With older adults drawing on the health care system more than others, geriatric nursing is a key specialty in the field of nursing. Geriatric nursing provides care for the elderly population through health promotion and prevention of disability and disease. Much focus is on the treatment of chronic conditions. Geriatric nursing is most widely practiced in long-term care facilities and ambulatory care facilities. The need for geriatric nursing is expected to only grow as the population ages.
Another key role in geriatric nursing is to provide support and education for the families of the elderly patients. Communication with family members provides valuable and accurate information about the patient. Education is also important for a patient’s self-care procedures, such as how to inject insulin or care for pressure ulcers.
Not only does geriatric nursing focus on managing common aging problems, but the detection of complex problems that require further care is integral. Geriatric nursing has shown to provide higher quality care and limit hospital admission by providing early prevention problems common to the elderly such as dehydration, undernourishment, skin breakdown, sleep disorders, delirium and falls. Improved patient care is also achieved by implementing health promotion activities and providing quick responses to changes in health status.
Geriatric nursing can be practiced by variety of nurses. Many certified family nurse practitioners provide care for the elderly. A geriatric nurse practitioner is a registered nurse that holds a master’s degree from a nurse practitioner program with a focus on elderly care. Geriatric clinical nurse specialists also hold a master’s degree or PhD and have extensive experience in the clinical setting. These specialists usually work as consultants to interdisciplinary teams in hospitals. The team of professionals enables a holistic view of a patient and can include a geriatric, nutritionist, social worker, physical therapist, occupational therapist, consultant pharmacist and a geropsychiatrist.
If you want to start a career in geriatric nursing, you need a nursing degree. Learn more about the geriatric care certificate from Kaplan University. Or consider an online LPN to BSN degree or an online RN to BSN degree if you’re already a nurse. Otherwise, compare these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
» Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)