Is Ambulatory Care Nursing For You?

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According to the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN), “Professional ambulatory care nursing is a complex, multifaceted specialty that encompasses independent and collaborative practice.” Ambulatory care nursing is a specialization that requires making quick judgments during life-threatening situations. If you’re considering a career in nursing, ambulatory care may be right for you.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the Regis College’s Online Master of Science in Nursing program.

A look at the role of the ambulatory care nurse, including the steps RNs need to take to fill the position.

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What the Job Looks Like

The ambulatory care nursing specialty involves nursing, health sciences, clinical expertise, and the nursing process. Professional responsibilities include having a firsthand, unique perspective on issues and patient needs, assessing a patient’s health history, lab test results, and patient complaints, educating patients on strategies to support well-being, and seeing the patient as a whole person and their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Characteristics of Ambulatory Care Nursing Professionals

Ambulatory care nurses possess a strong capacity for critical reasoning and clinical judgment during emergency and life-threatening situations as well as daily activities. They must also have solid interpersonal communication skills when they interact with patients and other health care professionals. They must always be cognizant of patient safety during nursing interventions, following regulatory standards and institutional procedures. Additionally, they must contain the capacity to coordinate and collaborate nursing services among physicians, nursing staff, community health resources, and patients. Finally, they must be supportive and caring professionals while assisting patients and families, ones that respect beliefs, cultural differences, and treatment preferences.

Ways to Make an Impact

Ambulatory care nurses work in a variety of settings, making an impact on patients of all ages with a wide range of conditions. They make an impact in numerous settings, including government agencies and departments, home health and hospice facilities, private and public hospitals, telehealth and call centers, community health centers, through managed care plans, medical offices, and schools.

How they Make an Impact

There are numerous ways ambulatory care nurses make an impact. In addition to serving communities across a wide variety of care settings, they propose safety and quality improvements to shape and improve care. They also advocate on city council and state advisory boards as well as in Congress. Additionally, they serve on communities for professional health care associations. Finally, they strive to provide care that maximizes wellness, manages chronic and acute diseases, and prevents illnesses.

Career Paths in Primary Care

Students interested in ambulatory care can start out as registered nurses. Primary Care Nurse Practitioners work alongside Ambulatory Care Nurses, providing care to patients in life-threatening conditions.

Ambulatory Care Nurses – Job Responsibilities

The ambulatory care nurse profession carries several job responsibilities. They’re tasked with assessing a patient’s condition and record observations. They’re also charged with assisting in performing diagnostic tests and administering medicine and treatments to patients. Additionally, they consult with physicians and other health care professionals. Finally, they’re responsible for using and monitoring various pieces of medical equipment.

Students must pass a certification exam to become a certified ambulatory care nurse. To be eligible for the exam, they must have a current registered nurse (RN) license and must have two years’ experience as a full-time RN. They must also possess 2,000 hours of clinical practice in an ambulatory care nursing setting, as well as 30 hours of continuing education in ambulatory care nursing within the past three years.

To prepare for the exam, applicants should review and study the Core Curriculum in Ambulatory Care Nursing, which is offered by the AAACN. They should also sign up for individual study and complete learning activities offered by the AAACN Online Library.

Primary Care Nurse Practitioners – Job Responsibilities

The role of a primary care nurse practitioner carries numerous tasks. They must perform physical exams and record observations. They’re also tasked with providing diagnoses of patient conditions, as well as administering medicine and treatment to patients. Additionally, they’re charged with using and monitoring medical equipment. They also handle ordering diagnostic tests. Finally, they must evaluate a patient’s response to treatment, and alter treatment as necessary. Nurses are required to have a master’s degree in nursing before being considered for a primary care NP position.

The median pay in 2017 for registered nurses is $70,000, while the median pay for nurse practitioners in 2017 is $110,930.

Nurse practitioners working in ambulatory care settings provide advanced care to patients suffering from life-threatening conditions. Together with RNs, NPs work to improve patient safety and overall quality of care. Daily responsibilities can vary greatly, but ultimately, these health care professionals collaborate with other staff members to make an impact on patients’ recover and well-being. Ambulatory care nursing may be ideal for professionals with strong critical reasoning and judgment skills who thrive in fast-paced work environments.