Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
A geriatric nurse practitioner is an advanced nursing professional that specializes in the care of the elderly. Geriatric nurses have to have a clear understanding of the physical and mental needs of senior citizens, and they have to be able to work with patients who have life threatening illnesses. This is one of the most difficult sections of nursing to work in, but it is also one of the most rewarding. If you think you want to be a part of geriatric nursing in the future, the information below should provide you with an overview of what you may experience in this career.
Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Job Duties
Geriatric nurses are responsible for caring for the elderly, but that work can change greatly from one patient to the next. Some seniors are still pretty independent, and they only need mild health care. Others rely on the help of other people to survive. Your job duties as a geriatric nurse practitioner can vary from one day to the next, but they will all be focused on helping senior citizens with health problems. Possible responsibilities include:
- Bathing patients who cannot bath themselves
- Preparing meals for elderly patients
- Administering medications to seniors with disabilities
- Creating and organizing patient records
- Preparing patients before a surgery
- Checking vital signs during doctor’s visits
In many cases, geriatric nurses have to act as family members for their patients because they do not have anyone to help them through difficult situations. You will need to be the shoulder for your patients to cry on and the motivation they need to keep going in life. This is a tough task to take on, but it can lead to great rewards if you are up for the challenge.
Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Salary Levels
The amount of money you can make as a geriatric nurse practitioner will be based on your time on the job, your employer, and the overall position you hold in the field. This is a specialized sector of nursing, so you will make better money than you would as a registered nurse. Here is a look at some of the different salary ranges you may experience in your career:
Salary by Years of Experience
- Less than 1 year: $47,000 per year
- 1-4 years: $80,293 per year
- 5-9 years: $93,500 per year
- 10-19 years: $92,765 per year
- 20 years or more: $68,700 per year
Salary by Specialty
- Acute Care: $84,500 per year
- Family Practice: $79,497 per year
- Geriatrics: $84,739 per year
- Medicine or Surgery: $90,000 per year
- Palliative Care: $90,633 per year
Salary by Employer Type
- Company: $88,989 per year
- Hospital: $91,475 per year
- Non-Profit Organization: $77,109 per year
- Private Practice: $68,784 per year
- State and Local Government: $92,177 per year
As you can see, geriatric nurse practitioners make pretty good money, no matter how much experience they have or where they live. You will probably make $50,000 or more in your first year of working in geriatrics, and your pay will go up from there. As long as you remain committed to the field, you should be able to sustain a high income level for the future.
How to Become a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
If the geriatric nurse practitioner job description above has enticed you to be a part of this exciting career, you will need to work on getting a good education. This will start with a bachelor of science in nursing, where you will learn what it takes to become a registered nurse. Then you can take a licensure exam to work as an RN while you continue your education.
You will need to complete a master’s degree program in order to fulfill your educational requirements for geriatric nursing. This will give you a closer look into geriatrics as a whole so you can understand how to work closely with the elderly. You may have to pass a certification exam after that to become a geriatric nurse practitioner, but that will depend on the requirements in your state. You can contact your local nursing board to find out information about that. If you do enough research early on, you should be able to enter this career in no time.