What is a Geriatric Nurse?

Many people come to rely on the help of a geriatric nurse eventually. What does this particular kind of nurse do, and what makes their practice of medicine different from all other medical disciplines? Here’s the scoop on geriatric nursing today.

Area of Expertise

To begin with, let’s take a moment to explore geriatric healthcare, also referred to professionally as gerontology. Gerontology is the specialized wing of healthcare specifically targeting the needs of the elderly community. Gerontological care, therefore, is the specialized medical care given to older adults with the goal of helping them continue life as comfortably as possible, despite the unique challenges encountered in the aging process.

This is where the gerontological, or geriatric nurse comes in. This nurse works hands-on with gerontological patients, doing whatever is needed medically in order to assure their patient’s comfort and health going into the future. As such, these specialized nurses may be found working in hospitals, nursing homes, doctor offices, and even in their patient’s own homes, according to Discover Nursing.

Specific Gerontological Concerns

Because of its exclusive nature, there are many skills, abilities, insights, and other elements involved with this type of work which are not often found in other areas of the medical industry. Helping the aging often provides unique work and experience. To help one understand the unique breadth of this occupation, here are some sample duties often found within, per data found at everynurse.org.

  • Help rehabilitate patients after injuries.
  • Conduct routine check-ups and screenings.
  • Develop patient care plans.
  • Administer medication.
  • Assist with pain management.
  • Bathing and bedsore prevention.
  • Helping Patients keep their independence.

Supply and Demand

Another side of this vocation worthy of discussion is its unique supply and demand market for skilled workers. As you can likely see by now, this job is one that requires tireless compassion, an ability to be around suffering and even death, and relentless professionalism through it all. Because of these unique demands, this area of nursing is often understaffed and in need of new professionals at any given time, according to the Gerontological Society of America.

On the other hand, many choose to work in this particular field of nursing exactly because of the short supply. In such situations, workers are often treated better and able to receive better compensation, job security, and more. Many also choose to work here simply because of the personal opportunity it affords them to help an aging generation in need. In any case, this field does hold a uniquely arranged market of workers.

How to Enter Gerontological Nursing

So, how does one become a gerontological nurse? Typically, this worker starts by first becoming a registered nurse, or RN. Subsequently, one can then seek out the additional training and certifications required by their particular state of residence. The final step in the process is for the candidate to successfully complete the gerontological nursing certification examination. This exam is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, or ANCC.

Related Resource: What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

Gerontology is an important and unique facet to our modern medical system. As we all age, having such specific services available in case of difficulty is an invaluable resource some only wish they could have access to.