Becoming a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Aids the Elderly

Many nursing professionals have opted for specialized study in the medical care area of Gerontology – providing healthcare services to the elderly. Advances in medical science have produced a greater amount of people in the nation’s elder population. These people usually need more focused and consistent medical care to maintain proper health during their later years. This produces exceptional opportunities for medical professionals seeking not only financial, but personal and career rewards when gaining the correct education toward becoming a geriatric nurse. There is a high demand for people specializing in this area of medical care. Becoming a geriatric nurse is the first step in a career path toward becoming a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner. Typically, this first step is for registered nurses completing an undergraduate study that leads to a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). During this undergraduate course of study, the nursing student would have taken courses in gerontology as part of their baccalaureate nursing studies. Many of the BSN programs offered throughout the country today have additional elective courses specializing in gerontology medical care that every undergraduate can make a choice to study. Once the individual student has obtained a degree with sufficient course that he and gerontology they can proceed in their first career path towards becoming geriatric nurse practitioner by performing the functions of a geriatric nurse that include:

  • Provide healthcare for the residents of nursing homes or long-term care specialty units
  • Become involved in the support and education of the families for elderly people
  • Help to build relationships between patients and family-based
  • Become part of the assessment team determining a patient’s ability to perform daily routine functions
  • Become part of a team that works with dementia patients or elderly facing other illnesses that affect their quality of life
  • Help with diagnosing and managing of diseases that affect the elderly
  • Conduct daily activities at age for the promotion of good health for the elderly

  • Places Where Geriatric Nurses Perform Job Duties

    There are many places where trained geriatric nurses can find rewarding employment that include hospitals, nursing homes, community care facilities, long-term care units, outpatient clinics and other programs and facilities that specialize in elder care. Once a geriatric nurses said sufficient amount of on-the-job experience, such medical professionals may wish to take their careers to another level by obtaining the necessary certification to become a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, or GNP.

    Qualified Course of Study Required
    In order to qualify for certification in this excellent, rewarding and will so after profession, a geriatric nurse must obtain a master’s degree or higher participating in a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner program. Participates in such a program will have to take courses in both theory and examination as well as participate in a minimum number of clinical hours of work better supervised, usually amounting to about 500, that are typically included in the program which an individual shouldn’t rule. There are two specific entities that offer accreditation for schools providing these courses and these are the Commission on the Collegiate of Nursing Education and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. Typical courses that are included in any GNP course of study would include disease diagnosis and management, health promotion, disease prevention, pharmacology, pathophysiology as well as health assessment.

    What Do Geriatric Nurse Practitioners Do?

    In the past couple of decades there has been a great need for qualified medical professionals in almost every area providing medical care, and with the increasing population of older people and this country, the need is great but the response is not meeting the demand. Therefore, opportunities exist for nurses to increase their education and experience to a level where they can actually help assist in areas that were once only completed by qualified physicians. Today, geriatric nurse practitioners are capable for providing a number of different services for elderly patients. Examples include such areas that doctors were once only licensed to perform such as conduct patient examinations in order to make a health assessment, perform the checking of personal vital signs, become involved in family education, helping manage patient illnesses and promote overall health. Most geriatric nurse practitioners become involved in the diagnostic aspects of patient care as well as creating and conducting individual care plans that include prescribing medication and treatments. Since the elder population is not only growing but living longer lives, great demand for expert geriatric nurse practitioner services is sought after from a variety of different places including long term care facilities and nursing homes. Many hospitals throughout the country also employ geriatric nurse practitioners as part of their standardized approach to community healthcare practices.