What Is Gerontological Nursing?

Gerontological nurses, also called geriatric nurses, care specifically for elderly patients. Professionals who specialize in this area often work in rehabilitation centers, hospice facilities, nursing homes, geriatricians’ offices and patients’ homes for one-on-one care.

Why You Should Study Gerontological Nursing

Nursing.org conducted an extensive survey to better understand the state of nursing. They found that due to the growing elderly population, those who study gerontological nursing have particularly good job prospects and that specialization in this area can “improve professional mobility in a competitive environment.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics determines the country will need an additional 400,000 registered nurses by 2026. The department predicts that those who have extensive training to work with the elderly will be most sought after by employers. “Generally, registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) will have better job prospects than those without one. Employers also may prefer candidates who have some related work experience or certification in a specialty area, such as gerontology.”

A required course in University of South Carolina Aiken’s Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing online program is NURS A440: Gerontological Nursing. The school recognizes the country’s pressing need for elderly care providers and gives students a comprehensive introduction to the topic. In the seven-week online course, professors teach how to achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles for aging patients. RNs interested in this area can earn a Gerontological Nursing Certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Emotional and Financial Rewards

Nursing.org’s State of Nursing report says, “The personal fulfillment from seeing a patient recover is these respondents’ favorite aspect of their jobs. Geriatric nurses report that helping a patient regain independence is a job highlight, and that their relationships with patients and family are emotionally rewarding.”

The survey also discovered that nearly half of the participants said they “often” experience career satisfaction in gerontological nursing, while an astounding 30 percent report they’re satisfied “every day.”

Salary.com places the average yearly salary for gerontology nurses at $61,181-$79,378. Higher salaries are generally contingent on location and level of education. According to the State of Nursing report, the top five specialties examined (including gerontological) tend to pay at least $30 per hour, and “often significantly more.”

Primary Responsibilities

Because geriatric patients often have a disease or illness resulting in diminished mental capacity, they can often no longer make sound decisions concerning their health. Consequently, gerontological nurses often focus on preventive care. Their goal is to maintain the healthiest life possible for each patient and keep them safe from potential injuries and worsening medical conditions.

Daily responsibilities may include implementing pain management, performing routine checkups and screenings, creating patient care plans, administering medications and rehabilitating patients following injury.

To help nurses provide optimal care to the elderly, USC Aiken’s online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program helps you develop communication skills, a deeper understanding of ethics, and the ability to assess the physical and psychosocial health of every patient. RNs who aspire to work in geriatrics can begin by contacting admissions and enrolling today. With the potential to graduate in as few as 12 months, you will be on your way to achieving your career goals.

Learn more about the University of South Carolina Aiken’s online RN to BSN program.


Johnson & Johnson: Geriatric Nurse


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses – Job Outlook

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