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Ambulatory Care Nurse: Education and Career Information

With the landscape of the healthcare environment changing, there are a number of careers that function outside of a hospital setting that still impact the way medical services are rendered. One of these positions is the ambulatory care nurse, who works outside of the traditional healthcare setting, providing education and pain management for patients who require more of an outpatient treatment. This can be a very lucrative career path, as ambulatory care nurses are also registered nurses who work in a specialized field. This is a diverse field with indication that there is an increased need for ambulatory care nurses in the hospital environment, which further reinforces the need for this specialized area. Ambulatory care nurses are also called staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse supervisor and nursing director.

What does an ambulatory care nurse do?

An ambulatory care nurse helps chronically injured patients who are getting outpatient treatment. They are in charge of a wide range of services, including case management, discharge planning, screening and a host of other duties and interventions that will increase the quality of life for their patients and help them live independent of a medical guide. Ambulatory care nurses have a high degree of versatility. You can find them working in schools, urgent care centers, community clinics and pain management centers.

These nurses quickly assess patient needs, creating effective care plans that aid in getting results. These nurses must be able to think quickly and administer services to a large client base in short periods of time. They are able to stress prevention and primary care with a larger scale of personalization than what may be received in a general hospital setting.

The ambulatory care nurse is making its own lane in the field of nursing, providing highly skilled nurses in interventions that also require a strong advocacy mindset. There are a number of videos on YouTube that describe this field in depth to help determine whether this would be the right career path for certain individuals.

How much does an ambulatory care nurse earn?

The BLS indicates that the ambulatory care nurse profession is growing. The average salary for an ambulatory care nurse is about $62,000. The field is expected to grow by 26% through 2022. Salaries vary based on education and location. Nurses who have experience and education beyond the standard bachelor’s degree have a higher chance of making more money. Additionally, having a specialization also increases the potential for financial gain.

What type of skills are required to be an ambulatory care nurse?

There are a number of skills needed to be an ambulatory care nurse:

Patience: This job is consistently changing based on where you work. There can be a high degree of stress one day, and a very calm and serene environment the next. An ambulatory care nurse should be able to maintain a calm and cool manner no matter what the situation is.

Assessment: An ambulatory care nurse must be able to assess a patient and recommend solutions for treatment that work. They are well-versed in a variety of diagnoses and techniques to make patient lives better.

Focus: An ambulatory care nurse must be focused, as they are dealing with a number of clients on a consistent basis. This helps ensure clients are being properly treated and cared for. Because this is a very diverse position, being able to work in a number of settings with the same focus on getting results is very important.

Versatility: An ambulatory care nurse must be able to juggle a variety of things at one time to keep their productivity high and effectiveness even higher. There are a number of tasks that are required for each patient, and the ambulatory care nurse is needed to provide pain management and alternative treatment plans that maintain or foster an independent way of life. The roles of an ambulatory care nurse also changes, and may vary depending on the type of facility they are working in at a particular time.

Customer service skills: Customer service skills are mandatory in the field of nursing, especially in this specialized area where the interaction is more personalized.

Internship Requirements

There are a number of internship requirements needed to obtain the initial RN designation. The amount of time needed to intern depends on the program you are in. The internship component of this specialized field includes over 2,000 hours of clinical practice once the RN designation has been obtained to qualify for the ambulatory care certification. Depending on what type of program you are enrolled in, the criteria may change.

Educational requirements

The educational requirements needed to become an ambulatory care nurse are detailed. First, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree of nursing from an accredited program to be able to sit for the RN exam. Nursing programs vary in the time needed to get the educational requirements. A nursing program can deliver a Diploma in Nursing, or they can obtain a three year degree. Most registered nurses obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing, which is two years. A more comprehensive degree, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a four year program.

After obtaining your degree, nursing candidates must sit for the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse. In order to become an ambulatory care nurse, you must work for two years as a registered nurse and deliver 2,000 hours of clinical practice in ambulatory care, and 30 hours of continuing education. This will fulfill all the requirements needed to sit for the Ambulatory Care Nurse Certification examination.

This is a specialized area of nursing that can be very rewarding. It takes a lot of work to obtain the necessary specialization, but is well worth the time and effort involved in getting it done. Taking the time to research this field and determine whether or not this would be a good fit is key. While there are a number of areas where RNs do their best work, this could be a lucrative and interesting position in a field that is consistently growing.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association

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