Geriatrics is a sector of the nursing field that is rapidly growing. With more and more people living longer, providing care for them has become a challenging effort. The average life expectancy range of an adult in the US is 75-80 years old. With more elderly to care for, Geriatric nurses are in high demand. Gerontologists and healthcare professionals are a huge asset to the nursing field. Gerontology is the social, biological, physiological, and psychological study of the aging population. Geriatrics is sometimes considered a social science that works to provide all the needs of the older generation, which includes any physical and mental changes in the life of the patient.
What Do Geriatric Nurses Do?: The Geriatric Nurse Job Description
Geriatric nurses have several tasks and duties to perform. Many older adults suffer from dehydration and malnutrition, due to lack of proper patient care. So providing information on good nutrition and wellness programs are essential to older adults. Physical therapy is sometimes a necessary treatment for the care of the older patient. The elderly are more susceptible to slips and falls, even around their own home and their bones are more fragile to break. Having a nurse therapist or home care nurse specialized in geriatrics can help prevent unnecessary issues from happening. They also work to aid in daily living activities (ADL) for the elderly patient.
Long term care is also a big issue that the elderly face each year. The average older adult in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities is eighty-six years old. However, some are as young as sixty. it all depends on the physical and mental state of the individual. Geriatric nurses are usually found working in these facilities. However, work can be available right out of the home of the older individual.
The career path of a geriatric nurse is consistently active. As a geriatric nurse or gerontologist, there are many choices of employment in a variety of roles and settings. Most gerontology experts work as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) or Nurse Practitioners (NP). Hospitals and nursing homes are just two of the most popular institutions. Assisted-living places, social services, health administration facilities are also places of employment for those interested in geriatric nursing. Although, there are a few individuals working their way into the geriatric pharmacology field, or those studying medicine that benefits older adults.
As with most jobs, there is some education needed to practice medicine or assist the elderly with their problems. Geriatric nurses more than likely will need at least a BSN degree. However, in some cases getting your Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specific concentration will be a better choice. In fact, right now is a great time to enroll in a nursing program. The demand is high and many colleges and universities offer scholarships with fantastic benefits at low tuition to students in high priority fields.
Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Salary
Because the geriatric nursing field is a consistently growing career choice, it has become very lucrative as well. The median gerontology nursing salary is around $41,000 to $51,000 for RNs, but pay rates for a gerontological nurse practitioner salary is an enormous leap – well over $110,000 on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, wages can be more profitable in big cities compared to rural towns. Once a graduate adds on their education credentials, on top of their experience, the salary can become well worth the effort.