What Is an Ambulatory Nurse?
An ambulatory nurse is a registered nurse who works on an outpatient basis. Ambulatory care is basically any type of medical care that is delivered outside of a hospital. There are many types of assessments and forms of care that do not require a patient to check in to a hospital in order to receive treatment.
This also includes treatment that could be done in a hospital, but can also be handled in the office of a practicing physician or community clinic. Ambulatory nurses are qualified to give care anywhere, including a patient’s home, schools, workplaces and pain management centers. The types of care an ambulatory nurse provides vary depending on the needs of the patient. Care may be focused on anything from health maintenance to support of the dying. Many of the patients treated by ambulatory care nurses have chronic illnesses that need to be treated on an episodic basis.
An ambulatory nurse can work all types of hours and in all types of locations. An individual must be comfortable working one-on-one with others and have excellent abilities of analysis in order to succeed.
How to Become an Ambulatory Nurse
In order to become an ambulatory nurse, an individual needs a bachelor’s or associate degree in nursing. Many online and traditional universities offer degrees in nursing that provide students with the background necessary to receive their RN certification. Students can choose from an associate to RN program, a hospital diploma, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Many students opt for a BSN because it provides the most employment opportunities.
Upon receiving their degree, graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN, which is a licensing exam required to practice as a registered nurse in the United States. In order to work as an ambulatory nurse, an RN must have at least two years experience and have over 2,000 hours of training in ambulatory care.
Students must make sure that the nursing program to which they apply is accredited and that they spend time studying for the NCLEX-RN exam during school in order to begin their nursing career and gain the hours necessary to become an ambulatory nurse.
Ambulatory Nurse Career Outlook & Salary
The occupation of nursing is the largest healthcare occupation in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that registered nurses held about 2.6 million jobs in 2008. The majority of registered nurses are employed by hospitals, totaling 60% of all nurses.
The job market for registered nurses is expected to be excellent in the next decade. Although employment will vary geographically and from company to company, the overall employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22% from 2008 to 2018. This is much faster than the growth rate for all other occupations in the United States. Additionally, employment within home healthcare services is expected to grow by about 33% in the next decade. This is especially relevant for ambulatory nurses, as more and more of their care will be provided at the patient’s home.
The median annual wages for all register nurses in 2008 were $62,450 per year. Wages will vary depending on employer and geographical location.