Ambulatory Care Nursing

Ambulatory care nursing is a unique specialty within the profession of nursing. It involves promoting health and prevention of disease, illness, and disability in the individual by rapid, focused assessments. A key characteristic is extensive involvement with the patient and the family. The emphasis of ambulatory care nursing is on aiding both the patient and family in maximizing wellness and minimizing the symptoms of the condition, chronic or acute, in a cost-effective way. Practice standards are provided by the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing as well as the American Nurses Association.

Ambulatory care nursing is community-based and usually takes place in specialty or community clinics, outpatient surgical centers, urgent care centers, schools, workplaces and pain management centers. It can often involve issues that are unpredictable. Ambulatory care patients are usually receiving care from family or others outside of a hospital setting or practice self-managed health activities.

Patients of ambulatory care nursing are usually dealt with rapidly and in high volumes during a short period of time, with services taking place on an episodic basis. The episodes are often over a short span of time, less than 24 hours, and can include one visit or a series of visits over days, weeks, months or even years. Communication with the patient may include not only face-to-face personal visits, but also telecommunications or Internet communication.

Recently there has been a decrease of inpatient hospital care with a corresponding increase in the demand for more extensive outpatient care. This has resulted in a greater need for ambulatory care nursing. The specialty is also expanding due to the pressure of physicians to treat more patients in less time. Other issues that ambulatory care nursing is able to address are the growing older population and an increase in less invasive technologies.

Want to become involved in ambulatory care nursing? You will need an advanced nursing degree, RN to BSN degree, or LPN to BSN degree. Or you can learn more about these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing
» Master of Science in Nursing

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