What is gerontic nursing?
Gerontic Nursing is nursing care of older people. As the majority users of the health care system are older people, this field of nursing is growing and the specialist expertise required is rapidly being recognised and increasingly in demand.
Gerontic nurses perhaps best represent the broad range of skills involved in nursing art and science. Older people more often present with multiple challenges including diseases, disabilities, social and psychological losses. This demands immense knowledge from nurses. On the other hand, older people have had tremendous life experiences and teach the nurse in so many ways how to cope with life's many obstacles. In longer term aged care settings nurses have the opportunity to form care relationships and provide holistic care in a way that is not possible in acute care/short stay environments.
Working with older people provides numerous opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams and with families.
How do I become a gerontic nurse?
As an undergraduate student you may be able to take an elective in gerontic nursing.
After completing your BN you can undertake a graduate year in one of the subacute/aged care facilities and you may like to attend some of the many conferences and/or aged care short courses offered every year in Victoria.
Why should I complete postgraduate education?
Nursing in any field is far more challenging and interesting if you are highly skilled and
knowledgeable. This is especially so in gerontic nursing. Those nurses who excel in the nursing of older people have the specialist understanding required to undertake comprehensive assessments, plan, implement and evaluate care in partnership with clients and families, teach, use the latest research and lobby for continuing improvements in care standards. Overseas gerontic nurses have often pioneered advanced practice and new models of care delivery. Some of the most successful Nurse Practitioners are working with older people.
You may wish to start out with a postgraduate certificate and build on this until you have acquired your post graduate diploma. If you really want to be clinical leader you may then study for your masters degree and ultimately to set the world on fire you can become a doctor of nursing by completing a PhD or professional doctorate. Shop around and see what universities offer you.
What will my employment opportunities be?
Gerontic nursing occurs across all care delivery sites: acute hospitals, community, psychiatric, long-term and palliative. Whether you wish to work in rural areas or large cities you will find employment as a nurse if you have expertise in working with older people.
Gerontic nurses are in huge demand internationally. As the world population ages more and more opportunities emerge for dynamic committed well informed gerontic nursing.
You can combine your gerontic nursing skills with such care environments as primary health care, community nursing, nursing homes, critical care, emergency, acute, palliation, rehabilitation, rural and remote - in fact any environment in which older people benefit from nursing care.
September 10, 2010
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