In this article, we outline 6 steps on how to become a Geriatric Nurse. Geriatric nurses are still in high demand. Up to 2030, 10,000 baby boomers every day will reach retirement age, and individuals over 65 require healthcare services more frequently. About 80% of people have two or more chronic conditions, and 68% have three or more.
Geriatric nurses can support elderly people in maintaining their independence. You can work in a variety of places, including medical offices, community centers, and hospitals. Preventive care, rehabilitation, acute care, mental health, and intensive care all require your talents.
Also, there is room for professional and educational advancement. Learn the procedures for becoming a geriatric nurse. Your ability to find work and grow professionally is significantly influenced by your education, licensing, and certification.
What Is a Geriatric Nurse?
A geriatric nurse is a specialized registered nurse who provides healthcare to elderly patients. Geriatric nurses work with older adults to promote health and wellness, manage chronic conditions, and provide end-of-life care. They may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and hospice care facilities.
Geriatric nurses have specialized knowledge and skills in caring for older adults. They understand the unique needs of elderly patients, including age-related changes in health, chronic illnesses, and the psychological and emotional challenges that come with aging. Geriatric nurses often collaborate with other healthcare professionals, including geriatricians, social workers, and physical therapists, to provide comprehensive care to their patients.
Some common tasks of geriatric nurses include:
- Conducting assessments and developing care plans for elderly patients
- Administering medications and treatments
- Monitoring and managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia
- Providing education to patients and families about healthcare needs and managing chronic conditions
- Assisting with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing
- Providing emotional support to patients and families
Geriatric nursing is a challenging and rewarding field that requires a deep understanding of the unique needs of elderly patients.
How to Become a Geriatric Nurse
Becoming a geriatric nurse involves specialized training and education in caring for elderly patients. Geriatric nursing requires patience, empathy, and a strong desire to help older adults maintain their health and independence.
Here are the general steps to becoming a geriatric nurse:
- Earn a nursing degree: To become a geriatric nurse, you must first earn a degree in nursing. This can be an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited nursing program.
- Obtain a nursing license: You will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become a licensed registered nurse (RN) in the state where you plan to work.
- Gain nursing experience: It’s important to gain experience as a nurse before specializing in geriatric care. Consider working in a hospital or nursing home to gain experience with older adult patients.
- Pursue a geriatric nursing certification: Many nursing organizations offer certification in geriatric nursing. This can help you stand out as a qualified geriatric nurse.
- Continue your education: Continuing education is essential for all nurses, but it’s especially important for geriatric nurses. Keeping up-to-date with new research and practices can help you provide the best care to your patients.
- Specialize in geriatric care: You can also consider pursuing additional education and training to specialize in geriatric care. This may include a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a focus on gerontology or a geriatric nurse practitioner program.
Overall, becoming a geriatric nurse requires dedication, ongoing education, and a passion for working with older adults.
Role and Responsibilities
The role and responsibilities of a geriatric nurse include:
- Assessing and monitoring elderly patients: Geriatric nurses are responsible for assessing the health and well-being of elderly patients, including monitoring vital signs, conducting physical exams, and reviewing medical history.
- Developing care plans: Based on their assessments, geriatric nurses develop individualized care plans for each patient, which may include medications, therapies, and other interventions to manage chronic conditions and promote overall health and wellness.
- Administering medications and treatments: Geriatric nurses administer medications and treatments to elderly patients, including managing complex medication regimes and monitoring for potential side effects.
- Educating patients and families: Geriatric nurses provide education to patients and their families about managing chronic conditions, maintaining health and wellness, and navigating the healthcare system.
- Providing emotional support: Geriatric nurses provide emotional support to elderly patients and their families, who may be dealing with physical and cognitive decline, end-of-life issues, and other challenges associated with aging.
- Coordinating care: Geriatric nurses often work as part of a healthcare team, coordinating care with other healthcare professionals, including physicians, physical therapists, and social workers, to ensure that patients receive comprehensive care.
- Advocating for patients: Geriatric nurses advocate for their patients, ensuring that they receive the best possible care and have access to resources and support to maintain their health and well-being.
