What is a Sub-Acute Nurse?

Have you ever heard of a sub-acute nurse? This new nursing specialty is growing quickly, and you should know about this option if you’re considering a career move to nursing. As a sub-acute nurse, you’ll care for patients who need constant medical supervision and support to recover from surgery, accidents or severe illness. If you want to combine the thrill of urgent medical situations with the emotional satisfaction of helping patients through recovery, this line of work is perfect for you.

What Do Sub-Acute Nurses Do?

Registered nurses in the sub-acute field care for a fragile patient population. They must assess their patients every day to detect any health changes, manage wounds and intravenous sites to limit infection and educate patients and families on the fastest way to recover. Although sub-acute patients are more stable than those in intensive care, they still experience emergency health changes. Nurses in the sub-acute wards must be ready to detect the sudden onset of heart attacks and strokes, perform CPR and manage coding teams.

What Is the Job Outlook for Sub-Acute Nursing?

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have been forced to rapidly change their business practices. To save money and improve patient outcomes, many hospitals are creating sub-acute nursing wards for patients who need extra attention during recovery. Because these wings cost less money than intensive care units, but still deliver high-quality care, sub-acute nursing areas are growing rapidly. As the health care industry enjoys the greatest job growth in the country, registered nurses can expect long-term career stability, according to the CT Post. Sub-acute nurses will experience even higher rates of job demand as hospitals look for the most cost-effective way to provide skilled nursing care to patients.

Become a Sub-Acute Nurse?

The first step to becoming a registered nurse is completing a degree in nursing. If you want to enter the field as quickly as possible, consider an Associate of Science in Nursing program. You can earn your degree in two years and be ready to start working. Later on, you can complete an RN to BSN program and get your bachelor degree. Another path to working as a sub-acute nurse is enrolling in a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. While these programs take three to four years to complete, you’ll have access to more jobs than your ASN counterparts. Sub-acute nursing managers often prefer applicants with bachelor-level training as you’ll be prepared to handle the complex needs of your patients with an advanced degree.

Once you’ve completed your nursing degree, you’ll need to pass a licensing exam and apply for a nursing license. Your school should have dedicated resources to prepare you for this exam, and the material you’ll learn in class will prepare you to do well. Obtaining a nursing license requires a clean criminal background and appropriate character, but exceptions to this rule can be granted. Contact your state’s nursing board if you have any questions about obtaining a license where you live.

Related Resource: Become a Flight Nurse

In the coming decades, hospitals will need thousands of licensed nurses to staff sub-acute wards. When you’re planning out your nursing career, don’t forget to imagine yourself as a sub-acute nurse.