Post a thoughtful response to at least two (2) other colleagues’ initial postings. Responses to colleagues should be supportive and helpful (examples of an acceptable comment are: “This is interesting – in my practice, we treated or resolved (diagnosis or issue) with (x, y, z meds, theory, management principle) and according to the literature…” and add supportive reference. Avoid comments such as “I agree” or “good comment.”
The gerontological population continues to grow at a rapid pace. Between 2005 and 2015, there was a 30% growth in the population over the age of 65 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). This aging population is not only looking for healthcare, but is also seeking healthcare professionals with compassion and knowledge to meet their complex medical needs. This discussion board will discuss who will care for this aging population, healthcare trends related to nursing care, and how the ANA Standards and Scope of Nursing Practice relate to older Americans.
The “gerontological nurse” is capable and willing to care for the underserved aging population. It takes a strong knowledge base to understand patients with long and complex medical histories. These patients often have comorbidities and may have diminished metal cognition. As members of this population age, they are often more and more reliant on caregivers (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). Geriatric nurses must also be prepared to care for the entire aspect of a patient as patients may become completely dependent on their care.
Gerontological nursing is a specialty in which few new nurses choose. I think the complexity of health problems combined with lack of resources makes the specialty frightening for new graduates. Nursing students often begin clinical caring for this population and this can set the tone for their career. One study of nursing students found that when students were able to feel fulfilled and realized the effects of their care on patients they often developed better care giving attitudes. It’s important for nursing students to be supported and allowed to grow during care attitude development (Imai, Onishi, & Bando, 2017). When I came out of nursing school, I took a medical-surgical position that cared for pediatrics and adults on the same floor, however, most of my patients were geriatric patients. I found them to be the most challenging medically and emotionally. Many of my coworkers felt overworked, underappreciated, and underpaid. I believe more nurses would be willing to choose geriatric nursing if enough staff and resources were readily available so that nurses felt their patients were not receiving bare minimum care. Many geriatric nurses do not choose that specialty for the glory, rather to make a difference and care for a vulnerable person.
In A Profile of Older Americans: 2016, the government took a look at older Americans’ statistics and some challenges they’re facing. One section focused on health and healthcare showed comparisons between the older population and the younger population in both healthcare needs and costs. It is easy to see that older Americans are the greatest healthcare consumers. Along with higher usage of the system, they are also balancing health care needs with lower income and underinsurance. This makes the older Americans a vulnerable patient population and nurses are expected to care for and protect them (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). As part of the ANA’s Standards of Practice, nurses are responsible to provide complete and ethical care to these consumers. Nurses should follow standardized assessments and provide responsible and collaborative care to all patients. In addition, by providing education, using evidence-based practice, and protecting resources nurses can help to lower healthcare costs and increase the health of the older American (American Nurses Association, 2015).
In conclusion, as Americans continue to age their need for quality healthcare providers continues to grow. Nurses not only need to encourage others to pursue a career in gerontological nursing, they need to be aware of the need and advocate for this largely growing vulnerable patient population. Healthcare resources are limited and safe quality care is needed.
Imai, Y., Onishi, C., & Bando, T. (2017). Students’ Care-Related Attitudes During Geriatric Nursing
Training. International Journal of Human Caring,21(4), 176-184. doi:10.20467/1091-
Nursing scope and standards of practice(3rd ed.). (2015). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses
United States of America, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging.
(2016). A Profile of Older Americans: 2016.
he population of elderly people in the United States is increasing each year, and with this growth comes many healthcare issues such as increasing cases of chronic illnesses, comorbidities, and adequate resources and staff to care for this population (Ording & Sørensen, 2013). The purpose of this discussion post is to describe what a gerontological nurse is, reasons why this field of nursing is unpopular among nursing students, ways to increase interest in this nursing field, and the relationship the two assigned articles have with each other.
For me, gerontological nursing is a nurse specializing in the field of geriatrics, which is essentially understanding how to best care for the elderly population. I believe this field is an unpopular choice among nursing students because caring for the elderly requires patience and empathy, and on the surface, it might not seem that the nurse is doing much for these patients except “babysitting” them. It seems there is less appeal in caring for an older patient with chronic illnesses than caring for younger patients with acute illnesses (Meiboom, de Vries, Hertogh, & Scheele, 2015). To garner interest in the field of gerontological nursing, I believe more exposure to the field is necessary. This would include education on the vast nursing needs for this population and the rewards, benefits, and impacts a career in this field has not just for the nurse but for elderly patients also.
In the two assigned articles, the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) article applies to the article on America’s increasing aging population because part of ANA’s definition of the nursing scope of practice answers the “who”, “when”, “where”, “how”, and “why” of nursing practice (Nursing: Scope and standards of practice, 2015). Applying ANA’s definitions to the aging population article, part of nurses’ duties is to meet the changing health needs of a population (namely, the aging population) by professionally providing education and care for these patients. While these standards apply to all nursing practices for all patient populations, it specifically applies to the gerontological population since there is an increased need and demand for healthcare and education.
Meiboom, A. A., de Vries, H., Hertogh, C. M. P. M., & Scheele, F. (2015). Why medical students do not choose a career in geriatrics: A systematic review. BMC Medical Education, 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-015-0384-4
Nursing: Scope and standards of practice. (2015) (3rd ed.). Silver Springs, MD: American Nurses Association. Retrieved from https://catmailohio.sharepoint.com/sites/chsp-nurs…
Ording, A. G., & Sørensen, H. T. (2013). Concepts of comorbidities, multiple morbidities, complications, and their clinical epidemiologic analogs. Clinical Epidemiology, 5, 199–203. https://doi.org/10.2147/CLEP.S45305