Those who work as geriatric nurses provide individual social, psychological and medical care to elderly patients.
Because of the increases in life expectancy rates the importance of qualified geriatric nurses is becoming significantly more important.
Geriatric nurses focus on the physical, psychological, social and family concerns related to elderly care and provide elderly patients with a healthy focus on the positives old age.
Geriatric nurses aware of the types of normal changes are likely to occur due to old age and are able address these issues as compared to unnatural symptoms or health issues that may occur in older patients.
They must also be aware of any abnormal psychological behavior and/or physiological changes among elderly patients and be able to diagnose and treat these symptoms should they occur.
As patients age some of them begin to have difficulty managing basic functions of everyday living such as preparing food, taking the right medications and the right amounts of medication, going to the bathroom and a host of other ailments associated with old age, and because of this geriatric nurses focus on helping the elderly cope with these mental and psychological changes in their physical and psychological abilities.
Geriatric nurses educate the elderly about the importance of maintaining good health, eating the right foods, getting proper rest, avoiding injuries and what to do should they encounter an injury.
Proper care and patient handling are imperative in this field as patients have a much harder time recovering if they are hurt or injured.
They also have more difficulties fighting off infections and diseases as their body no longer regenerates the way it used to.
Geriatric nurses are trained to respond to and treat a number of common ailments elderly patients suffer from such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- respiratory issues
- pressure injuries which are often caused by stoppages in blood flow
- thyroid problems
and a host of other ailments related to old age.
They provide social support to their patients and keep records pertaining to their condition in order to provide proper assessments and planning related to their care and well-being.
Geriatric nurses may work in a variety of different settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, senior centers, retirement communities, and even in the patients home.
In many cases elderly patients tend to require a lot of medical assistance so geriatric nurses generally work with a health care team that specializes in care for elderly individuals.
Some of these members may include dermatologists, cardiologists, rehabilitation experts, ophthalmologists and geriatric mental health workers.
Becoming a geriatric nurse
Those looking to start a career as a geriatric nurse must first become certified as a registered nurse.
Due to the educational requirements and medical experience needed to properly aid elderly patients most places that hire geriatric nurses are looking for nurses who have at least a bachelor’s degree and two years of experience in the chosen nursing field.
In addition to gaining nursing experience it is also important to look at taking as many continued education courses in the geriatrics field as possible and get certified in as many programs related to geriatric nursing field as you can.
You may also want to continue on towards getting a master’s degree as it will help significantly in terms of getting hired in the geriatric field.
Those looking to become gerontological nurse specialist should have at least 2 years of experience as an RN with at least 2000 hours of practice in the gerontology field and minimum of 30 hours of continued education in your geriatric field.
The best way to find out exactly what hospitals and health care facilities or looking for is to consult your local college or university that offers certification programs in the nursing field.
You can also contact your local hospital and ask what type of training the consider most important for becoming a geriatric nurse.