April21 , 2024

Advancing your career by training as an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner

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Nursing is a very important part of the whole healthcare sector and enables patients to receive high-quality primary care when they are ill or injured. Professional nursing staff also help patients manage ongoing health conditions and stay educated about living a healthier lifestyle. They can also play a key part in the delivery of local and national vaccination programs and in providing health resources for people to access.

Although it is easy to think of nursing as one whole sector, it is an industry that contains many individual parts. This means there is a lot of variety in terms of where nurses can work and the specific roles they can move into.

One higher-level position that can offer competitive pay and autonomy is a nurse practitioner specializing in adult gerontology. But what do these sorts of nurses do, how do you become one, and why is studying for an advanced nursing qualification in this field a good option for career progression?

What is an adult gerontology nurse practitioner? 

Before we take a deeper look at why completing a higher-level nursing course focused on adult gerontology can be positive for career progression, it is worth clarifying what working as an NP in this niche involves. This is especially important if you are thinking of working in this field to advance your career but don’t know much about it yet.

In simple terms, gerontology is the study of how we age and investigates age-related medical conditions. Adult-gerontology nurse practitioners focus on caring for patients who are classified as older adults. This allows them to use their specialized professional knowledge to help these patients with the unique range of needs they may present with, especially elderly patients. People in this role can operate in a variety of work settings ranging from acute care units to private clinics, hospitals and long-term care environments.

Becoming an adult gerontology nurse practitioner 

If you like the sound of helping adult patients enjoy a happy and healthy life, then working as an adult gerontology nurse practitioner might be the ideal next step in your nursing career. But how do you break into this higher-level nursing role?

It is probably not a shock to learn that you need to gain the right kind of specialized training first. This helps arm potential NPs aiming to work in adult gerontology with the expert knowledge required to provide the best care. UIndy’s online BSN-DNP is a popular program to undertake in this regard, which teaches students all they need to know to move into this type of job. Ideal for working professionals, this program can be studied part-time, and there is help available to arrange local clinical program placements.

The role of an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioners who specialize in adult-gerontology aim to provide the best possible care for adult patients. By doing this, they can deliver better outcomes and help patients obtain the highest level of service from the healthcare system.

While this is often achieved through the treatment NPs give when patients fall ill or have accidents, adult gerontology nurse practitioners can also provide support through education on how to stay fit and assistance with managing medical conditions in daily life.

The most common tasks of an adult gerontology nurse practitioner include the following:

  • Administration of medication
  • Physical examinations
  • Ordering tests and analyzing test results
  • Wound dressing and treatment
  • Assistance with eating, bathing or walking for older patients
  • Helping patients deal with the social and psychological aspects of growing older

While this does not list all the possible tasks a nurse practitioner in this field may cover, it does provide a sense of what to expect.  

Advancing your career as an adult gerontology nurse practitioner 

Most nurses will be looking to progress their careers in the sector over time and advance within the industry to more senior positions. This is usually achieved through continued professional training and development. There are lots of courses working nurses can enroll in to advance their careers and plenty of specialties within the sector to consider moving into.

With this in mind, it is important to note that earning an advanced-level nursing degree specializing in adult gerontology offers many attractive benefits in terms of career progression. This can make it a good option for ambitious nurses who are looking to advance professionally.

But why is this specific sort of advanced nursing program so appealing in terms of career progression?

Emphasis on an in-demand specialty within healthcare

The increasing demand for adult gerontology nurse practitioners is one of the main reasons that taking an advanced nursing course about adult gerontology makes so much sense in career terms. Reports of the aging US population have been increasing over recent years. They highlight how more people are living to an older age in the modern world. Figures that show an estimated 95 million Americans will be aged 65 or older by 2060 back this up.

This picture becomes even clearer when you learn that the US median age figure in 2022 reached a record high of 38.9. Stats like this illustrate that the general population is aging and that this trend is likely to continue moving ahead.

By gaining an advanced qualification that focuses on this health niche, nurses are ready to work in a growing part of the industry, which has plenty of career opportunities to take advantage of. Qualifying as an adult gerontology NP also offers great job security in a part of nursing which is central to modern patient needs.

Provides advanced clinical practice training

High-level nursing courses with an emphasis on adult gerontology can also be good for career progression due to the advanced clinical practice students gain. This is usually achieved through advanced knowledge and experiences picked up when completing practical clinical course placements.

