Because subacute nurses help patients who are managing long-term conditions, subacute care can be disheartening when patients’ conditions do not immediately improve. Additionally, with the severity of many patients’ ailments, subacute care can still be stressful, though perhaps not as intense as acute care.
On top of all of this, add the challenges of working with stressed and concerned patients and their families on a longer-term basis, and communication can be a point of friction as well. As a result, the best subacute nurses are clear and compassionate communicators.
What makes subacute nursing rewarding?
Despite these challenges, subacute nursing can also be quite rewarding. Being able to work more directly with patients on a long-term basis means you get to know them better: Their victories and healing become your triumphs too.
Additionally, while patients may not make an immediate, miraculous recovery, because they are managing serious health problems, any improvements along the way are significant successes. As the nurse, you can take heart knowing you helped your patients as they manage long-term ailments.
Traits of subacute nurses
In addition to being solid communicators, subacute nurses need to stay calm under pressure. Even though the job isn’t as stressful as acute nursing, the position still has its share of pressures, just like most jobs in the healthcare field. For instance, managing your time and patient load can be tricky—many patients still have time-intensive care needs, but subacute nurses will likely have a higher number of patients under their care than, say, an ICU nurse.
Along with staying calm during times when you’re being pulled in multiple directions by patient needs, subacute nurses need to keep organized and clear-headed. Recordkeeping is an important aspect of this job that ensures patients get the medication, treatment and care they need.
Finally, subacute nurses need to be able to work with others in a team setting. Whether it’s with other nurses, doctors, rehabilitative specialists or even patients, subacute nurses have to be able to communicate and collaborate with a variety of professionals and people throughout the patient’s care plan.
Is subacute nursing the career path for you?
Subacute nursing bridges the gap between acute and chronic care, providing inpatient care for people with serious ailments. Working in this field offers a variety of places to work, whether you’re drawn to a hospital setting or not. And like all types of nursing, it can make a tangible difference in people’s lives.
If subacute care sounds like the perfect mix of challenge and reward, then a career in this type of nursing could be for you. As you look forward to what this job holds, one qualification you’ll need is being a registered nurse (RN).