A geriatric nurse focuses their skills and knowledge on elderly patients. As people age, their bodies become less resilient and more prone to health problems. They need quality medical care from experienced and knowledgeable health professionals like geriatric nurses. The age of the Baby Boomer generation means that millions of people are hitting the age where they’ll need extra care. Demand for qualified nurses will increase.
The Personality of a Geriatric Nurse
As a geriatric nurse, you’ll provide all types of care for elderly patients. They need special care since the slightest sickness or health-related issue can spin out of control. A simple cold can develop into a respiratory illness that can threaten an elderly person’s life quite easily.
While the geriatric nurse is trained in the traditional duties of a registered nurse, they have special training that will help them better assist older patients who could have issues like dementia, brittle bones and other age-related health problems.
As you’ll be caring for older patients who might have issues with memory, geriatric nurses have to be patient and aware of the afflictions the elderly will have late in life. A geriatric nurse has to have the temperament to be patient and helpful with aging patients who might be sad, angry or scared.
Tasks You’ll Perform
You’ll administer medicines, help patients with their daily needs and record vital signs. The tasks you’ll perform will often depend on the kind of facility where you work. A geriatric nurse in a nursing home might bathe and dress patients for their day while those in the hospital will monitor vital signs of sick patients.
The nurse will work with patients on physical therapy or help them deal with their lack of independence. The nurse will often be the person that works with the families when an elderly patient needs extra care at home. He or she might be able to make recommendations on how to treat the patient when they get home too.
Where Can You Work?
The geriatric nurse can work in a hospital or clinic as an assistant to a doctor who specializes in elderly-related illnesses. Nursing homes, residential facilities and retirement communities all need geriatric nurses too. You might decide to work in a facility or work remotely while visiting patients in their homes.
Average Salary of a Geriatric Nurse
A geriatric nurse will make approximately the same amount as a registered nurse in any field. It will depend on the years of experience the nurse has as well as where he or she works to determine the exact amount. Geriatric nurses can expect to make about $68,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How to Become a Geriatric Nurse
You’ll have to get a bachelor’s degree to become a geriatric nurse. Choose an RN program that has special focus on gerontological courses. When it comes time for your clinicals, you’ll want to ensure that you’re picking a place that is in line with your future career path. Once finished with your courses, you’ll need to pass the NCLEX, which is the National Council Licensure Exam required for all nursing practitioners.
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It takes a special person to have the patience and skill to work with the elderly as a geriatric nurse. It’s incredibly rewarding as well as a noble career path.