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Geriatrics Nurse

Geriatrics nurses specialize in working with elderly patients, who face a range of complex and often age-specific medical problems. Elderly individuals, who have a greater propensity for health concerns such as weakened immune systems, Alzheimer’s disease, fatigue/ immobility and osteoporosis to name a few, require specialized care provided by geriatrics nurses. Geriatric nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals and clinics, nursing/rehabilitation centers, physician’s offices and home health care agencies. Their responsibilities might include educating elderly patients on their medical condition; turning and bathing bedridden patients; administering medication or developing a medication management plan for patients taking multiple meds.

Entry-level geriatrics nurses will need to have earned an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and licensure as a registered nurse (RN) in the state in which they intend to practice. These degrees can be obtained at four-year universities, trade/vocational schools, technical schools and community colleges. Many online education options in nursing are also available. All nurses earn their RN license by taking a national examination called the NCLEX-RN. Many positions will require certification in CPR or Basic Life Support (BLS). Geriatrics is also a specialization of advanced practice nursing, such as nurse practitioners. Positions such as these will require a master’s degree.

Geriatric nurses with 1-4 years of experience earn an hourly wage between $24.57 and $30.24, according to a limited number of salary postings on online compensation site Payscale.com. Job prospects should be excellent over the next 10 years, due to the aging of the baby boomers resulting in an increased need for nurses qualified to treat elderly patients. It’s also important to note that people are living longer due to continuing advances in modern medicine. Geriatric nurses working in nursing care facilities are projected to experience job growth of 25 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.