What is a Typical Day Like for a Geriatric Nurse?

Do you have an elderly loved one whose last days were made a little more pleasant by a geriatric nurse? Do you enjoy working with older people and think you’d like a career caring for them on a regular basis? If so, you may find a career as a geriatric nurse the perfect fit. Below you will find everything you need to know about his rewarding career and what a typical day for a geriatric nurse is like.

What is a Geriatric Nurse?

A geriatric nurse is a registered nurse who works in the field of geriatrics or gerontology, which means working with elderly adults. In addition to providing basic nursing care, geriatric nurses work specifically with elderly patients helping them be independent and active as long as they can. Geriatric nurses may work in hospitals, extended living facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities and in the patient’s home.

What is a Typical Day for a Geriatric Nurse Like?

A typical day for a geriatric nurse may involve treating complex mental and physical health needs of elderly patients. This may include assessing cognitive and mental skills, discussing health issues with patients and their families, organizing and ensuring adherence to medication, and understanding the patient’s chronic or acute health issues.

The job duties of a geriatric nurse may vary depending on where they’re employed. Some examples of work they are involved with include:

• Providing patients with links to valuable resources
• Recommending changes in medications
• Helping design healthcare regimens that meet patients’ needs
• Educating patients about safety and disease prevention

What Education Does a Geriatric Nurse Need?

To work as a geriatric nurse, you must first become a registered nurse. This requires completing either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing school. Upon successful completion of the training, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain your nursing license (see: How Do I Prepare For My Nursing Board Exam?).

After getting some work experience, you can obtain certification as a geriatric nurse or pursue advanced education in this field. To be eligible for gerontology certification, you must meet the following requirements, according to the American Nurses Credentialing Center:

• Have a valid RN license
• Have at least two years experience working as an RN
• Have at least 2,000 hours of clinical work within the previous 36 months
• Have completed at least 30 hours of continuing education in geriatric nursing in the previous 36 months

What is the Career Outlook for a Geriatric Nurse?

Geriatric nurses are in great demand as people continue to grow older and live longer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that registered nurses, in general, can expect an employment growth of nineteen percent between 2012 and 2022. Those with certification in specialized areas, such as geriatric nursing, should see even better employment opportunities.

Becoming a geriatric nurse is not only a career with a great future and good wages but also one where you can really make a difference in another individual’s life. With more than twenty percent of the population predicted to be over 65 by the year 2050, the need for this special breed of caring people called geriatric nurses should always be there.