Overall, geriatric nurses play a critical role in caring for elderly patients, helping to manage chronic conditions, promote health and wellness, and provide emotional support to patients and their families.
Geriatric Nurse Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for registered nurses (including geriatric nurses) was $75,330 as of May 2020. However, salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as location, level of education and experience, and type of employer.
In general, geriatric nurses who work in hospitals or other healthcare facilities may earn higher salaries than those who work in nursing homes or home health agencies. Additionally, geriatric nurses who hold advanced degrees or certifications in geriatric nursing may earn higher salaries than those who hold only a nursing degree.
According to the BLS, the top-paying industries for registered nurses (including geriatric nurses) as of May 2020 were:
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $79,460
- Outpatient Care Centers: $76,840
- Offices of Physicians: $75,040
- Home Health Care Services: $73,360
- Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities): $71,320
It’s important to note that salaries for geriatric nurses can also vary depending on geographic location. Salaries may be higher in areas with a higher cost of living or in areas where there is a high demand for healthcare professionals.
Where Do Geriatric Nurses Work?
Geriatric nurses can work in a variety of settings that provide care to older adults. Some of the most common work settings for geriatric nurses include:
- Hospitals: Geriatric nurses may work in hospitals that have specialized geriatric units, where they provide care to elderly patients who have complex medical needs.
- Nursing Homes: Geriatric nurses may work in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, where they provide care to older adults who require assistance with daily activities and have chronic health conditions.
- Home Health Agencies: Geriatric nurses may work for home health agencies, providing care to elderly patients who require care in their own homes. This may include managing medications, providing wound care, and assisting with activities of daily living.
- Hospice Care Facilities: Geriatric nurses may work in hospice care facilities, providing end-of-life care to patients who are terminally ill.
- Rehabilitation Centers: Geriatric nurses may work in rehabilitation centers, providing care to elderly patients who are recovering from surgery or illness and require rehabilitation services.
- Community Health Centers: Geriatric nurses may work in community health centers, providing preventive care and health education to older adults in the community.
Overall, geriatric nurses have a variety of work settings to choose from, depending on their interests and career goals.
Geriatric Nurse Education
To become a geriatric nurse, one must first become a registered nurse (RN). There are several paths to becoming an RN, including earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. ADN programs typically take two years to complete, while BSN programs take four years.
After completing an RN program, nurses can pursue additional education and training in geriatric nursing. This can include earning a certification in geriatric nursing or pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree with a specialization in geriatric nursing. Certification in geriatric nursing can be obtained through organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the Gerontological Nursing Certification Commission (GNCC).
Geriatric nursing education typically includes coursework in topics such as geriatric pharmacology, chronic disease management, and end-of-life care. Nurses may also complete clinical rotations in settings such as nursing homes, hospice care facilities, and rehabilitation centers to gain practical experience in caring for older adults.
Continuing education is also important for geriatric nurses to stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices in caring for elderly patients. This can include attending conferences, completing online courses, and participating in professional organizations such as the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA) or the National Gerontological Nursing Association (NGNA).
Overall, becoming a geriatric nurse requires a combination of education, training, and ongoing professional development to provide high-quality care to older adults.
Geriatric nursing is a specialized field of nursing that focuses on providing care to older adults. Geriatric nurses play a vital role in the healthcare system by helping to manage the complex medical needs and unique challenges faced by elderly patients.
To become a geriatric nurse, one must first become a registered nurse (RN) by completing an ADN or BSN program. After becoming an RN, nurses can pursue additional education and training in geriatric nursing through certification or a master’s degree program. Geriatric nursing education typically includes coursework in geriatric pharmacology, chronic disease management, and end-of-life care.
Geriatric nurses can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, hospice care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and community health centers. Salaries for geriatric nurses can vary depending on factors such as location, level of education and experience, and type of employer.
Overall, geriatric nursing is a rewarding and challenging career that requires a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development. By providing compassionate and skilled care to older adults, geriatric nurses help to improve the quality of life for elderly patients and their families.
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