Student Interested in Geriatrics-Need advice

  1. I will be starting nursing school in August and I am very interested in geriatric nursing. I eventually want to get my masters and maybe pHd and focus on geriatrics.
    My question is this: Would you recommend that I work in a hospital before moving into long-term care right after graduating? I am interested to get your feedback.

    Thanks all!
    Todd
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   ShortFuse_LPN
    Hi! First of all, welcome to the board!

    It is good to hear that someone is interested in geriatrics. A lot of times geriatrics seems to be a last resort and the hearts of the caregivers aren't really into it. I worked in a hospital right out of nursing school and while it did a lot to build my confidence, I'm not really sure that it made me a better LTC nurse. LTC and hospital settings are two different worlds, in my opinion.

    I'm sure some may disagree with me but you will get great advice here, from both sides.

    Good Luck in school!
  4. by   Used and abused
    I worked in a hospital for over 10 years. Believe me, you learn a lot about geriatrics while working in a hospital, and now working in a LTC, I have a lot to share and a lot of experience with tests, procedures etc. to share with my coworkers. It was a great experience for me and I am glad I did it that way. You learn a lot.
  5. by   txsugarlvn
    Congratulations on your choice of geriatrics. It's a wonderfully challenging but highly satisfying field. So many nurses seem to disregard it as a "last resort" but I believe you'll find that it's wonderful.
    As for the experience, I worked LTC first and then moved to the hospital as an agency nurse while continuing in LTC. There is so much you learn in LTC that you will never learn in the hospital. Not having to do with tests, procedures, and the like...nothing compares to a hospital in learning those things. But you will learn how to relate to the elderly and how to handle the families (or lack thereof) in ways that you don't learn in a hospital. It suprised me how many times nurses whose only experience with the elderly were when they had patients in the hospital in the age range could not understand the patient's behavior or how to handle a patient with dementia or alzheimer's. Your whole demeanor, attitude, and approach have to change for these special patients in the geriatric field. Not just the ones suffering from OBS, dementia, alzheimer's but all of them. That is a major part of the experience you will gain in LTC.
    All that being said, both places will teach you so much about nursing as a whole. However, when it comes to geriatrics, I've found that nothing teaches better than the hands on approach and working with the patients in this field on a daily basis.
    I wish you the best! There aren't enough good geriatric nurses out there.
  6. by   aimeee
    I went right to LTC because at the time I graduated the market was fairly tight (can you believe that?) and most of the jobs in the hospital were float pool and I did not think that seemed like a good thing for a green nurse, and also I felt MUCH more comfortable in the nursing home. Many people recommend that year of med-surg just for the wide experience and skills you gain there. Whether you should go that route depends though on YOU. So, if there is a job in a hospital unit where you will have good mentors and an environment conducive to learning, and you feel it will suit you, then it is a good plan to get a little of that experience before moving to LTC.
  7. by   twarlik
    Thanks for all the great advice!
    I'll have to give this a lot of thought. Plenty of time to make my decision.

    Thanks again!
    Todd
  8. by   Tim-GNP
    I have spent almost my entire career in Gerontological Nursing. As others have pointed out, hospital and long term care are two different worlds. I do work per diem in a hospital, but it is on a unit called 'acute care of the elderly.'

    If you are truly interested in Gerontology- consider what aspect of Gerontological nursing you want to work in- [long term care, home care, hospice, dementia care, assisted living, well-elder, etc.] and go with it.

    Good luck with whatever you decide
  9. by   any
    You asked what made me choose geriatrics. The only thing I can say is that I have worked with all different age groups and prefer the elderly. In society, many view the elderly as outcasts. They always seem to be getting the bad end of most situations. My heart is simply with these people. Elderly people have lived long lives, therefore, I believe they are wise and have something to share with me. For many family members of elderly, they don't understand about physical and psychological changes that are occuring withe their loved ones, and I want to provide education to them, and provide their elderly family member with the best care possible. I just graduated with my BSN, and may sooner or later go back to school to earn my masters in geriatric nursing.
  10. by   twarlik
    Originally posted by any
    You asked what made me choose geriatrics. The only thing I can say is that I have worked with all different age groups and prefer the elderly. In society, many view the elderly as outcasts. They always seem to be getting the bad end of most situations. My heart is simply with these people. Elderly people have lived long lives, therefore, I believe they are wise and have something to share with me. For many family members of elderly, they don't understand about physical and psychological changes that are occuring withe their loved ones, and I want to provide education to them, and provide their elderly family member with the best care possible. I just graduated with my BSN, and may sooner or later go back to school to earn my masters in geriatric nursing.
    Thanks for sharing. You sound a lot like me. I'm thinking about working in geriatrics, but I'll have to give it some more thought.
    I appreciate all of the information everyone has shared with me on this topic.

    Todd

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