How Do You Become a Sub-Acute Nurse?

Anyone who wants to become a sub-acute nurse must first graduate from an approved and accredited school of nursing, and then earn a registered nurse license through their State Board of Nursing. Sub-acute nurses are health care professionals who treat patients that require 24/7 service and support. Once a patient stabilizes, they may be either discharged or moved to a facility that provides a lower level of care, such as an assisted-living home. Most sub-acute nurses work with elderly patients, but they also work with critically ill and injured patients. Some sub-acute nurses specialize in nursing areas like cardiac surgery or post-operation care.

Get a Nursing Degree

Registered nurses may obtain an Associate of Science in Nursing and qualify for the RN exam with legitimate nursing experience. These degree programs will train students in the fundamentals of nursing. Students learn about the nursing process, client safety, initial assessments, vital sign monitoring and therapeutic communication. Students learn how to effectively document actions and provide detailed reports to physicians. Nursing pathology teaches knowledge of the body’s systems and processes used in clinical decision-making. Classes on nursing pharmacology include topics like drug actions, interactions, adverse effects and classifications.

Students learn basic teaching skills in order to advocate for health promotion, risk reduction behaviors and disease management programs. Medical and surgical nursing coursework provides students with the assessment, basic critical and communication skills needed to effective engage in nursing care planning, education and interventions. Students take classes in human anatomy and physiology, so they understand the body’s systems, such as the renal, cardiac, endocrine and respiratory systems. These programs may include specialized classes in topics like pediatric and geriatric nursing, which trains students to deal with specific populations.

Accumulate Nursing Experience

Graduates of nursing programs will qualify for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which they must pass in order to become a state licensed registered nurse. Once this is complete, RNs should choose jobs that involve patient assessments, which will teach them how to collect, validate and record objective facts. Assessing patients will involve the analysis and identification of actual and potential problems based on data. RNs should increase their care planning skills, so they know how to establish realistic and measurable goals for health problems and needs. Care planning also involves the development and implementation of individualized interventions to achieve specific goals, timelines and outcomes.

Sub-acute nurses must have experience implementing and evaluating patient care. This will imply that they know how to perform nursing functions, provide care within scopes of practice, verify medical orders, delegate duties as appropriate. Implementing care experience means that the RN knows how to administer medications, communicate interventions and performs treatments per physician orders. Employers want sub-acute nurses who have experience managing patient care through coordinating documentation and communication based on care complexity, staff competency, patient responses, company policies and state regulations.

Related Resource: How Do You Become a Nurse Advocate?

Health care providers who want to become a sub-acute nurse should seek team leadership positions that require them delegate tasks, follow intervention and implement policies. Experience with complex discharge procedures, interdisciplinary care meetings and shift-to-shift communication exchanges will be helpful in finding employment as a sub-acute nurse.