Gerontology nurse practitioners are responsible for maintaining and promoting the health and well being of elderly patients. GNPs often serve as the primary health care practitioner for these elderly patients and provide support to the patients and their families in the management of common age-related health problems. This is an incredibly fulfilling occupation that is always in need of caring individuals. If this sounds like the perfect career for you, follow these steps to become a gerontology nurse practitioner.
Undergraduate Degree Program
The first step toward becoming a GNP is to become a Registered Nurse, or RN. You can do this by getting either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Since you plan to take your career further, the BSN degree option is the best because most schools offering the GNP program require a bachelor’s degree for admission to the program. During this part of your training, you will learn basic nursing such as anatomy and physiology, health assessment, patient safety, health care delivery, and disease prevention.
Get Work Experience
Undergraduate nursing programs require participation in a variety of clinical experiences. At the BSN level, students can gain experience in assisted living facilities, family clinics, and senior health centers that will help toward their later work as a GNP. This hands-on experience gives aspiring GNPs a chance to become familiar with issues they may face during their careers.
In order to become an RN, students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. This examination consists of a variety of questions RNs will face throughout their careers. Once you pass the examination, you will receive your license to work as a registered nurse. Check your state’s regulations, however, because there may be additional requirements in some states.
Get an Advanced Education
The next step toward becoming a GNP is to get a graduate degree. This can be either a gerontology nurse practitioner certificate program or a master’s degree in nursing with a specialization in gerontology nursing. These graduate programs teach you the monitoring and prescribing procedures for elderly patient drug regimens. They also include training in pharmacology, primary elder care, advanced pathophysiology, health care for aging populations, and more.
Get Professionally Certified
The best employers require GNPs to have professional certification. You can get this certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center once you have met all clinical experience and educational requirements.
If you are ready to become a GNP, now is the ideal time to start looking for an accredited undergraduate degree program so you can become an RN. This is but one step of many on your road to a better life.