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Meet the Nursing Requirements to Become a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

Career News July 29, 2013

When people become involved in the nursing profession, they give quality health care to patients when the patient becomes ill or suffers from an injury. Registered nurses and nurse practitioners may specialize in a certain type of nursing field to give this health care to patients. Geriatric nurse practitioners, also known as gerontological nurse practitioners, gives nursing care to older patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other types of health care facilities.

A geriatric nurse practitioner concentrates on the illness, diseases, and other health problems that affect the elderly. The nurses give services that include health promotion, disease prevention, and health counseling to older patients. The nurse monitors a patient’s health to spot medical problems, so the patient can receive the necessary treatment early.

To become a geriatric nurse practitioner, nurses must meet the necessary educational requirements to become registered nurses and obtain the necessary degrees, so they can choose a specialization in gerontology.

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Requirements for Nursing Degrees

Nurses begin their educational requirements by taking the necessary nursing classes at state-approved nursing schools and universities. People may also go to a vocational school or community college to obtain the basic learning needed to become a nurse. People who go to a vocational school or community college can obtain an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree.

Core classes nurses will take include anatomy, medical terminology and patient care. Nurses can then seek their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree to become licensed practical nurses or registered nurses after graduating from class programs of ethics and physiology. While a few employers may take on nurses with an ASN degree in basic nursing roles under supervision, most employers require the nurse to obtain a bachelor’s degree to be offered employment at most health care facilities and hospitals.

Before becoming employed, nurses must obtain the registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) certification. Nurses will take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) test to receive their license. Nurses must also fulfill all requirements in their state of residence to receive the appropriate state nursing certification.

Work Experience

Now that the nurse has obtained their RN license and their state certification, they should obtain the appropriate work experience. The nurses should seek job opportunities that put them in an environment where they can work with older patients. The nurse should obtain 1 to 3 years of nursing experience before seeking their master’s degree with a specialization in gerontology.

While the nurse is working in a nursing environment, they should gain experience in working with technical equipment most often needed in providing treatment and care to senior patients. Nurses should have a working knowledge on how to use EKG machines, IV equipment, oxygen delivery equipment and nebulizers.

Gerontology Master’s Degree Program, Certification and Licensing

Once the registered nurse gains the necessary work experience, they can take the required coursework to obtain a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. During the 3 years of continuing education, the nurse can seek a specialization in gerontology. Nurses will learn important education such as conducting assessments, providing treatment, and other advanced clinical skills.

Nurses may also seek to become adult nurse practitioner with a specialization in gerontology as the nurse takes the appropriate class programs for this advanced degree. In addition, a nurse may pursue their doctorate as a geriatric nurse practitioner.

Once the nurses obtain their graduate degrees, they can become certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to become a gerontological (geriatric) nurse practitioner. Once they pass the exam, nurses will be Gerontological Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (GNP-BC). Nurses who have been certified with this certification now have the knowledge and work experience requirements to treat elderly patients and give the appropriate health care to these patients in a number of job positions.

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