All this helps students to develop their clinical skills to a higher level and be better qualified as a result to take advantage of future career opportunities. In essence, these kinds of courses make graduates much more attractive candidates for higher-level nursing roles and arm them with the knowledge and credentials employers are looking for.

This is true for graduates who are able to apply for high-level roles within adult gerontology after they complete a program like this. Without earning specific qualifications related to caring for adults, this would not be possible and could hold them back in career terms.

Developing high-level clinical practice skills through an advanced adult-gerontology program can also be good for nurses’ careers in more general terms. Courses like this will help you develop transferable practical skills that can be applied to other nursing roles moving forward. Even if you shift to focus on another nursing niche after graduation, the experience and practice gained through this kind of course will be valuable for your career.

Teaches students about driving change and healthcare reform

Although courses based on higher-level adult-gerontology nursing might place a lot of emphasis on care provision and clinical skills, this is not all they cover. One other aspect that can be very handy for career progression in the sector is teaching students about reform in healthcare and how to drive change. This is mostly achieved through advanced courses focusing on how students can develop the required skills to advocate for policy change at local, state and national levels regarding issues that affect older adult patients.

Courses such as these teach students how to drive organizational change and make positive transformations to how older patients are cared for within their own facility. The best higher-level nursing degrees within adult gerontology also teach students how to improve outcomes for adults through policy processes, pass on knowledge regarding US health system laws and discuss how politics can impact policy decisions in areas such as adult gerontology.

But why is this so important for career progression in nursing? In simple terms, advanced skills around driving positive change and impacting health reform are key skills required in many senior nursing roles.

By gaining expert knowledge in these areas, graduates can enhance their resumes and become more attractive to employers when applying for advanced roles in the future. Developing these skills also means graduates are better prepared to succeed in senior nursing positions and experience positive career progression as a result. This is naturally true for adult gerontology roles particularly, but can also be applied to career progression in other areas where these skills are valued.

Networking 

As with most other sectors, networking is a key part of any career progression within nursing. Building a strong professional network and having the skills to utilize it has many benefits in terms of career advancement. To begin with, it enables you to leverage your network when looking for fresh challenges in your career and new opportunities.

Networking can also help you forge connections with potential future employers and engage with senior figures at health organizations who may have a positive impact on your future professional aspirations. Turning to your network is also a great way to gain trusted advice on where you could head next in your career and how best to go about it.

Studying an advanced adult gerontology course in nursing hits the mark in terms of career progression for the networking potential it delivers. This is easy to see when you think of the ability it gives to build connections with other students that could prove helpful professionally moving ahead.

This also enables you to get the best study tips from other students enrolled in your course and do well in your assignments. Students may also find the connections they build with working professionals in the sector via clinical placements useful in supporting their future careers.

Development of soft skills is also important 

We have already noted how the development of advanced clinical practice skills can be one career benefit that adult gerontology courses for NPs provide. It is also key to remember that the softer skills these kinds of courses help to build are also great for future career aspirations.

These skills are just as in demand by employers and equally key to performing well in any future nursing role. The soft skills these courses teach are also useful across all senior nursing roles, which graduates may move into as time passes.

Teamwork is one of the most important skills learned, as anyone looking to progress their career in the sector must be able to work well with others. Advanced courses in adult gerontology are perfect for developing your teamwork abilities, as caring for adults often involves working as part of a team with multiple healthcare professionals.

Communication is another soft skill that is handy for nurses looking to advance in their careers. If you cannot communicate effectively with colleagues or patients, then you will not get very far! Advanced adult gerontology courses in nursing are helpful for developing communication skills, as the ability to communicate clearly is key, especially when caring for older people.

This is especially important when caring for patients with hearing difficulties or those with mental disorders that affect their memory or understanding of the world. Students in these courses have lots of opportunities to communicate with older adult patients, which helps build their skills in this area as a result. When you also think about other key traits these courses build, such as leadership, their positive impact on career progression for nurses is clear.

Conclusion

The above provides some great examples that explain why studying a higher-level nursing course focused on adult gerontology can be great for career progression in the sector. If you also like the idea of helping older adults get the best care, studying this kind of program not only boosts your career prospects but also qualifies you to work in a part of nursing you’ll love.

The great thing about the benefits of adult gerontology courses is that many of the positives they offer for career progression can also be applied when moving into other parts of the sector. For all these reasons, studying this sort of program really is worth considering for any ambitious nurse.