An Unsung Healthcare Hero
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The Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses (AMSN) states that medical surgical nursing “is the single largest nursing specialty in the United States and beyond.” In fact, they estimate that of the 3.1M nurses currently practicing medicine, 650,000 work in the medical surgical field. However, many healthcare professionals view medical surgical nursing as nothing more than a pit stop for new nurses, a place where they acquire the skills needed to advance to higher acuity fields.
In this blog post, we explore why medical surgical nursing is more than just a stepping-stone where “green” nurses hone their knowledge and skills. We examine the critical role that these clinicians play in our healthcare system. We also explain why this specialty is the right choice for every nurse regardless of where they are in their career journey.
Unlike physical ailments which generally have an obvious cause and treatment plan, mental illness can be harder to diagnose and treat. Furthermore, while attitudes are changing, there is still a stigma associated with seeking therapy or treatment. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the critical role a psychiatric nurse plays in mental health settings. We’ll explore where psychiatric nurses work, what types of conditions they treat and much more. Keep reading to learn more about this in demand field.
What is a psychiatric nurse?
A psychiatric nurse, also known as a behavioral health nurse or a mental health nurse, works with patients that are receiving treatment for a variety of mental illnesses. Since mental illness can occur at any point in life, patients range in age from children to the elderly. In addition to treating psychiatric disorders, behavioral health nurses also help patients address the stigma associated with their mental health issue(s). It is a career path that blends psychology, psychiatry and nursing.
Due to the complex nature of their patients’ condition(s), psych nurses work as part of a behavioral health team. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists are just a few of the specialties that behavioral health nurses frequently interact with.
What You Should Know Before Applying
After gaining one to two years of work experience on a medical-surgical floor, the career opportunities that are available to a nurse become virtually limitless. While some clinicians will continue their employment journey in a traditional healthcare setting, others will choose to purse a career in a non-traditional work environment. Home health nursing is a non-traditional employment option that provides clinicians with independence and autonomy. Keep reading to find out what you can expect from a career as a home health nurse.
What is a home health nurse?
A home health nurse, also known as a home care nurse, provides one-on-one care in a patient’s home. Most of the time, the patients that a home care nurse treats have been discharged from a hospital or other medical care setting. Home health nurses are primarily responsible for ensuring a patient’s continued recovery and for monitoring for any potential complications that would result in readmittance to a healthcare facility.
Depending upon their experience and training, a home health nurse may provide other specialized services (i.e. pain management, wound care, hospice care). Home care nurses always work under the direction of the patient’s physician and may be responsible for managing/directing other members of the patient’s care team (i.e. nursing assistants or non-medical home care providers).
Within the healthcare industry, there is a growing demand for nurses that are qualified to work in long-term acute care (LTAC) settings. However, misconceptions about LTAC patients and the work environment prevents many nurses from pursuing these career advancing positions. Continue reading to find out more about LTAC facilities and why a job there might be the right career choice for you.
What is a long-term acute care facility?
A long-term acute care facility is specifically designed for patients with complex medical conditions that require the ongoing support of an interdisciplinary team. While patients in a LTAC unit no longer need extensive diagnostic procedures or the level of care available in an intensive care unit (ICU), the severity of their condition(s) makes them inappropriate for a rehabilitation center, skilled nursing facility or home healthcare service.
Interview with Chris McMahon, RN, BSN
Misguided assumptions about the correctional healthcare environment prevents many clinicians from pursuing the job opportunities that are there. While not the right work environment for every clinician, the correctional healthcare setting can provide a rich and rewarding career for those nurses that are willing to put their preconceived notions to the test. To help combat some of the natural biases that surround the correctional healthcare vocation, we interviewed Chris McMahon, RN, BSN. As an experienced correctional nurse, Chris provides insight into what a typical day looks like in correctional healthcare, the type of care that correctional nurses are generally responsible for and what it takes to succeed in this non-traditional healthcare field.
1. What initially attracted you to a career in nursing?
While I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, I knew that I wanted to end up in a career where I would have the opportunity to help and care for other people. At the time, I didn’t know that nursing would be the place where I would land. As I was trying to decide on a major that was right for me, I took a very general class about nursing. From there, I was hooked. I had so many amazing teachers along the way that encouraged me. Their enthusiasm for the profession was contagious. I’ve never regretted my choice to become a nurse.