Taking care of geriatrics, or elderly people, is no easy task. When people reach an advanced age, it is likely that they will develop a variety of health complications, and possibly mental and emotional problems as well. Many old people need constant care to help them overcome their physical disabilities or health problems, but most of them do not have anybody to attend to their needs on a daily basis. This is the reason why geriatric nurses are becoming more in demand these days.
Geriatric nurses do not only provide nursing services for old people; they also try to promote a healthy lifestyle and help to provide emotional comfort. The conditions of illnesses in old people can be rather unpredictable, and nurses have to look out for sudden changes that may require immediate medical attention. As such, geriatric nurses need to have a certain level of knowledge about the specific medical conditions of their patients, so that they will understand the implications of symptoms that may occur. In some cases, they also have to ensure that the patients follow diet and exercise regimes that are recommended by doctors.
Many old people are also uncomfortable with the fact that they will pass away soon, and this may result in mental and emotional depression. Geriatric nurses have to provide mental and emotional support for old people, so that they will have the peace of mind and strength to overcome their difficult situations. Communication with the patients’ families is another important aspect of a geriatric nurse’s job, and this involves giving the families a detailed report of the patients’ health conditions, advice on complicated nursing responsibilities, and others. If the families engage caregivers to take care of the patients, the geriatric nurses have to train them to perform certain nursing tasks, so that the patients’ conditions will be kept under control.
Those who are interested in pursuing a career in geriatric nursing have to obtain a nursing certification first. Then, they have to attend specialized geriatric nursing courses to learn how to take care of old people with specific medical conditions. There are many geriatric nursing organizations around the world that provide opportunities for higher education as well as extra training materials for geriatric nursing. These organizations can also arrange for nursing students to participate in hospital internships, so that they can get some practical experience before they embark on their careers as geriatric nurses. Geriatric nurses can work in hospitals, residential health care centers, or private homes. Those who choose to do home nursing can either be a live-in nurse or a visiting nurse who provides nursing services for a specified number of hours a day.
Since the baby boomers are reaching old age, there will be a great number of people in the US who will need geriatric nursing services. Therefore, those who are pursuing a career in geriatric nursing can be assured that there will be plenty of employment opportunities available. Geriatric nursing is a rewarding job that offers a lot of exciting challenges, and it offers a great sense of accomplishment to those who enjoy helping others.