As a geriatric nurse, you’ll work with elderly patients to manage diseases, promote health, and generally work with senior citizens to increase their quality of life.
The tasks you’ll do on a daily basis will depend on your education level and the facility where you work. Geriatric nurses are most commonly employed by nursing homes, where you’ll assist patients with hygiene, prepare patients for therapy to encourage mobility, feed patients who cannot feed themselves, develop pain management plans, provide companionship, communicate with families, monitor progress, check vital signs, administer medication, and more. Geriatric nurses can also work at more general hospitals or clinics, doing many of the same tasks but with the goal of sending the patient home rather than providing long-term care. Some geriatric nurses specialize in specific diseases that affect elderly patients, such as Alzheimer’s. You can also work at home health care services, traveling to elderly patients’ homes to provide daily care.
Salary and Career Options
On average, geriatric nurses make around $57,000 annually. You can make more if you get an associate of science in nursing or bachelor of science in nursing, which allows you to become an RN, but if you want to get started working in geriatrics as quickly as possible, you can become an LPN, which requires less than a year of training. The higher your level of education, the more money you can expect to make.
Your education will include classes in general nursing, anatomy, emergency first aid, communication, and more, and nursing programs also include on-hands training through clinical work. After you have at least 2000 hours of experience as a geriatric nurse and complete at least 30 hours of continuing education in this field, you can also pursue Gerontological Nursing Certification, allowing you to work in more specialized positions in this field.
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