Would like to specialize in geriatrics - need advice

  1. After several years as a CNA in LTC, I have decided to go back to school and get my BSN. I am 2/3 through my first year of nursing school and would like to specialize in geriatrics. Does anyone know how much additional schooling that would take? Where would I get information on this?
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Reabock
    Most places, geriatrics is the majority of your patient load, talking acute care setting here. My thought is, no real extra time, there may be classes geared toward care of the elderly during your regular classwork. Believe me, you will get plenty of hands on with the geriatric population as the county as a whole is aging. just glad there are new ones like you to take care of the rest of us when we get there. Thanks!! Joanne in a very wet soggy Pennsylvania
  4. by   2bPhD
    JB - Congratulations on deciding to get your BSN. You won't regret it. You won't be able to specialize in geriatrics as a student, however after you graduate you can work towards a certification as a Certified Geriatric Nurse. AANC provides this certification and you can find information on their web site. You can also decide to go back to school for your Master degree and become a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (GNP). It will take about 2 years. GNP practice like other nurse practitioners only they are specialists. They can make medical diagnoses, order test, prescribe medications and manage patients as a primary care provider. AANC also certifies GNP and you will find this information on their web site as well. Good Luck!!!
  5. by   Sue RN GNC(C)
    As a nurse who sppecialized in gerontology, I do have a bit of advise for you. Do not go into the field right away. Since the elderly present with multi-faceted health concerns you will need a broad base of medical knowledge to work with - something you simply can not attain in nursing school. Geriatric facilities are staffed differently because of the acuity level - nursing care is generally not as intensive as in acute care. Managing a geriatric team of, say, 25 is very different than caring for your 8 patients in acute care, so getting your organizational skills down pat is also a must. I always recommend new graduate nurses to spend some time (at least a year) working on a busy medical unit. There is no place like it to get the basic knowledge you will need in caring for the elderly, and it is the best place to hone your organizational skills.

    Once you have that part under your belt, you can enroll in a variety of gerontology certificate programs - mine was completed while I worked, I did it part time, the program was 350 hours. I was then able to write (and pass) the Canadian Nursing Association exam to become certified. I am now working on my BsN and intend to become certified in palliative care as well.

    Good for you for wanting to specialize in Gerontology! There is a great need for good nurses in the fiield, and although many feel it simply is not interesting or exciting enough, i beg to differ. It is not an area for everyone, not for the feint of heart. You will need a great deal of compassion, empathy and understanding to care for these folks. You will need to be able to deal with death and dying, to be able to allow your residents to die with dignity and to be of great support for the families.
    Good luck!

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