Old age sometimes comes with a lot of challenges and health complications. Safety and wellness nurses are registered nurses who ensure the day-to-day health needs of the elderly people in society are met. These nurses help the elderly to lead healthy lifestyles by taking care of their emotional, psychological and physical well-being. Excellent communication skills, patience and the will to help the elderly are very crucial in this profession.
What Do Safety and Wellness Nurses Do?
The general duties of safety and wellness nurses include:
- Guiding patients in physical therapy, exercise and diet plan
- Explaining the benefits of the wellness plans to the patient
- Keeping accurate records on the progress of the patient
- Making contact with family and friends of patients if need be
- Administering medication
- Collaborating with gerontologists and other community health practitioners
- Responding quickly and appropriately to medical emergencies
- Ensuring that the elderly residences meet state set standards
Safety and wellness nurses mostly work from private residences or senior living residences. Although they typically work on shift patterns, you can expect to be called in to render your services even when you are not formally on duty.
Just like all other healthcare providers, these nurse work in very clean environments and should observe all the occupational safety precautions such as wearing gloves when injecting patients, to avoid contracting infections.
The average salary for a safety and wellness nurse in the US is:
Annual Average Wage
All registered nurses
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
To become a safety and wellness nurse, you must begin by become registered (RN) nurse and later move into safety and wellness. To qualify as an RN, you must complete the following steps:
- Earn a diploma, associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution
- Pass the National Council Licensure Examination to earn a nursing license, and meet other requirements which may be put forth by your state.
The final step is to pursue additional training in fields such as elderly care, safety and wellness or occupational therapy, and find a job as a safety and wellness nurse.
Skills, Qualities and Abilities
Apart from the nursing knowledge you will gain in college, you will also require:
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Good observation, assessment and decision making skills
- Patience, empathy and tolerance
- A strong heart and the will to help the elderly
- The ability to keep patients’ health information confidential
- The ability to work calmly under pressure
- Physical stamina as the job may involve carrying patients
- Good skills in organizing and planning
Although many safety and wellness nurses prefer to provide direct care to patients for the entire period of their careers, others seek career advancement opportunities. If you belong to the latter group, here is what you should do to boost your progression chances:
- Gain vast work experience
- Earn a professional certification, such as the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, which is offered by the American Nurses Association (ANA).
- Pursue a master’s degree in nursing administration.
The employers of safety and wellness nurses include:
- Senior living centers
- Providers of home healthcare services
- Nursing homes
With vast experience and a master’s degree you could be hired as a nurse administrator or wellness director– a position that will enable you to manage all the nursing aspects of an elderly care facility.
According to the Bureau of labor statistics, the demand for registered nurses will grow by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022. With the baby boomers retiring, there will be many elderly people in need of healthcare services. This means more employment opportunities for safety and wellness nurses.
So if you have a passion for health care and enjoy working with the elderly then this may be the right career choice for you.