Nurses that wish to go the extra mile and provide even more care to the elderly may find a great home as an adult care nurse practitioner. These professionals are in growing demand; their care is necessary for people in the upper age bracket.
As the aging population continues to grow, there should be more professionals needed in this field. There is no better time than now to enroll in an appropriate degree program.
Over the years, the stereotype for nurses has changed dramatically. Nurses were once thought to be dressed in white, caring for and prepping patients for doctor care. Nurses have always been a huge part of the medical field and their importance continues to grow.
Nurses nowadays have more importance than ever before. Nurses are given huge responsibility in medical settings and provide care that is irreplaceable by any other means. Patients rely on nurses to help them regardless of their ailments.
- Georgetown University’s online Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) program prepares qualified, BSN-educated nurses to provide acute and complex care management across a patient’s adult life.
Online Adult Nurse Practitioner Programs & Requirements
Bachelor’s level education is the first step to becoming a nurse practitioner.
Nursing is the required field for this career, since it is a sub-field of nursing as a whole. Students will find that the undergraduate nursing school is relevant to nurse practitioners to the highest degree. At the bachelor’s level, nursing majors will take part in extensive research into human health and anatomy. Nurses are also responsible for a lot of the social aspect of healthcare, communicating treatments to patients and relaying advice from doctors.
While in an undergraduate program, students will be introduced to anatomy, nursing tactics, as well as pharmaceuticals. All of the information gained while in an undergraduate program will provide a solid foundation for a career in this nursing practice. There are endless amounts of studies and procedures to be learned, so those interested in this field should have a desire for continual learning.
Since the requirements for nurses have changed over the last decade, there are a lot of nurses that are working with lower level degrees. There are many transitional programs available that promote associate’s level degrees to bachelor’s or higher depending on each path. Nurses are encouraged to look into higher degree programs regardless of their current education level.
Transitioning from a BSN to a MSN in Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Degree
Most nurse practitioners are working at the master’s degree level. A master’s degree in this discipline can be completed in 2-3 years post bachelor’s and will allow graduates to gain experience to work in the field.
All APRN (Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner) degrees require that students take part in supervised clinical experience, which involves working in hospitals or doctor’s offices under the direct supervision of instructors. The curriculum within these programs includes care and treatment procedures for the elderly population, physiology of aging, and pharmaceuticals. Since nurse practitioners have the ability to diagnose and treat illnesses, it is important that students learn the different diseases and their symptoms during this program.
Nurses in this specialty will also have the ability to prescribe needed medication to the patients that they treat, extending the importance of a thorough education. After completing this program and satisfying necessary clinical experience requirements, nurses will be eligible for licensure within their state. Most graduate programs require that nurses be registered prior to enrolling, so this requirement is likely already completed for most students.
Additional Adult Gerontology Programs
What Do Adult Care Nurse Practitioners Do?
Adult care nurse practitioners can work in a variety of settings after completing the education requirements set forth by their respective states. The aging population are typically seen in hospitals, private offices, and nursing home facilities. Adult care nurse practitioners can have their own clientele of patients in which they promote great health and wellness.
Assisting patients with everyday functioning is a huge priority of nurses in this specialty. Nurses in this field find it necessary to build strong relationships with their patients in order to gain trust. Patients in the older age bracket rely heavily on their care providers to ensure that they are getting their required medications, rehabilitation, and overall care.
Adult care nurse practitioners also work hard to ensure that patients are properly informed of the treatments that are being administered and the tests that are needed to determine courses of action. Nursing homes employ adult care nurse practitioners to care for large numbers of patients. With the assistance of license practical nurses and nursing aids, nurse practitioners can treat each patient depending on their individual needs. The importance of nurses in this specialty is high, especially with the increase in the aging population.
APRN Nurse Practitioner Careers
Nurse practitioners that have specialized in the care of the elderly will find that salaries range from $68,830 to $131,050 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). These salaries can vary widely depending on the state in which a professional works and his or her years of experience in the field. The ability to earn in this field solely relies on a professional’s willingness to work hard.
