What does a geriatric nurse do?

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What is a Geriatric Nurse?

A geriatric nurse provides care to older adults. Geriatric nurses work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. They have advanced training and knowledge in caring for the unique needs of elderly patients, including managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, dementia, and arthritis. Geriatric nurses may also work with patients who have suffered from strokes or heart attacks and require specialized care to help them recover.

In addition to providing medical care, geriatric nurses may also offer emotional support to their patients and their families. They may help patients cope with the challenges of aging, including loneliness and depression. Geriatric nurses may also work with other healthcare professionals to develop care plans that address the unique needs of elderly patients, and they may coordinate care between different healthcare providers to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

What does a Geriatric Nurse do?

A geriatric nurse laughing with one of her elderly patients.

Geriatric nurses play a critical role in the healthcare system by providing specialized care to the elderly population. As the aging population continues to grow, the demand for geriatric nurses increases, as they are trained to address the unique healthcare needs of older adults.

Duties and Responsibilities
Some of the key duties and responsibilities of geriatric nurses are:

  • Assessment and monitoring: Geriatric nurses assess their patients' physical, cognitive, and emotional status to determine their healthcare needs. They monitor vital signs, administer medication, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment plans.
  • Care planning and management: Geriatric nurses develop care plans that address their patients' specific healthcare needs. They manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and dementia, and provide wound care, palliative care, and end-of-life care.
  • Patient education: Geriatric nurses educate patients and their families about their healthcare conditions, medication management, and lifestyle modifications. They provide guidance on nutrition, exercise, and fall prevention, among other things.
  • Communication and coordination: Geriatric nurses act as advocates for their patients, communicating with family members, caregivers, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that they receive appropriate care. They also coordinate care between different healthcare providers, such as physicians, physical therapists, and social workers.
  • Geriatric mental health: Geriatric nurses may specialize in mental health care for older adults, addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, and dementia-related behaviors. They work with patients, families, and other healthcare providers to manage mental health issues effectively.
  • Safety and quality of care: Geriatric nurses ensure the safety and quality of care for their patients by monitoring their environment, ensuring proper infection control, and preventing falls and other accidents.
  • Research and advocacy: Geriatric nurses may participate in research studies to advance the knowledge and understanding of geriatric care. They also advocate for older adults' rights and access to healthcare services.

Types of Geriatric Nurses
There are several types of geriatric nurses, including:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) - CNAs work under the supervision of RNs and provide basic care to elderly patients, such as assisting with daily activities, monitoring vital signs, and helping patients with mobility issues.
  • Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (GNP) - GNPs are advanced practice nurses who specialize in providing primary care to elderly patients. They can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and provide health education and counseling.
  • Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist (GCNS) - GCNSs are registered nurses with advanced training in gerontology. They specialize in providing care to elderly patients with complex medical conditions and may work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, or hospice care.
  • Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) - GCMs are not nurses but are professionals who specialize in managing the care of elderly patients. They may coordinate with healthcare providers, manage medication schedules, and arrange for in-home care or placement in long-term care facilities.

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What is the workplace of a Geriatric Nurse like?

Geriatric nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and patients' homes. The workplace of a geriatric nurse is typically fast-paced, demanding, and highly rewarding.

One of the primary responsibilities of a geriatric nurse is to provide comprehensive care to elderly patients. This includes monitoring patients' vital signs, administering medications, assisting with daily activities, and providing emotional support. Geriatric nurses must also be knowledgeable about the unique medical conditions that affect elderly patients, such as Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and arthritis.

In addition to providing direct patient care, geriatric nurses often work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians, physical therapists, and social workers. They may collaborate with these professionals to develop comprehensive care plans for patients, coordinate treatment plans, and monitor patient progress.

Geriatric nursing can be emotionally challenging, as nurses often work with patients who are dealing with chronic health conditions and end-of-life care. However, many geriatric nurses find their work highly rewarding, as they have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of their patients and their families.

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Geriatric Nurses are also known as:
Geriatric Registered Nurse