For starters: ambulatory care does not mean care given in an ambulance. The term “ambulatory” means mobile or moveable, and though that is how ambulances also got their name, ambulatory care nurses are caregivers who see people in an outpatient setting.

These settings include areas such as a health clinic, an at-home checkup, or any other facility where patients don’t generally need overnight care.

During the COVID pandemic’s peak, some procedures and healthcare interactions that were historically done in the hospital setting were offered through ambulatory care, as different areas of the hospital needed to deal with victims of the virus.

Many patients report that they feel a higher quality of care when they are away from a large-scale, often chaotic hospital setting and many nurses also consider ambulatory care a great alternative for new nurses who don’t want to work strange hours or deal with ER patients.

Here is a look at how to become an ambulatory care nurse:


The simple answer for the “qualifications for ambulatory care” question that is the title of this article is a licensed RN who has passed their NCLEX-RN exam, most of whom also have an ADN or BSN degree.

There is also a certification offered from the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing that can certainly help your cause, but part of the requirements to take the certification exam is having 2,000 hours of clinical practice in ambulatory care, so it couldn’t really be a requirement!

If you are someone who has yet to embark on your nursing journey, it’s very beneficial to explore many different kinds of nursing, but another perk of a focus on ambulatory care is that there are many different jobs that fall under the umbrella of ambulatory nursing.

What Do They Do?

Even if you’re pretty sold on the fact that ambulatory nurses work regular business hours and generally don’t have to deal with hospital stress, there is still much more to consider about the day-to-day activities of an ambulatory nurse.

Here is a look at some of the regular activities performed in ambulatory care settings:

  • Evaluate patient symptoms
  • Discuss daily activities and issues with long-term care patients
  • Take regular vitals
  • Treat patients with non-emergency illnesses
  • Help with physical recovery for non-emergency injuries
  • Provide education to loved ones of those in need of care
  • Be a trusted companion for long-term patients


Ambulatory care nurses have very competitive salaries, averaging upwards of $77,000 annually, nationally, and over $110,000 in places like California where the cost of living tends to be higher.

In addition to steady pay, ambulatory nurses also don’t generally have to work nights or odd on-/off-hours, which can be very appealing to the family-oriented aspiring nurse.

Some nurses do enjoy the more hectic, 3-on, 4-off types of schedules, however, and not many ambulatory care jobs offer this type of schedule.

The ability to move laterally to many different styles of care is also a part of ambulatory care that many point to as something they really enjoy

If you are someone who tends to get bored and loses interest in a repetitive job, ambulatory nursing offers a lot of easy changes in day-to-day activities but does also offer routines for those who enjoy regularity.

Should You Become an Ambulatory Nurse?

The time and monetary commitments to becoming an ambulatory nurse aren’t any different than becoming a hospital RN, so it really comes down to what you want out of your daily or weekly experiences as a nurse.

The pay is very good and generally, there is potential for more long-term relationships with patients, making it a nice choice for nurses looking to follow the trend of providing more compassion in nursing, a big talking point in the community.

Ambulatory nursing has many, many perks and is definitely worth taking a very close look at if you want to become a healthcare professional or move laterally within the industry.

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