The demand for nurses is continuing to rise at a steady rate. Professionals in the primary care nursing sector enjoy a rewarding career that offers many job opportunities and also an excellent salary. Also called ambulatory care nurses, primary care professionals can work in physician offices and walk-in clinics.
Education Requirements for Ambulatory Care Nursing
Nursing school and nursing programs prepare you to be able to take care of patients as a primary care nurse. One degree option is the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a two year program. Also, you could obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree after completing four years of education. To use the title of registered nurse (RN), you must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) after earning a nursing degree.
Many ambulatory nursing professionals are licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and medical assistants (MAs). Some physician offices do not require advanced education for this area of practice. Most LPN programs are only one year in length.
Ambulatory Care Nurse Certification
The American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) offers courses for primary care nurses, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers certification. To earn the credential of Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) in ambulatory care nursing, you must hold an active RN license, practice at least two years as a full-time nurse, and have a minimum of 2,000 clinical hours in primary care nursing.
Ambulatory Care Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries
Primary care nurses work in public health clinics, physician offices, urgent care centers, hospitals, and women’s health facilities. These nurse work alongside of physicians to provide wellness screenings and primary care services to patients. Also, ambulatory care nurse work in specialist offices, such as gastroenterology and oncology.
Most web sources place the average salary of a primary care nurse from $45,000 to $65,000 per year. The exact salary fluctuates as there are different needs in the job field and also positions, and it depends on years of education, place of employment, area of practice, and location of worksite.
Job Duties of the Ambulatory Care Nurse
When you become an ambulatory care nurse, this means that most of your patients are fairly healthy. However, it is not uncommon for these patients to require hospitalization due to different conditions such as sepsis, dehydration, and other disorders. You will assist in the care of patients who have respiratory problems, heart problems, or even diabetes mellitus. You may also treat patients who have cancer or HIV/AIDS. Many ambulatory care nurse work with patients who have undergone a scheduled surgery,and the reasons may vary as to why. The situation for the surgery can be life threatening and also non-life threatening.
You will have other jobs to do in addition to caring for your patients and these include:
- Changing dressings
- Monitoring vital signs
- Administrative paperwork and medical record upkeep
- Following the doctor’s orders
- Administering prescription medications as directed
- Determining progress or decline of patient and inform the doctor<