As the life expectancy in the most parts of the world keeps rising, geriatric nursing is now more important than ever. Between now and 2050 the number of people over 60 is expected to more than double. By the mid-century world will have more than 2 billion people who will need some kind of gerontological help in their daily lives.
Geriatric nursing (or gerontological nursing) specializes in taking take of older adult patients. Geriatric nurses work with the elderly and their families in order to provide the best care and improve the quality of life of the patients.
Gerontological nursing deals with the wide variety of health problems, a majority of which are chronic. This includes dementia, hearing and vision impairment, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Geriatric nurses work in various different establishments from nursing homes to hospitals and even patients homes. Depending on the health of the patients, the work may include anything from occasional appointments to 24/7 supervision of the elderly.
There are several types of nurses that work in this field. Some are specialized in a specific field of nursing like clinical or mental health nursing, while others are generalists like registered nurses and LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses). Most of the time they work together with doctors, CNAs and other hospital or care home staff.
So how does one become a geriatric nurse? There are actually several ways to do this. Below you can find the most common path to becoming a generalist gerontological nurse.
Get your Nursing Diploma, Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Pass your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
You can start working as a Registered Nurse. Get at least two years of clinical experience, including 2,000 hours in geriatrics, and take 30 hours of continuing education in geriatric nursing.
Get your gerontological nursing certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Currently, there are 41 colleges and universities in the US that offer nursing programs that specifically focus on geriatrics and geriatric nursing according to National Centre of Educational Statistics. We have compiled and reviewed all of those programs for you, so go ahead and get familiar with the different options before deciding.
In addition to this particular career path, one can also become a specialist in this field, by obtaining advanced practice nurse or nurse practitioner degree in geriatric nursing. In order to do that, you need to find a nursing school that offers programs specifically focusing on geriatrics.
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