Registered nurses who work in the outpatient or clinic setting are ambulatory care nurses.
The patients in this healthcare setting aren’t critically ill, and they rarely stay overnight.
Doctor’s offices (adult, pediatrics, OBGYN), outpatient surgery centers, orthopedics, and occupational medicine are examples of the ambulatory care departments.
Similar to other nursing fields, nurses who work in ambulatory care also have to deal with specific challenges.
More patients are coming to the outpatient setting and those with higher acuity are going into clinics.
The example of this shift is the most obvious in primary care.
Patients have discharged form emergency departments, and they get instructions to call their primary care doctor.
Also, a patient can be admitted to the hospital with higher issues and they need a more advanced level of care, which they cannot get in the clinic setting.
More examples describe these situations.
For example, if a patient diagnosed with acute disease processes, such a stroke or MI, fail to identify life-threatening symptoms and don’t schedule an appointment with the doctor.
In those cases, an ambulatory care nurse must act quickly to organize a transfer to the appropriate level of care.
Ambulatory care nurses often work in understaff work setting.
In several departments there is no need for plenty of nurses, so the majority of ambulatory care nurses work solo or have one or two colleagues.
Physicians and nurse practitioners are often present during the shift, but RNs rely on each other to get support, communicate, and help with patient care issues.
Ambulatory care nurses have plenty of administrative duties and some ambulatory care areas are similar to any business.
They need to learn how to order supplies, make appointments, and to communicate with patients via telephone and provide patient care.
Many of these skills aren’t part of the training in nursing schools.
However, the majority of ambulatory care nurses often master these skills easily.
The ambulatory nursing field is challenging, but nurses are trained to adapt and overcome any of the challenges they face during their daily work.