Nursing Home Jobs: Work Environment, Skills and Benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 9, 2022 | Published March 29, 2021

Updated August 9, 2022

Published March 29, 2021

Nursing homes provide comprehensive care to aging residents. There are several rewarding careers to choose from at nursing homes. If you're looking for meaningful work that allows you to care for and build relationships with people, a job in a nursing home may be for you.

In this article, we provide an overview of common nursing home jobs, describe nursing home work environments, list key skills for this field and discuss the benefits of nursing home work.

What is a nursing home job?

Nursing home staff consists of several professionals who collectively work to support their residents. These employees may specialize in healthcare, business or other disciplines. Each nursing home worker fulfills a specific role in delivering high-quality care to residents and maintaining efficient facility operations. Some common nursing home jobs are:

  • Receptionists

  • Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants

  • Registered nurses

  • Licensed practical nurses

  • Certified nursing assistants

  • Occupational therapy aides

  • Speech-language pathologists

  • Housekeeping cleaners

  • Food preparation workers

  • Event coordinators

  • Care coordinators

  • Nursing home directors

Read more: 16 Positions in Nursing Homes To Consider

Nursing home work environment

Nursing homes are complex healthcare facilities consisting of multiple departments that focus on specific services. Each department collaborates to prioritize the physical, mental and emotional health of their residents. Because of this, nursing homes are often highly collaborative and social environments.

Related: 10 Nursing Jobs You Can Do From Home

Skills for nursing home jobs

Although there are many different jobs available at nursing homes, many professionals who work in this field share similar traits and skills such as:

Interpersonal skills

Nursing home workers use strong interpersonal skills to build rapport and establish trust with residents and their families. Being outgoing and friendly are components of this skill set. Interpersonal aptitude can make it easier to connect with nursing home residents, which not only increases the quality of the care you provide, but can also make this role enjoyable.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Verbal communication skills

Nursing home workers use verbal communication skills to interpret information and instructions, which they must clearly relay to residents and their families.

While every resident is different, there are common communication barriers for elderly people, including impaired hearing, loss of sight and cognitive impairments, which can make it difficult for them to express their thoughts. When communicating with residents, provide them with extra time to listen, interpret and speak during your conversations.

Observational skills

Observational skills are a critical aspect of nursing home work because they help ensure workers anticipate and meet residents' needs. Observing residents and their day-to-day habits and routines may provide several nonverbal cues that can help you identify unspoken concerns, such as signs of pain, illness or changes in mood.

Being observant and interpreting nonverbal cues can help your residents feel more understood, which can result in higher quality care.

Read more: Complete Guide to Nonverbal Communication in the Workplace

Patience

Working with nursing home residents can require a significant amount of patience. Some residents may have difficulty retaining information and need reminders of certain things frequently, such as why they need to take their medication.

Some residents may be resistant to change or upset at times, and patience helps nursing home workers navigate these situations with sensitivity.

Organization

Nursing home employees often work with multiple residents who have their own unique sets of needs. It's important to closely monitor each resident to ensure they're receiving the right treatment, medication and care.

Being organized can also help you remember personal details about each of your residents, which you can recall during your conversations with them.

Compassion

Showing compassion to residents and their families is important for resident satisfaction and delivering high-quality care. Displaying compassion helps residents feel safe and can significantly ease their transition into a nursing home, which can be challenging for many.

Benefits of working in a nursing home

Working in a nursing home can be a fulfilling and rewarding career that comes with many benefits, including:

Stability

As more of the population approaches retirement age, nursing home workers remain in demand. Since there will always be elderly people in need of quality care, experts anticipate this industry will continue to grow, providing more job opportunities for qualified professionals.

Flexibility

Many nursing homes offer flexible work schedules. There are opportunities to choose the specific days of the week and hours you prefer to work. Whether you're pursuing your education, raising a family or returning to the workforce, this field offers part-time and full-time job opportunities to fit many schedules.

Meaningful relationships with residents

A core component of nursing home work is assisting residents over an extended period of time. You'll get to know your residents well and develop relationships with them and their families as you provide them with emotional, mental and physical support.

For many nursing home employees, the opportunity to make meaningful connections and develop relationships with their residents is one of the most rewarding aspects of this work.

Variety in day-to-day routine

Most jobs in nursing homes allow you to interact with many types of residents and their families. Nursing home workers regularly encounter situations that provide them opportunities to learn new information and develop new skills.

For example, each resident has their own profiles and diagnoses, so there may be times when you learn how to administer different treatments and therapies. Nursing home workers typically manage and oversee several processes, so no two days are exactly the same.

Career progression

There are many opportunities for nursing home workers to advance to higher positions. Many nursing home workers start as care assistants and eventually become qualified nurses.

Alternatively, some coordinators work their way up through management to have a more active role in the planning and direction of the facility.

Regardless of their role, nursing home workers receive significant on-the-job training, develop skills and earn qualifications that are transferable to various positions within nursing homes and the healthcare industry.

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