Do you have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing? Are you currently working as a professional in the field? If so, you could take your career to the next level by earning your Master of Science in Nursing degree with a specialization in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Continuing your education is a valuable way to make yourself more marketable and may also help you increase your salary and benefits.
What Is Adult Gerontology Nursing?
Nurses specializing in adult gerontology care for patients as they age. Elderly patients have unique health care needs unlike any other demographic. As a result, some of the issues adult gerontology nurse practitioners regularly encounter in their patients include:
- Limited mobility
- Weaker respiratory systems
- Reduced bone density
- Increased chances of infection
- Urinary incontinence
- Memory problems
- Cognitive decline
As an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP), your primary concerns will include advocating for your patients, preventing illness and injury, assisting the healing process, and helping your patients remain as comfortable as possible. A successful outcome with an elderly patient may look quite different than it does for a patient in the prime of life. You will need to understand and accept this to succeed in gerontology nursing.
What Does an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Do?
As an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, you may care for elderly patients to help them manage illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. You may also help older adults by providing evidence-based patient centered care that promotes health. Nurse practitioner practices may vary but typically involves:
- Promoting health
- Diagnosing and managing illnesses
- Developing treatment plans
- Prescribing medications
What Type of Patients Do They See?
AGPCNPs typically specialize in care of older patients. However, their practice is not limited to the elderly. Some AGPCNPs administer care to patients of different ages, from early adulthood through end-of-life. For this reason, a single AGPCNP can treat the same patient for decades. While acute-care nurse practitioners usually provide immediate, short-term care to patients in crisis, a primary care nurse provides long-term care, working on disease prevention and management, counseling, and overall wellness.
Where Do Gerontologic Nurses Work?
Primary Care AGPCNPs often work in community health care clinics, doctor’s offices, or rehabilitation centers. They may also provide their services in home-care settings. They care for various medical conditions and illnesses.
What Is an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner’s Scope of Practice?
As an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, your scope of practice will depend upon your certification and your state licensure.
As an AGNPCP, you may be responsible for examining patients and making diagnoses, developing treatment plans and coordinating care, helping patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, and coaching patients on prevention. As such, you may work in the outpatient environment anywhere elderly nursing care is needed.
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Skills Needed for Effective Elderly Nursing Care
Nurse practitioners who work with older patients need specialized geriatric nursing skills. However, other skills are necessary, too. These include communication, active listening, advocacy, and assertiveness. And the most successful NPs have outstanding credentials in three crucial areas:
The ability to lead others compassionately and assertively is an excellent skill for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in gerontologic nursing. Gaining your patients’ and peers’ trust and respect is essential. And as a nurse practitioner with advanced training and skills, you could be responsible for leading a team of younger or more inexperienced nursing professionals. How you mentor and coach them to be outstanding health care professionals matters.
Nursing is a career that demands the best critical thinking skills. Too often, situations are not ideal. You may not have the equipment or medication you need. You may be working with a skeleton staff. You could deal with elderly patients who are in pain, confused, or fearful. The ability to reason things out and think on your feet is an absolute necessity.
Patient and Caregiver Relations
One area of skills you may not have considered is your ability to build and sustain relationships with patient caregivers. Not only must you gain the trust of the patients you treat, but you must be able develop a respectful, trusting relationship with the people in the patient’s life who provide care outside of medical staff – think spouses, adult children, or other loved ones. These relationships are vital because caregivers are an integral component to helping assist the patient with any tasks they may have difficulty performing, as well as ensuring the patient’s care plan is followed, such as taking prescribed medication or performing physical therapy exercises. They act as something of an intermediary between the medical professionals and the patients, meaning their cooperation and trust in you and your medical team is essential.
Reasons to Become an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
Working with an aging population has unique challenges, but there are many rewards, too. If you feel a career in gerontologic nursing is right for you, there are good reasons to pursue it.
Growth of Patient Population Spurs Job Security for AGPCNPs
Currently, roughly 16 percent of the United States is over the age of 65, but by the year 2050, that number will rise to 22 percent. Nearly one-fifth of the nation will eventually need elderly nursing care. Yet, as the demand for gerontologic nurses increases, the supply is not expected to meet it. For those with geriatric nursing skills and advanced degrees, this translates into superior job security. The jobs are there right now, and the need will only increase.
If you have ever witnessed abuse or neglect of an elderly loved one or relative, you understand the need for advocacy. Elderly patients may struggle with unique conditions such as memory loss and confusion, which makes it difficult for them to report instances of abuse. Additionally, they may struggle with weakness or limited mobility, which makes fighting back not an option. As an adult gerontology nurse practitioner, you could be a voice for those patients who feel the world has forgotten them. There is a great reward in knowing you have helped an elderly patient receive the care they need to recover from an unexpected injury or illness.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Working as an AGPCNP often means working with peers as part of a team to provide the best patient outcomes possible. In this role, you could work with patients and their families and other members of the medical profession, including doctors, surgeons, nutritionists, specialists, rehabilitative therapists, and more. The role you play may be minor, but the imprint you leave behind will be significant.
Professional development describes your actions to increase your knowledge and improve your job skills to make yourself a more marketable applicant or a more valued worker. Earning your MSN degree is an ideal way to become better and more respected at what you do.
How to Become an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
If you are ready to learn more about the exciting field of gerontologic nursing, we invite you to explore with a specialization in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, offered online through American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences. Fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, our MSN degree provides you with the valuable skills needed to pursue a career in elderly nursing care. Contact us today to learn more.
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