An ambulatory care nurse is a nurse who works in outpatient settings such as doctor’s offices, health clinics, and outpatient surgery centers to provide care to non-hospitalized and able-bodied patients. These nurses may even visit a patient in their home. Patients of ambulatory care nurses are typically mobile and moderately self-sufficient, despite the fact that their illnesses can range from mild to severe. The ambulatory care nurse’s role is to monitor and treat such patients using preventative care strategies so that serious health problems do not arise, resulting in hospitalization, debilitation, or complete dependency. Nurses in ambulatory care do this developing close and ongoing relationships with patients and caregivers in order to ensure that treatment is continued and that patients’ health is maintained.
Screenings, pain management, prescription advice, and general consultation are some of the preventative treatments and services provided an ambulatory care nurse. Ambulatory care nurses, who must all be licensed nurses, are also expected to provide patient education, rehabilitation tips, and advice on good health habits. An ambulatory care nurse may also be responsible for coordinating the care provided all of the patient’s doctors.
This advice can be given in person, but it’s more common to get it over the phone; for example, an ambulatory care nurse will usually call to follow up on a patient’s surgery and monitor their response to new medication or equipment. Because follow-up consultations may reveal issues with recovery or adjustment that the nurse will be responsible for addressing through emergency intervention, problem solving and the ability to think critically are two key skills of ambulatory care nurses.
Unlike hospital-based nurses, ambulatory care nurses see a large number of patients on a regular, long-term basis over the course of several years or life stages. Individual interactions with patients, on the other hand, are typically brief, lasting anywhere from less than an hour to a few days; hospitalized nurses, on the other hand, may spend weeks with a patient before never seeing him again. Patients and doctors, as well as other health-care professionals, frequently rely on ambulatory care nurses to act as liaisons. They are in charge of communicating the patient’s needs and concerns to the rest of the medical team.
Aside from patient care and data collection, an ambulatory care nurse’s responsibilities may include evaluating nursing services for compliance with local and national laws and regulations. Many medical facilities also have professional development initiatives in the works. An ambulatory care nurse’s responsibilities also include supervising unlicensed nurses or practical nurses and delegating tasks to such coworkers. Ambulatory care nurses must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in addition to having a registered nurse license.