Gerontology (and geriatric) nurses take care of elderly patients. Because of an aging population, many nursing school graduates find that the easiest place to find work is at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Many more nursing students go to school to specifically study this topic in health care, to better assist the elderly after graduating from their nursing program. As one of the most lucrative career options available, geriatrics offers students a way to help those that may need it the most while earning a decent income.
Most nursing programs that focus on this aspect of health care carry similar specifications and curriculum. As an example and according to the University of California San Francisco:
Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialists care for patients in a variety of settings, including Adult Day Health Care facilities, home health agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, or outpatient medical practices.
Some gerontological nurse specialists also work in research, administration, and education; others pursue an entrepreneurial path by becoming case managers or consultants.
Gerontological Nurse Practitioners provide primary care to older adults. They practice in hospital-based and freestanding clinics, community agencies such as Adult Day Health Centers, outpatient medical practices, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and long-term care institutions. Many gerontological advanced practice nurses also provide primary care in the older adult’s home.
In treating acute and chronic illnesses common in the older adult population, they work in collaboration with physician consultants as well as other members of the health care team.
The Gerontological Advanced Practice Nursing Specialty Area seeks to develop outstanding clinicians and leaders in the field of geriatric care. As students earn master’s degrees, they complete coursework geared to becoming either a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner, and gain clinical experience with older adult patients across a broad range of settings and clinical complexity.
Nationally recognized faculty members serve as mentors and individual academic advisors. Part of the faculty role is to arrange clinical training assignments in hospitals, community care sites, home health agencies, public and government clinics, long-term care facilities, HMO-operated facilities and private practices.
All students complete courses in advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, nursing theory, pharmacology, research, management of common older adult disorders, and comprehensive case analysis.
To support working nurses and family life, courses typically are concentrated on campus on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During the first year of both program options, students also spend one day per week practicing new skills in the clinical setting.
During the second year, classes remain primarily on Tuesdays and Wednesday, but most students are also in the clinical training setting two full days per week. Presently, there are a limited number of courses available in adistance-learning format. Opportunities to participate in faculty members’ research projects or train alongside program faculty members are frequently available.
More about Nursing Schools and Geriatric Nursing