Long-term acute care nurses are registered nurses who provide specialized care to patients with complex medical needs in a long-term acute care facility. These facilities are specialty-care hospitals designed to provide comprehensive treatment to patients with serious medical problems for an extended time. LTAC facilities offer more individualized care than skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes and operate similar to an intensive care unit. LTAC nurses must have advanced nursing skills to care for patients with prolonged or incurable illnesses and chronic conditions.
Long-term acute care nursing is a top recruited specialty on NurseFly, where you’ll find hundreds of LTAC nursing jobs available across the country.
Long-term acute care nurse salary
Registered nurses earned an average of $73,300 per year in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This works out to about $1,410 weekly and $35 hourly for staff nurses.
NurseFly data that same year recorded a weekly salary of $1,499 for travel LTAC nurses. For travel RNs who claim a permanent tax home, this amount may be higher with additional tax-free stipends, including housing allowances and per diems for meals.
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Long Term Care Nurse FAQs
How Much Do Long Term Care Nurse Jobs Pay?
For jobs available on NurseFly as of Monday, October 26th 2020, the average weekly pay for Long Term Care Nurse jobs is $1,792, but can pay up to $2,574 per week. In 2020, Long Term Care Nurses jobs on Nursefly paid a gross average weekly pay of $1,621 per week working an average of 36 hours per week. This includes non-taxable compensation like living stipends, meal stipends, and housing which add up to an average value of $1,035 per week.
- min - $1,350
- avg - $1,792
- max - $2,574
What does a long-term acute care nurse do?
LTAC nurses assist doctors and other medical staff with treatment and illness management for multiple patients. They perform ongoing systemic patient assessments to track recovery or monitor illness progression. Because LTAC nurses deal with extreme illnesses and conditions, they have experience with various critical care procedures, including vents, trachs, ET tubes, critical drips, and severe wound care. Other duties may include:
Receiving admissions and transfers
Developing individualized patient treatment plans
Monitoring and reporting changes in patient symptoms or behavior
Responding to life-saving situations
Dispensing medications, chest tubes, ventilators, wound vacs, etc.
Overseeing daily rehabilitation and medication for patients
Interpreting assessments and diagnostic data, including telemetry and labs
Providing supervision and guidance to support staff
Educating patients about disease prevention and health maintenance
Maintaining accurate patient medical records
Where do long-term acute care nurses work?
LTAC nurses work in long-term acute care facilities and long-term care departments within hospitals. Long-term acute care hospitals may stand alone or be housed within an acute care hospital but operate autonomously.
What skills make a good long-term acute care nurse?
LTAC nurses must have advanced critical care nursing skills to provide comprehensive care for patients with complex medical needs. Clinical skills must include experience with intensive care procedures, including experience with airway management, vents, trachs, critical drips, chest drainage tubes, and more. They must be resourceful problem solvers and critical thinkers who can thrive and remain calm in a fast-paced, stressful environment. LTAC nurses should also possess high tech skills with an in-depth familiarity with medical software and equipment. Extensive interpersonal skills are also highly prized to ensure the ability to build rapport with patients and effectively communication with doctors and other medical professionals.
How to become a Long-Term Acute Care Travel Nurse?
An RN license is required to become a long-term acute care travel nurse. This involves earning an ASN or BSN from an accredited nursing program, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, completing state licensing requirements, and obtaining Basic Life Support certification. Many facilities also require Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certification.
RNs also need experience in internal medicine and becoming a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse or earning Critical Care Registered Nurse board certification can be helpful for career advancement. Generally, LTAC travel nursing job posters require two years of nursing experience and may require recent experience in a critical or acute care setting or specifically in LTAC.