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What Is a Geriatric Nurse and How to Become One

What Is a Geriatric Nurse?

A geriatric nurse is an RN (registered nurse) that provides care exclusively to elderly patients. They have specific training in elderly care and have studied gerontological research and practices. As a geriatric nurse, your duties are to monitor and treat patients with a variety of issues and diseases that afflict older people, such as advanced diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and hearing issues. You should be trained to help your patients deal with the vast physical and mental changes that accompany aging. In your work, you collaborate extensively with doctors and other physicians to assess patients and provide care and education about their conditions.

How to Become a Geriatric Nurse

The first step in a career as a geriatric nurse is to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited and reputable university. If you know you want to be a geriatric nurse, you should take classes that address issues of aging, participate in medical procedures and research related to elderly care, and conduct practical coursework that provides you with experience working with older patients. Upon completion of your degree, you must pass the NCLEX test to become an RN (registered nurse). This designation means you can take up a position at a hospital, nursing facility, or another medical treatment center. Consider getting advanced certification as a geriatric specialist to help define your niche.

Where Do Geriatric Nurses Work?

Depending on your qualifications and desires, geriatric nurses can work in a variety of settings. You may wish to work at a hospital or medical clinic, but many geriatric nurses find full-time positions in residential care facilities that provide long-term care for older people. There are also many job opportunities in home care, which means you travel to your homebound patients. You not only provide care to these patients but also advise their family on how to keep their home comfortable and usable for the patient. Whichever setting you choose, you will need patience, empathy, listening, and strong written and verbal communication skills.