Geriatric nurses provide quality medical care to elderly patients. These Registered Nurses can work within hospitals and clinics, or visit patients’ homes, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. A geriatric nurse monitors the vital statistics and medications of patients, keeps medical equipment functioning, and helps provide information to patients and families. Geriatric nurses can even specialize further in age-related disorders or cognitive disabilities like Alzheimer's.
A geriatric nurse is not only a health care professional, but also a resource to help families understand and cope with the changes that occur as a person ages. These nurses support the patient as well as any loved ones experiencing trauma and grief related to a diagnosis or the process of dying. As such, a geriatric nurse needs to have medical knowledge as well as an empathetic nature that extends to patients and anyone affected by the changes that occur as loved ones grow older.
Earn as much as $74/hour in the Geriatric Nursing field. Kaplan University offers accredited self-study online geriatric care certification that can be completed in just 12 months
Geriatric nurses fall into three categories: gerontological nurse specialist, clinical nurse specialist and gerontological nurse practitioner. Each of these different levels of specialized and advanced practice nurses require specific hours of education and training that lead to graduate degrees and/or certificates within geriatrics. Many of these specializations can be attained through online nursing programs, helping geriatric nurses earn an average annual salary of $60,000.
Medical advances have increased the lifespan of our elderly population, providing more time with family and friends, and more time to manage physical ailments that occur with age. These patients require the specialized knowledge and care of geriatric nurses to help with physical, mental and emotional concerns that affect quality of life and other wellness concerns. As the population continues to age, and lives longer, geriatric nurses will remain in demand, providing the needed medical skills and understanding to care for our seniors.