African American travel nurse looking at a clipboard and sitting in an office at a table.

Key Differences Between Post-Acute Care Vs. Skilled Nursing Jobs

October 5, 2022

Post-acute care and skilled nursing are terms often used interchangeably but they are not the same. Both share the goal of helping patients regain ability and autonomy after injury or trauma. In fact, skilled nursing facilities are a key part of post-acute patient care. So let’s clear up any confusion and answer the question, post-acute care vs. skilled nursing, what’s the difference?

Venn diagram of post-acute care vs skilled nursing jobs with locations and facilities listed.

What is Post-Acute Care?

Post-acute care covers patients during the short term after a hospital stay. A patient in a post-acute care center is typically too stable to be admitted to the hospital but not stable enough to be discharged home. These patients usually require follow-up services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, intravenous therapy, wound care, etc. Depending on the type of injury or trauma, treatment required, and insurance coverage, patients can stay for days or several weeks, as long as necessary for recovery. An exception to this is hospice care for patients whose comfort is managed until they pass.  

Post-acute care consists of diverse services including:  

  • Skilled nursing  
  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Long-term care
  • Hospice care
  • Respite care
  • Outpatient social work

Just as treatment plans vary by case, so do the locations where care is given.

Post-Acute care can be provided in a variety of settings as well:  

  • Long term care hospitals
  • Inpatient rehabilitations facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • At home through home health agencies

What is Skilled Nursing?

Skilled nursing is a key part of post-acute care. Skilled nursing care is short-term care focused on helping patients regain the ability to resume the activities of daily living after an illness, injury, or procedure. Skilled nursing care can be offered in flexible locations depending on the patient’s needs. A physician must order these services and they are carried out by qualified professionals. Skilled nursing care can include administering medications and using medical equipment, so it must be provided by a licensed health professional.

These are the clinicians who typically administer skilled nursing care:

  • Registered nurse
  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Licensed vocational nurse
  • Audiologist
  • Speech language pathologist

Skilled nursing can be provided in a variety of settings based on the needs of the patient including:

  • Inpatient/hospital settings
  • Assisted living centers
  • Life Plan communities
  • Nursing homes

So as you can see, there isn’t a significant difference in post-acute care versus skilled nursing because skilled nursing is just a subset of post-acute care. Both types of care are vital to our healthcare system. Both services provide respite from hospital overcrowding as well as complete care for patients by decreasing their risk of readmission.  

How to Find Post-Acute Care & Skilled Nursing Jobs

Advantis Medical Staffing is here to help support your career journey into skilled nursing or post-acute care nursing. From helping you find jobs in your dream destinations to assisting in finding houses, our team is here to be your travel career companions. Sign up on AdvantisConnect to get connected to your personal recruiter.

In addition to guiding you through the nuances of post-acute care and skilled nursing, Advantis Medical Staffing offers a range of exciting opportunities in these specialties. If you're looking to expand your career in MedSurg-Tele nursing, we have several positions available across different locations. Explore a fulfilling MedSurg-Tele nursing role in Charlotte, NC, or consider the vibrant and diverse experiences with our MedSurg-Tele position in Milwaukee, WI. For those interested in opportunities in the Northeast, we also have a MedSurg-Tele opening in Rochester, NY, and if you're drawn to the Midwest, check out our MedSurg-Tele position in Oklahoma City, OK. Each of these roles offers a unique setting to practice and enhance your skills in MedSurg-Tele nursing, supported by the comprehensive benefits and professional support provided by Advantis Medical. Start your journey today by exploring these opportunities and connecting with us for your next travel nursing adventure.

Share this post: