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How to Become a Geriatric Nurse



Geriatric Nurses provide specialized care to seniors and assist people in caring for their loved ones in their golden years.  They are experts in common geriatric complications such a dementia, the prevention and treatment of injuries due to falls, and sleep disturbances.  These nurses may fill administration and other leadership roles in organizations and facilities that specialize in geriatric services.

To become a Geriatric Nurse, you'll first need to complete a registered nursing program at an accredited college or university.  Usually this requires a 2-4 year program to attain an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, or a Registered Nurse Degree from a Registered Nurse Diploma program.  You will then need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination to acquire a Registered Nursing License, and then to practice as a registered nurse for two years in a geriatric facility for a total of 2,000 practical hours.  You will also need to complete 30 hours of continued education.  Then you will want to become certified in Geriatric Nursing. The American Nursing Credentialing Center offers exams for certification as a Geriatric Nursing Specialist, and as a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner.  To be eligible for certification as a nurse practitioner, you will need to have completed a Master's or Doctorate program in Nursing for your continuing education. 

As the "baby boomer" population continues to age, the field of geriatric nursing is booming.  Geriatric Nurses are in high demand and the field is expected to continue to grow.  According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, these nurses make an average of $56,000 - $58,000 annually, depending on their experience and work environment.  Geriatric nurses in leadership positions stand to make more on average.

Geriatric Nurses work in many different settings, such as general practice offices, nursing and retirement home facilities, and in their clients own homes as providers of hospice care.  You may work in the surgery, geriatric, or psychiatric areas of hospitals.  These nurses are also often involved in education and research, helping to further knowledge throughout the nursing field in areas of special importance to geriatric patients.

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