Gerontological nursing: why is it important?

Gerontological nursing, also known as geriatric nursing, is a career path focused on caring for adults who are 65 years of age or older. Statistics show that the ageing population in the USA is increasing yearly. This growth creates increased job opportunities for gerontological nurses.

Caring for the elderly is inevitably part of the general course of practice as a nurse. However, you can choose to specialize in this area by taking R.N. to BSN programs offered at recognized universities such as Wilkes University. According to the American Health Care Association, only 1% of around 2.2 million nurses specialize in caring for older adults. As such, gerontological nurses are in high demand, and this could be a great opportunity if you are still not sure of which medical field to specialize in.

What does gerontological nursing entail?

Generally, as a gerontological nurse, your job entails helping elderly patients and their families understand the ageing process. Preventative care can improve the quality of life, and as a gerontological nurse, you specialize in learning effective ways of enhancing the lives of elderly patients. Below are some of the primary responsibilities.

  • Developing treatment plans and administering medications.
  • Providing treatment for chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.
  • Monitoring signs of elder abuse.
  • Educating patients and families on coping skills for age-related conditions.
  • Training and assisting patients with daily living activities, such as taking medication and hygiene.
  • Advocating for high-quality care of the elderly and creating awareness of their issues.

Career benefits of choosing gerontology

While every area of nursing has distinct advantages, geriatric nursing has several benefits that you can consider when deciding whether to specialize in it.

  1. Plenty of job opportunities

With the increasing rate of the older population, more geriatric nurses are needed to meet the high demand. According to a 2022 study, 275,000 additional nurses will be required in the U.S. from 2020 to 2030. Moreover, since only a few percent of nurses specialize in gerontology, more health practitioners will be needed to take care of the elderly.

  1. Flexibility of choosing your work environment

As a geriatric nurse, you are not limited to working in the hospital. On the contrary, you can work in retirement, outpatient, and rehabilitation facilities, as well as continuing care communities.

  1. Rewarding work

Caring for the elderly can be highly rewarding. You can develop strong relationships with the patients and their families, which makes your work easier and more motivating.

Earning potential in Gerontological

Specializing in dealing with the elderly should mainly be based on passion and purpose. Nonetheless, salary expectation is one of the factors to consider. The potential earnings in this nursing specialty vary depending on geographic location, experience, and level of education, among others. Nonetheless, the payment is very considerable, and one can earn a decent living working as a geriatric nurse. On average, the pay ranges from $49,000 to $95,000. This range is bound to change in the coming years seeing that the aging population in the U.S is growing fast.

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