If you are interested in pursuing a degree in nursing, or you are already working in the field and interested in pursuing a specialty certification, it is important to learn about various specialty options before you commit to any one choice.
There is a growing need for nurses in a variety of different environments, but one area where the demand and the supply gap continue to widen is gerontology. If you are wondering just what a gerontological nurse practitioner does and how you can pursue this specialty certification, ready this straightforward guide to gerontological nursing, and learn what you need to know.
What Separates a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner from the Standard Registered Nurse
Nursing is a multifaceted field where you can be responsible for a wide variety of duties on a daily basis. As a registered nurse, you are trained to work with all kinds of patients when they are seeing a physician or are being admitted in a hospital. Registered Nurses do a number of the same duties as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner. However, the latter is an advanced practice professional in the field who has obtained their specialty certification to work with a unique demographic that consists of elderly patients. A gerontology nurse has more experience, more training, and more responsibility than an RN would have.
The Path to Becoming a CGNP
To become a specialty nurse in gerontology, you will need to earn your BS, pass the national RN exam, work as an RN, obtain your MSN degree with a minor in geriatrics, and then earn your board certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. After you have earned this certification through the credentialing body, you will have to renew your credentials every 5 years to maintain your certification.
What Will You Do Once You Earn Your Specialty?
Before you commit to enrolling in a Master’s degree program, you must be sure that working with geriatric patients is really what you are interested in doing. As a CGNP, you will diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications, conduct check-ups, order lab work, manage pain with various techniques, and handle preventative care. Because you are a practitioner, you will work more independently under a physician. Many gerontology nurses see patients more than physicians do because they are authorized to do so much with the patient without supervision.
You can work in physicians offices, hospice, hospitals, and long-term care centers once you are certified. Some CGNP even start their own practice where they can offer the elderly convenient and quick healthcare. If you want to be a nurse who faces patients but you want more independence, this could be the direction you want to take your career.
Job outlook in the healthcare sector as a whole is positive, but the outlook for gerontology nursing professionals is very positive. With the field projected to grow by 26 percent within the next 7 years, there is plenty of time for you to earn your degree and then fill an open high-paying position. If you enjoy working with the elderly and you enjoy your independence, start getting the master’s degree you need to earn your board certification and get certified as a CGNP. Not only will you enjoy a stable career, you can also increase your earning potential.