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Ambulatory Nursing

Ambulatory care nursing is a specialty within the industry that is characterized by the rapid-paced, focused assessments of patients; translating and teaching about the prescriptions so they become doable activities for caregivers and patients; and maintaining long-term relationships with nurses, patients and families.

These types of nurses work in settings that deal with outpatients. These nurses also respond to a high amount of patients within a short period of time while dealing with sometimes unpredictable situations. This specialty covers a wide range of populations from patients of wellness and prevention to patients in support of dying.

What Are Some Ambulatory Care Nursing Basic Job Skills?

Nurses use evidence-based information to achieve patient safety and to ensure the quality of care. There are certain characteristics that help define the ambulatory care nurse. Nurses in this field must have critical reasoning skills and advanced clinical judgment in order to provide a patient with expedited care and treatment that is appropriate. This is especially important due to the fact that there may be life-threatening conditions or complex problems when dealing with patients.

What Is A Typical Ambulatory Care Nursing Job Environment?

Ambulatory care nurses work in a variety of settings which include medical offices, ambulatory surgery centers, nurse managed clinics, freestanding health clinics, care coordination organizations, patients’ homes, comprehensive health care systems and telehealth service environments. These nurses interact with patients face-to-face or through various strategies within telecommunication and often build long-term relationships. This type of nursing is essential when assessing a patient as well as triaging, nurse consulting, following up and surveying the status’ and outcomes of the patients. During each visit, ambulatory nurses identify and clarify the patient’s needs, performs necessary procedures, educates the patient on medical information, promotes advocacy within the patient, coordinates health services and evaluates the patient’s outcome.

What Is The Required Education To Become An Ambulatory Care Nurse?

Bachelor's Degree

In order to be an ambulatory care nurse, you must be a registered nurse (RN) with at least two years of work experience. Although no additional training is required to become an ambulatory care nurse, most states prefer the certification that is available. In order to gain your certification, you must first document 2,000 hours of experience within the last three years in the ambulatory care nursing field. This simply equates to approximately one year of full-time work experience. Additionally, you must have completed continuing education for ambulatory care nursing equal to 30 hours within the past three years.

Associate's Degree

You will be able to enter into the field of nursing with as little as an associate’s degree in nursing, which provides you with enough formal education to be eligible to take the registered nursing examination. You can also choose to receive a diploma from a program at a hospital. Other options include obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a master’s degree in nursing. Most nurses tend to strive for at least a bachelor’s degree as it is widely accepted by employers across the country. This option also leaves them open to continuing their education at the graduate level when they are ready to further their knowledge base.

Master's Degree

If you are striving for a master’s degree, you may be able to find some nursing programs with a specialization in ambulatory care nursing. While in school, you will be required to participate in clinicals as a part of the curriculum. Additionally, you will obtain more on-the-job training once you graduate, which will then prepare you to take the certification exam. It is also ideal for you to become a member of a professional nursing association such as the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. Once you begin working, you can expect to make around $44,000 annually as this is the median salary for nurses in this field.

Additional Resources

  • Ambulatory Care Nurse: This link is a page to information and news for registered nurses. This specific page describes, in detail, the description of the role of ambulatory care nurses. This information includes practice roles, characteristics, desirable skills and educational information in reference to requirements.
  • American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing: This links to the official site of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. On this site, you can find a wide range of information on certification, publication and other resources for ambulatory care nursing.
  • American Nurses Association: This is the official site to the American Nurses Association which is the only professional organization that is a full service representation of the 3.1 million registered nurses. This organization advances the profession of nursing by heightening the practice of nursing and promoting nurse’s rights.
  • Virtual University: Website to the Virtual University where you can obtain educational credits towards your ambulatory care nursing education.
  • Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia: This links to the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia where you can find professional information, information for patients, sponsors and the opportunity to join the membership.
  • Ambulatory Care: This link provides you with information on the career of an ambulatory care nurse including an overview, job outlook, typical venues and industry opportunities.
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center: This links to the official site of the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA) is the most prestigious and largest credentialing organization for nurses.
  • National Nurses United: This website links to the National Nurses United organization and is the main site for all locations. On this site, you will find information for affiliates and organizations in different states such as Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Colorado.
  • Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society: This links to the official site of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society. This link provides you with information on education, researching, funding the annual conference and member center.
  • Registered Nurses: This links to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. On this site you will find a wealth of information on the nature of the work, training qualifications, employment, projections and wages.