Setting goals that are beyond normal expectations will ensure that professionals succeed in this field. People want the best care when they employ a medical professional, so it is vital that nurses be able to provide it. Some areas of the United States have a greater demand for nurse practitioners in this division, making it financially worthwhile to find the best place for career opportunities.
The elderly population is one that has paid their dues to society. They deserve the very best of care from healthcare facilities. Those in the nursing field that study to become specialists in this field have found that the work is highly rewarding. Having the versatility to work in hospitals, small clinics, or even in their own private practice, nurse practitioners are more than satisfied with this line of nursing.
For those seeking a career choice that makes a difference in patients’ lives as well as their own, adult care nursing practice is a field that is sure to please.
What is your current position? How did you come to be in this position?
I am an adult nurse practitioner and provide primary care to adult patients in an outpatient office setting. I knew I wanted to work in primary care so I started in my current position as a new graduate NP after spending some time working as a staff nurse on a surgical unit while becoming a NP through a direct-entry program. I interviewed at several practices and I was fortunate to find a great physician mentor whom I have worked with for three years.
What are your roles and responsibilities?
As a nurse practitioner, I work independently seeing patients in my office and addressing their primary care needs. These needs can be simple, such as a common respiratory infection or the prescription of birth control, or they can be more complex, such as the long-term management of multiple chronic diseases i.e. diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, depression, etc.
For each patient I take a history, perform a physical exam, order appropriate tests (labs, xrays, etc) when necessary, make a diagnosis, and work with the patient to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan (prescribed medication, lifestyle changes, other therapies, etc). With all of my patients, I spend a lot of time teaching and trying to educate them so that they have a good understanding of their health and feel empowered to make healthy choices.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
As a nurse practitioner, I really focus on wellness education with all of my patients. There is nothing more fulfilling than when one of my patients successfully implements a healthy change such as losing weight, starting an exercise program, or quitting smoking. It means they are listening! Even more importantly, it means they realize the power they have to positively impact their health through lifestyle change.
What are the challenges of your current position?
Primary care can be a challenge because it is so unpredictable—you never know what you’re going to encounter on any given day in the office. Primary care NPs are well-versed generalist health care providers, but sometimes a patient’s more complex needs are beyond my scope of knowledge. I am fortunate to practice in an area where specialists (physicians, NPs or physician assistants) from all branches of healthcare are easily accessible and able to provide consult or co-manage a patient’s most complex medical issues.
What influenced you to go into nursing? What influenced you to choose this specialty?
My mother worked as a labor and delivery nurse on the 3-11 shift when I was growing up. As a kid, I remember looking forward to hearing stories about her shift the night before over breakfast. Because of that I knew at a very early age I wanted to go into health care. I spent my undergraduate years studying microbiology but I was drawn towards nursing when I realized I wanted to provide direct patient care. During the first year of my nursing education I discovered an interest in primary care as well as working with adolescents and older adults. That interest ultimately led me to my current practice.
What degrees or certifications would you recommend a nursing school student interested in your specialty?
Entry into nursing can be accomplished via many different pathways but NPs need a Master’s degree and to pass a national certification exam in their specialty area through either the ANCC or the AANP. I became an NP through a direct-entry nursing program, a three-year, full-time program for non-nurses with a bachelor’s degree in another field that trained me as both an RN and a NP. There are also more traditional programs for those who are already nurses but want to become NPs.
What would you say to someone who is considering going into nursing?
It’s a decision you’ll never regret! One of the unique things about nurses is that we work in a variety of different settings and there are abundant opportunities to apply your education and your nursing skills to various roles. You could practice for years in one area of nursing and then completely change gears and do something else still within the scope of nursing.
What should someone graduating with a nursing degree expect in the next few years?
Nursing is an essential profession and there will always be nursing jobs. Unfortunately, in the current economic climate, many health care institutions may be scaling back their hiring of new nurses. But I don’t believe new nurses should be discouraged by this. The most important thing is to get your foot in the door of the profession and start practicing and gaining experience, even if you don’t start out in your first choice or ideal job. Inevitably the economic climate will improve and then you will have valuable nursing experience that you can carry to any new role.