How to Become a Geriatric Nurse
With the baby boomer generation becoming older, the need for geriatric nurses is on the rise. To give you some perspective, twice as many people over 65 have 10 or more healthcare visits per year compared to all other age groups.1 This means that there is a great need for healthcare professionals to give older generations the care they need.
Here is everything you need to know about how to become a geriatric nurse!
What does a Geriatric Nurse do?
As you probably know, geriatric nurses work with elderly people. According to Nurse Journal, “Geriatric nurses […] help with caring for medical needs including pain relief, hygiene assistance, and routine assessment and treatments that become necessary after a certain age. An important role in geriatric nursing comes not only with treatment, but with prevention as well, as they educate and assist with medical conditions that could appear.”2
What type of schooling do you need to become a Geriatric Nurse?
Just like many other specialties in nursing, geriatric nurses are required to have a degree in nursing. This can be either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Once you have your degree, you can begin to work towards certification in geriatric nursing.
Nursing Schools says “after gaining two years of experience as an RN, accumulating at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice in geriatric nursing, and completing at least 30 hours of continuing education in geriatric nursing, RNs can go on to earn a valuable credential called the Gerontological Nursing Certification offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.”
What other qualifications do you need?
If you decided on geriatric nursing early on, Rasmussen College suggests taking courses in geriatrics while in school. “Pay special attention to classes with training for care of older adults and take as many as possible. When it comes time to schedule your externships at off-campus clinical sites, try to work in a program where you will get extra time working with older patients.”1
Don’t worry – if you decide on geriatric nursing after you’ve already earned your degree, you can still work in geriatrics.
If you’re still unsure, it may help to talk to a nurse who works in geriatrics for a living. This will help you get a better sense of the job and all that it entails!
What other nursing specialties do you think we should write about? Tell us in the comments below!