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A Quick Guide to Becoming an Adult-Gerontology Nurse

Adult-gerontology is a nursing specialty focused on the unique needs of aged adults. Adult-gerontology nurses work to promote the health and well-being of this population through community-based care, primary health care, and long-term care (nursing homes).

Typically, all you need is to graduate from a nationally accredited school with a nursing degree and complete the required coursework specific to geriatric nursing.

Why Are Adult-Gerontology Nurses Needed?

As the population of the U.S. ages, the need for nurses to care for these patients increases.

The average life expectancy of Americans is now 77 years, up from around 73 in the 1980s. With this increase in life expectancy, there is a greater need for long-term care services.

Adult-gerontology nurses provide some of these services and plan for the transition from hospital care to home or long-term care.

Where Do Adult-Gerontology Nurses Work?

Adult-gerontology nurses work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, home health, and nursing homes.

Adult-gerontology registered nurses (AGRN) usually work alongside traditional adult acute-care nurses to meet the needs of elderly adults who are chronically ill or disabled.

What Do Adult-Gerontology Nurses Do?

Adult-gerontology nurses, who are also referred to as AGNPs (adult-gerontology nurse practitioners), conduct a physical assessment of the patient to complete the initial health history.

The AGNP will also conduct a psychosocial assessment to assess the patient's mental health status and make treatment recommendations.

In addition, the AGNP may volunteer at a hospice center and provides comfort through the administration of medications and other treatments. The work environment may include long hours where there is frequent exposure to the elderly and their families.

What Career Choices Are Available for Adult Gerontology Nurses?

Adult-gerontology nurses typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and correctional facilities.

In recent years, adult-gerontology nurses have begun working independently or through private practices.

These professionals provide advice and consultations to patients and their families to help maintain their health at home. Adult-gerontology nurses may also choose to teach nursing students as part of their careers.

Overall, the type of job adult-gerontology nurses will choose will depend on their education, experience, and the preferences of their employer.

The Path to Becoming an Adult-Gerontology Nurse

Adult-gerontology nurses often seek a master’s degree in gerontology to advance in their careers.

A nurse may use the following strategies to bring his or her education and training up to the standard required by the nursing profession.

Adult-Gerontology Nurses: Program Requirements

Programs in this specialty have been piloted to include intensive gerontology, aging care, and other forms of adult nursing services in a program study.

The requirements vary from state to state but all programs require that students meet the basic education and background requirements of practicing nurses.

The curriculum for each of these programs is identical, except for the educational path taken upon completion.

Once these requirements are completed, individuals that wish to become registered nurses can opt to become adult-gerontology nurse practitioners or adult acute care nurse practitioners depending on their career goals.

Nursing Career Prospects and Different Adult Care Paths

The outlook for adult-gerontology nurses is positive.

According to the BLS statistics, the demand for nurse practitioners (and more specifically, adult-gerontology nurse practitioners) will continue to grow steadily as the U.S population ages and health care costs continue to rise.

The average salary for adult-gerontology nurse practitioners is around $91,000.

It is also projected that employment opportunities will expand through 2022 and beyond in health care facilities and offices.

Becoming a nurse is a great career option if you want to make a difference in people's lives.

Nursing is also a growing field, especially in gerontology, meaning that there will be ample employment opportunities available and the potential to move up the career ladder.

Nurse Leadership in Adult Care

Adult-gerontology nursing has advanced a great deal in the past decade.

There are now opportunities for professional nurses to take leadership roles within teams through courses like the dnp executive leadership online programs.

Adult-gerontology nursing is now an established specialty and adults are represented as a growing patient population.

With these two important facts in place, there will be an increasing need for nurses to make a positive impact on the lives of older adults.

Adult Geropsychiatry

Not only have clinicians identified the individual needs of older adults, but geropsychiatric health professionals have also begun to take an active role in recommending treatment for patients.

Geropsychiatric nurses are specialized nurses that may be called upon to evaluate and treat dementia and related illnesses. This specialty provides patients with a specialized level of care and has many additional roles in developing and implementing new therapies for patients.

Although geropsychiatric nurses are important members of the health care team, it is important to note that they also require specific training before beginning practice.

Geropsychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

The use of nurse practitioners in the treatment of geriatric patients has been shown to result in better patient outcomes than those who receive treatments by physician assistants or other medical professionals.

Nurse practitioner programs are designed to help students become educated about geriatrics, but also give them the skills necessary to meet the needs of this group.

Adult Acute Care

Adult acute care is a specialized field of nursing that concentrates on providing medical care to critically ill older adults. Adult-acute-care nurses are often employed in hospitals and intensive care units, but also may provide care at home and in long-term care facilities.

The work of an adult acute care nurse may consist of assessing the patient's medical condition and initiating the administration of the necessary medications, treatments, and therapies.

In addition to providing medical care, adult-acute-care nurses can also provide comfort by adjusting their patients' environments and providing any other support services that they believe will help them recover.


Adult-gerontology nursing has become an established specialty with formalized training and education options in place.

This will help adults achieve their highest level of health throughout all stages of life, from incremental age-related declines to the end of life.

As an adult-gerontology nurse, this specialization can help you meet the growing needs and special health issues of adults.

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