to experience significant employment growth in the coming decades.
What is Long-Term Care Nursing?
80% of persons aged 65 and older have at least one chronic condition while 50% have at least two. Many end up unable to care for themselves and enter long-term nursing care facilities. Professionals who have attended campus or online nursing class programs to specialize in long-term care nursing are responsible for much of the direct patient care necessary for these elderly patients. Nurses with a campus or online nursing degree may hold positions such as:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- In-Service Coordinator
- Director of Nursing (DON)
Responsibilities include everything from assisting residents with activities of daily living to administering tube feedings and providing wound care. Campus and online nursing class programs now also prepare nurses to comply with government regulations in long-term care. Nurses who work in long-term care must complete assessments such as the Minimum Data Set (MDS) and prepare for state inspections on a yearly basis.
Required Education to Work as a Long-Term Care Nurse
Although registered nurses may legally practice with a hospital diploma, associate’s degree, or RN to BSN (bachelor’s degree in nursing), employers most often prefer to hire registered nurses who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree are equipped with the communication, leadership, and critical thinking skills necessary in today’s health care environment. Taking campus or online nursing class programs towards a bachelor’s degree can also help registered nurses move into more advanced positions in nursing.
Prospective students who are interested in RN to BSN online programs may visit College-Pages.com, the education and career resource website. Students will find an extensive list of available online nursing class programs and resource articles to aide in education and career decisions.