Geriatric Nursing: What it’s Like to Work with the Elderly?

Because older adults require a significant amount of medical attention as they age, the aging population has a significant impact on both healthcare and employment opportunities. Many older adults, in particular, will develop chronic conditions that necessitate ongoing care. Because these illnesses and conditions can be complex and difficult to manage, nurses with specialized knowledge and expertise in geriatric nursing can be more valuable. Hence, the article Geriatric Nursing: What it’s like to work with the elderly? will give you more information about this type of nurse.

geriatric nurse
What it’s like to work with the elderly?

 

1. What is a geriatric nursing career?

Overall, geriatric nursing is one type of registered nurse (RN) who is trained to work with and provide care for elderly patients. In addition, the geriatric nurse also can be called a gerontology or gerontological nurse. Geriatric nurses dedicate their careers to taking care of more than 16% of the U.S population, which are aged 65 and older, When navigating the healthcare system, older adults have special needs and require a gentle touch. As people live longer lives as a result of medical advances, the demand for skilled geriatrics nurses will rise. Between now and 2029, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 7% job growth in this field.

 

2. What are the major duties of geriatric nursing?

 Pointedly, geriatric nursing is more than just taking care of the elderly. They also help with the health assessment, educate their patients as well as guide them to do their daily activities.

 

2.1. Patient care

This is the principal geriatric nurse’s responsibility. The patient care task includes the following sub-tasks below:

  • Provide patients the primary care including bathing, eating, and dressing 
  • Guide patients to take exercises and outdoor activities to improve their physical health
  • Organizing and administering medications 
  • Boost patients’ mental health by encouraging and giving treatments

 

2.2. Patient assessment 

Geriatric nursing responsibilities also consist of helping physicians or doctors with physical exams to assess all aspects of their patient’s health including: 

  • Recognize patients’ geriatric health problems
  • Assess patients’ daily performance 
  • Track patients’ daily care plans
  • Collect patients’ signs and notes 

 

2.3. Patient education

Educating patients is an important task of the geriatric nurse to help not only patients but also their family members acknowledge and find a way to deal with patients’ health issues. 

  • Give patient care that involves professional health care, such as physical therapy
  • Educate family members about the patient’s conditions, treatments, and prevention. 
  • Provide end-of-life care and transform patients’ needs and wishes to their families.  
geriatric nursing
A geriatric nurse is providing care for older patient

 

3. How to be a geriatric nurse?

If you are interested in geriatric nursing, you must go through 4 basic steps that all geriatric nurses are required to take:

 

3.1. Graduate from science in nursing university or take the associate degree in nursing

You can consider obtaining a bachelor’s degree (BSN) after 4 years of learning or taking an associate degree (ADN) in a short time. However, not every hospital or clinical center allows ADN, you should consider putting the right decision.  

 

3.2. Become a Registered nurse (RN)

RN is a must for every nurse who wants to advance their career. The RN exam is established by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). You will be required to pass the NCLEX-RN exam to verify your abilities and skills on nursing topics such as promoting and maintaining health, psychosocial and physiological integrity, and creating a safe and effective care environment. 

 

3.3. Gain the first-hand experience 

Before focusing on a specialty area such as gerontology, it is preferable and often required to have hands-on experience as a nurse. Before moving to geriatrics, some hospitals require two or more years of bedside nursing experience.

 

3.4. Obtain certification 

The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers gerontological nursing certification to registered nurses (ANCC). Prerequisites include the following:

  • Currently hold an RN license.
  • Have a minimum of two years of full-time RN experience (or equivalent)
  • Have completed at least 2,000 hours of clinical gerontological nursing practice in the last three years.
  • Have completed 30 hours of gerontological nursing continuing education in the last three years.

 

4. What are the appropriate skills for geriatric nursing? 

Generally, a geriatric nurse must have the same skills as an RN. You are required to have not only technical skills but also communication skills to work with the elderly. There can be listed below: 

  • Understanding: The body undergoes gradual changes as it ages. A skilled geriatric nurse must understand what is normal and what is abnormal. As appetites decline, so do nutritional requirements. For example, an elderly patient’s skin dries out and becomes more fragile, necessitating at least eight to ten glasses of fluid per day.
  • Communicating: Your patients may find it difficult to communicate as they become deafening. Even if they are not forthcoming with information, you must be able to determine their state of health and emotional well-being. Nonverbal communication may be given more importance.
  • Attitude: Everyone’s aging process is unique, and some patients may develop a pessimistic outlook. You should be able to assist them in remaining as positive as possible while overcoming their fears and anger. You must also be able to recover from patient loss, which is an unfortunate part of the job, and maintain a positive attitude as you continue your work with others.
  • Compassion: When working with elderly patients, you should always strive to be understanding and compassionate. Even if you don’t share the same experiences, finding common ground can help you form personal connections that make your patients’ time with you more bearable.
geriatric nurse nclex
Geriatric nurses must obtain the communication skill with the elderly

 

5. What is the geriatric nurse’s salary?

Although the BLS does not distinguish between RN specialties, RNs can expect a 7% overall job growth between 2019 and 2029, with more opportunities available to those with certifications. 

According to PayScale employee reports, RNs with geriatric skills earns an average salary of $67,530, which is less than the overal nurse salary of $75,330 for all RNs reported by the BLS. Certifications can significantly increase geriatric nurse salaries and job opportunities.

 

6. What are the FAQs of geriatric nursing career? 

 

6.1. How long does it take to become a geriatric nurse? 

It takes you at least 5 years to be a geriatric nurse.

 

6.2. Where do geriatric nurses work? 

  Geriatric nurses can work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, residential care facilities, nursing homes, and retirement communities. Some hospitals and clinics have special memory care centers that employ geriatric nurses and care for elderly people suffering from memory loss. Some geriatric nurses also work in the general community and travel to patients’ homes as home health nurses.

 

6.3. What are age-related health that geriatric nurses should know?  

The geriatric nurse should focus on aging diseases and health concerns: 

  • Alzheimer’s disease/dementia
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression and isolation
  • Falls
  • Impaired mobility
  • Incontinence
  • Lack of mobility
  • Medication tolerance
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke

 

6.4. What type of geriatric nursing jobs should nurses know? 

Common career paths for geriatric nurses include: 

  • Geriatric Nursing Assistant
  • Geriatric Staff Nurse
  • Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Home Health Nurse
  • Hospice Nurse 

That’s all the information about Geriatric Nurse and Geriatric Nursing the vital information about this nursing career. We hope that after reading this post, you can gather the needed information to develop your future career path. Start today with NCLEX Practice Test to be a successful Geriatric nurse in a short time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.