Consider a Gerontology Specialization for Your MSN Degree
Nurses can help patients’ later years be just as fulfilling as their early years.
The number of people in the U.S. aged 65 and over grew rapidly over the last century, from 3.1 million in 1900 to 35 million in 2000. In 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 52 million people were 65 or older. By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older.1 Because older adults tend to need more medical care as they age, the aging population will drive an increase in healthcare employment opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurse practitioners will increase a whopping 52% between 2020 and 2030.2 Many of these new nurse practitioners will need to be skilled in geriatric nursing to meet the needs of an expanding senior population. A great way to gain the knowledge needed to work in the growing field of geriatrics is to specialize in gerontology when you earn your master’s in nursing. And it could be far more rewarding than you ever imagined!
According to the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), “In several studies, geriatrics ranks among the most satisfying health professions.” Healthcare professionals who specialized in gerontology stated that they were able to develop meaningful relationships with their older patients and they had the opportunity to work with inspirational seniors.3 Older patients may even be happier patients: multiple studies have found that adults over the age of 60 are more likely to say that they’re happy than adults between the ages of 18 and 39.4
Gerontology nurse practitioners can look forward to versatility. They can choose to work in a variety of settings, from university medical centers to long-term care facilities to rehabilitation centers to private practice clinics. And senior patients display a wide range of health and abilities. One 75-year-old patient may have multiple chronic illnesses like heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, while another 75-year-old patient might be competing in 5K races.
Nurses who specialize in gerontological care will be continually challenged by their patients, simply because their patients are aging. As people get older, their ability to perceive, move, and remember will decline. As a result, nurses will need to continually adapt to these changes as they care for aging patients—and gerontological nurses need to have patience for older patients who may move or speak slowly. Additionally, gerontology nurse practitioners need to consider all facets of their patients’ lives when they provide care. Understanding factors such as whether a patient is able to drive, has someone to care for them at home, or has to navigate stairs in their living space can impact a patient care plan.
If you have the empathy and passion to provide nursing care to older adults, you need the education to prepare you for this rewarding career. When you’re considering gerontology nurse practitioner programs, look for a master’s in nursing program that offers a gerontology specialization.
Walden University is an accredited university that offers MSN Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and MSN Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner degree programs online. These master’s degree programs will prepare you academically to sit for the respective American Nurses Credentialing Center board certification exams: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certification or Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner certification. Walden is No. 1 in Master of Science in Nursing graduates in the U.S.5 Additionally, Walden’s master’s degree program in nursing (MSN) is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). CCNE accreditation ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.
If you’re called to help make the later years of people’s lives as fulfilling as their early years, consider a gerontology specialization for your MSN degree. You’ll enter a field that’s experiencing exponential growth. Your role in gerontology nursing can enable you to work in the setting of your choice and to develop close relationships with patients who both challenge and inspire you. Walden University can help you become a skilled gerontological nurse practitioner.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), post-graduate APRN certificate program, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org).
5Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for Master’s degrees (Award level 7). Available at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data. (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)