Reader Poll: What do you wish people knew about being a long-term care nurse?

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“Most people have no understanding of how long-term care nurses are as good as acute-care nurses. They are better assessors and have skills because physicians aren't at our beck and call. We have to have a better ability to triage.”

— Monica Harding, Director of Clinical Operations, Erickson Living, Catonsville, MD

“I wish people knew it was a specialty that people need. When you become an LTC nurse, you're not told any of that, but there are is so much variety and value.”

— Linda Winston, RN, MSN, BS, DNS-CT, RAC-CT, Independent Nurse Consultant, Norwich, NY

“There are so many things we do beside hold an elderly person's hand. Residents are now more acute, and we're doing every type of nursing and providing care at the highest degree.”

— Sophie Campbell, MSN, RN, CRRN, RAC-CT, CNDLTC, Director, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, Philadelphia, PA

“That nurses save lives. Physicians are often seldom in the building. If nurses don't know what they are seeing, it's trouble.”

— Diane Carter, RN, MSN, President and CEO, AADNS, Denver

“That not every nurse can do it. It is a specialty that encompasses every entity. There are multiple components and you have to be able to compile all of it.”

— Susan LupPlace, RN, BNS, DNS, Independent Nurse Consultant, Rowlett, TX

“Geriatric nursing isn't recognized as a specialty, and it should be, because it is. I love it, but as a DON, it is a 24-hour-a-day, all-encompassing job. It's something you do with great dedication.”

— Gloria Blackmon, BNS, RN-BC, DNS-CT, Director of Nursing, Mason Pointe Lutheran Senior Services, Chesterfield, MO

“The capacity of what RNs and LPNs do for a resident. I wish they understood all of the components involved with not just the nurses, but with CNAs and physician therapists.”

— Barbarella Hill, Director of Nursing, Canyonlands Care Center, Moab, UT 

“I hope that people recognize the vast skill set needed to be a post-acute nurse. It requires sensitivity to personal needs.”

— Kathy Owens, RN, MSN, DNS-CT, Senior Vice President of Clinical Services, SavaSeniorCare, Atlanta

“That we have more patient care skills than sitting by the bed. There is a lot of critical thinking involved.”

— Suzanne Garcia, Director of Nursing, Holiday Resort, Emporia, KS