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How Do I Become an Ambulatory Care Nurse?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

If you are looking for a career which involves helping patients and their families manage long-term illnesses and injuries outside of a hospital setting, you may wish to become an ambulatory care nurse. Before you can become an ambulatory care nurse, you generally must complete a nursing degree and pass any licensing examinations required by your country or state. Then, you must gain nursing experience, taking additional classes, and, if required, pass an ambulatory care nursing exam. As ambulatory care involves a lot of “face time” with patients and a good deal of quick decision making, you may want to consider whether your personality suits the job before you begin your training.

While the exact requirements to become an ambulatory care nurse can vary from country to country, the first step on your journey will likely involve completing a general nursing degree. If you have not yet completed an undergraduate degree, you may opt to enroll in a four-year bachelor’s degree program or a two-year associate’s degree program in nursing. It should be noted that those with an associate’s degree in nursing may have fewer opportunities for advancement than those with a bachelor’s degree. If you have already completed a non-nursing undergraduate degree, you may be eligible to enroll in an accelerated bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing. Once you have earned a general nursing degree, you will probably need to pass a licensing exam before you can begin working as a nurse.


The next step on your quest to become an ambulatory care nurse is to gain one or more years of nursing experience. When you have fulfilled this requirement, you can enroll in a training program which will prepare you to become an ambulatory care nurse. In general, this program will involve classroom-based learning as well as clinical hours, and will likely take a minimum of a year to complete. After completing the necessary training hours, you will in most cases need to pass an exam to become a licensed ambulatory care nurse.

In addition to academic qualifications and on-the-job experience, you will likely also need certain personal qualities to thrive as an ambulatory care nurse. First of all, you will be spending a significant amount of time interacting with patients and their families, and consequently, you should consider whether you are able to be pleasant and compassionate while simultaneously remaining professional and direct. Finally, you will often need to make important decisions and establish care plans quickly, and therefore you should be able to think clearly under pressure.

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