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Talent Management

Finding Your Path: Nursing Careers in Long Term Care

One of the fastest growing, high-demand areas of service for nurses today is in long term care (LTC). Our country’s Baby Boomer population is quickly aging and filling the rooms of assisted living facilities, creating a growing demand for many types of nursing careers in those areas. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates an overall 19 percent growth by 2022 for registered nursing positions, which is much higher than the average rate in other job sectors.

There are a wide range of job opportunities available in the long term care industry from entry level positions in patient care, kitchen staff, maintenance and security. For people interested in patient care, there are many rewarding roles along the nursing career path. The key to progressing up the salary ladder, however, is education.

In order to help your nursing staff identify and plan out their LTC nursing careers, let’s consider some of the various roles, duties and salary ranges for long term care nurses, and what training is required to become one.

Nursing Degrees, Nursing salaries, Nursing Job Descriptions

Depending on their specific career goals, prospective nurses may choose to start their career by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Others who are willing to complete a more extensive education may become a Licensed Practicing Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN).

Some nurses continue their education and attain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Obviously, each level requires a bigger commitment and investment in education and training, but the average salary increases as well. Use the information below as a benchmark to determine if your salaries should be adjusted in order to attract new hires.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Education: 4 to 12 weeks, diploma

Average Salary: $30,000

LTC Duties and Responsibilities

Certified Nursing Assistants typically work under the direct supervision of an RN, performing a wide range of duties. They are responsible for basic patient care such as helping residents with dressing, bathing, and eating. They may also be required to collect non-invasive specimens and gather vital signs. And depending on individual state regulations, CNAs may also deliver patient medications.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Education: 1 to 2 years, associate degree

Average Salary: $48,000

LTC Duties and Responsibilities

Licensed Practical Nurses provide more technical assistance to long term care residents such as changing dressings and administering medications. An LPN may also be called on to manage and supervise nursing aides in their duties.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Education: 2 to 4 years, Bachelor of Science

Average Salary: $73,000

LTC Duties and Responsibilities

A registered nurse works closely with a medical team to implement a comprehensive healthcare plan, including vital sign checks, intravenous therapy, enteral tube feedings, wound care, respiratory therapy and medication among other duties. Registered nurses often take on leadership roles by supervising a staff of CNAs. They may also perform physical therapy and educate patients about their health conditions and ongoing treatments.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Education: Master’s degree

Average Salary: $113,000

LTC Duties and Responsibilities

Nurses with a MSN will take on greater leadership and management roles within the long term care facility. MSN programs typically offer two options: non-clinical or advanced practice. Nurses working towards a non-clinical MSN will be eligible for managerial or educational opportunities. An advanced practice degree (APRN) is more geared for a career outside of long term care, for nurses seeking to become a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner or a Certified Nurse Midwife.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Education: Doctor or Nursing Practice

Average Salary: $135,000+

Career Options

Typically, nurses who choose to go on to earn a DNP are seeking to work in either a research role or as a nurse practitioner. A nurse with a DNP can function in a provider capacity but most will also work to generate new scientific and clinical knowledge in nursing and healthcare. For this reason, most DNPs also work in academia, as administrators and/or researchers.

Creating a Career Path for Your Nursing Team

A career in nursing offers many rewarding opportunities in a wide variety of settings. Some people start working as a CNA before deciding if they want to invest more time and money in furthering their education. There are always opportunities for nurses to continue their training as they gain more work experience.

Being part of a healthcare HR team means helping each nurse on your staff determine their own career goals and find the right path to succeed. Paycor’s Career Management solution can help you define role responsibilities and set expectations with your staff so employees receive feedback that’s specific to their development plan.