What is Geriatric Nursing?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 May 2020
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Geriatric nursing is a nursing subfield which involves caring for older adults. Older adults have special needs which can become very complex, making employment prospects in the field of geriatric nursing very good. As people live longer with the assistance of modern medical developments, many older people require extended special care from members of the health profession who specialize in geriatric health issues. To become a geriatric nurse, someone must generally qualify as a nurse and take additional courses in this type of nursing to learn to meet the specific needs of older patients.

You may also hear this nursing field referred to as “gerontological nursing,” depending on regional preferences. Numerous professional organizations for geriatric nursing can be found around the world, offering additional training, certification, and support for people who work in this field. These nurses can also take advantage of trade journals, research programs, conferences, and other things which are designed to promote knowledge and cooperation in the field.

Caring for the elderly can be very complex. In addition to providing basic nursing services, a geriatric nurse must also offer emotional support to patients, watching out for their mental health and keeping a close eye out for medical conditions which can emerge quickly in the elderly. These nurses must also be able to coordinate with the families of their patients, and sometimes they work side by side with family caregivers, offering training to help them care for their family members while taking care of complex nursing tasks.

Geriatric nursing can occur in a variety of settings. Some nurses work in institutions such as hospitals, residential care facilities, and retirement communities, with some specializing in unique nursing needs such as geriatric mental health, or care for people with dementia. Other people in this field prefer to work in home nursing, either as live-in providers or visiting nurses who may be part of a team of caregivers.

Working in this field can sometimes be emotionally stressful. Elderly patients are more likely to die, and elderly people can also be victims of neglect and abuse. These nurses work very hard to provide respectful, loving care to their patients, but they are part of a larger framework, and they cannot be present all the time to watch out for their patients. Elderly individuals may also struggle with a variety of medical problems and financial issues which can contribute to depression and other mental health problems, creating unique challenges for their caregivers.

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Post 4

I would like to know the qualities of a good geriatric nurse.

Post 3

Moldova- I wanted to add that in order to seek geriatric nursing certification, it depends on your level of education and practical experience.

If you have an associates degree you would take the exam number nine, and if you have a bachelor’s degree you would take exam number 40. Those with advanced nursing experience and are considered a clinical nurse specialist or geriatric nurse practitioner would take exam number 18.

The certification exam is in a computer-based format. Courses are offered by the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing along with NYU College of Nursing. These two schools offer a review course for this exam.

If you need additional information, you should check out the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It provides a wide variety of information regarding nursing certification, and even provides manuals that you can purchase in order to study for the exam.

Post 2

Anon31237- You raises a good question, which I am not sure I can answer. I do know that

geriatric nurses spend a lot of time checking up on patients and assessing what they can do.

The best geriatric journal is the Journal of Genrontological Nursing. It states that the most important aspect of geriatric nursing is the assessments.

Usually in geriatric nursing the psychosocial assessments are the most important. The geriatric nurse has to constantly evaluate the state of mind of her patients and what their developmental abilities allow for their age.

Because the patient's abilities are declining over time, it is essential that the geriatric nurse stay on top of her patient’s assessments and treatments.

Often geriatric patients suffer from confusion, dementia, falls, and incontinence. It is important that a geriatric nurse documents all clinical care and progress of all her patients. This will ensure the proper care will be taken for the elderly patients.

Post 1

What is a typical day in the life of a geriatric nurse?

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