Shadowing a Doctor

May 15, 2014

Becoming An Ambulatory Care Nurse

Assisting patients on the ward Ambulatory care nurses are nursing professionals who treat patients seeking routine medical care, whether for injuries or acute or chronic illnesses, outside of a hospital setting. As an ambulatory care nurse, you would typically work with patients on an outpatient basis only.

Within this specialty, there are several subspecialties that you can choose from, so pursuing this career will allow you to truly follow your passion. For example, you may opt to specialise in paediatric nursing, women’s health or geriatric nursing or you could choose a specialty that puts you in a position to treat patients with certain types of injuries or illnesses.

Job Description of Ambulatory Care Nursing

During a work day, an ambulatory nurse may treat several different patients with a variety of medical problems. If you are looking to pursue this specialty, you should work towards mastering basic nursing skills, such as phlebotomy procedures.

On the job, you will have to evaluate patients quickly and accurately, as ambulatory care facilities are often on tight schedules and filled with anxious patients. Patient evaluation may involve taking samples, monitoring vital signs and discussing symptoms in order to establish the possible cause or severity of the medical problem and the most appropriate course of action. These professionals usually confer with doctors and other nurses to determine the general health of their patients.

Communication with patients is also an extremely important part of being an ambulatory care nurse. Much like other areas of nursing, communicating with and treating patients is usually the most important aspect of ambulatory care nursing. You should be able to clearly communicate your message, explaining different illnesses, injuries and medical procedures in a way that patients can understand while maintaining a friendly demeanour and a good dose of compassion and understanding. It is not uncommon for ambulatory care nurses to build a relationship and rapport with their patients, particularly since most ambulatory care centres tend to serve a list of regular patients.

Ambulatory care nurses typically work hours that are often more predictable and stable than the hours worked by some other nursing specialists, such as emergency nurses. These nurses also typically deal with less serious complications and fewer health emergencies as compared to some other nurses. Because of this, many ambulatory nurses find this area of nursing to be less stressful than other areas.

Ambulatory Care Nurse Training

To become a certified ambulatory care nurse, you must first obtain a valid registered nurse (RN) license. This involves earning a nursing diploma or degree and passing the NCLEX-RN – the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses.

After you’ve worked as an RN for at least two years, in addition to 2,000 hours of ambulatory care or telehealth experience, you can sit for the ambulatory care nurse certification examination, which certifies you to practice in this specialty.

The majority of ambulatory care nurses work outside of the hospital setting, in a physician office or private clinic.