Long-term care nurses often feel isolated from the rest of the healthcare workforce, asking themselves, “Am I actually a nurse?”

That question, according to United Kingdom researcher Juliana Thompson, Ph.D., relates to how nursing home nurses often are focused on the resident, the care plan, and the social aspects of care, which can result in them wondering if their clinical skills are diluted.

Her study results, based on respondents from seven nursing homes in England, appeared in the Journal of Clinical Studies in October. Thompson is a senior lecturer in adult nursing at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.

“There’s very much an aspect of believing a nurse is someone who does healthcare in the hospital,” she told

TV dramas may be at the forefront of what nurses envision, complete with a life of running to a crash cart or treating trauma victims.

“Nursing has become medicalized and technical and that becomes sexy in some ways,” Thompson said. “The care and compassion side of it is less respected and valued.”

Many long-term care nurses also want to treat more medical issues for residents, she said, but they need more training. This could, in turn, reduce rehospitalizations.