Throughout the world, all kinds of nurse practitioners, regardless of their specialty, play an integral role in providing primary medical care to patients in their communities. However, among all the different specialties of nurse practitioners in the healthcare industry, some specializations are more in demand than others based on the population’s current needs. Adult-gerontology is one such specialization.
As the proportion of the elderly population rise in many developed countries globally, the healthcare industry needs a more significant number of adult-gerontology nurses to meet the growing demand.
This article takes a detailed look at what adult-gerontology nurses do, how you can become one, and the critical role AGNPs play in the healthcare industry.
WHAT DO ADULT-GERONTOLOGY NURSES DO?
AGNPs are advanced practice registered nurses whose work involves providing support and care for adults of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly. While some AGNPS focus on the younger age groups, others work solely to serve geriatric patients.
AGNPs examine, diagnose, and treat patients as well as perform routine assessments and checkups. After evaluating the patient’s condition and medical history, they refer patients to suitable specialists. They assist patients in managing severe illnesses and checking on the patient’s progress to determine the treatment plan’s effectiveness. AGNPs work in association with other healthcare professionals to ensure the provision of quality care to each patient.
Moreover, AGNPs provide education and counseling to both the patients and their caregivers on preventative care. They may develop disease prevention plans for patients and help them implement a healthy lifestyle.
Holding an advanced qualification and extensive training, AGNPs have the expertise to provide their services in various settings. They can work in private practices, public clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home care organizations, and schools.
Due to their qualification, AGNPs also have greater autonomy and independence than the average registered nurse. Most RNs cannot prescribe medicines or develop treatment plans for patients, but an AGNP has the authority to do so.
HOW CAN YOU BECOME AN ADULT-GERONTOLOGY NURSE?
Suppose you wish to work as an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. In that case, you must first earn your Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) and pass the NCLEX-RN examination to become a Registered Nurse.
The next step is to enter into a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with an accredited AG-PCNP curriculum. You can choose to enroll directly into an MSN/NP program or gain some relevant work experience first. Some programs require nurses to have up to two years of nursing experience to qualify. Make sure to learn more about these programs’ detailed eligibility requirements being offered by different universities so that you can find the most suitable program for your needs.
After completing your MSN, you have the option of working towards additional post-graduate certificates and doctoral degrees if you wish to further brush up on your technical skills. Many AGNPs continue to upgrade their knowledge by enrolling in educational courses and training workshops throughout their careers.
WHY ARE ADULT-GERONTOLOGY NURSES SO IMPORTANT FOR THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY?
Adult-gerontology nurses are essential to the healthcare industry for many reasons. Some of the major ones include:
- HELP MEET GROWING DEMAND FOR ADVANCED NURSE PRACTITIONERS
There is a high demand for NPs in the healthcare industry, and it will only increase with time. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment opportunities for NPs will grow by 45% during the period 2019 to 2029. As the average life expectancy increases, the healthcare industry will continue to need NPs. They can deliver cost-effective, high-quality healthcare services for the growing aging population. Since AGNPs have the skills and qualifications to care for these patients, they will continue to make a valuable contribution to the industry in the coming years.
- ABILITY TO WORK IN A VARIETY OF SETTINGS
The work of an Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner does not solely revolve around providing patient care in hospitals and clinics. They play essential roles in numerous community health centers such as the health department of prisons, rehabilitation centers, VA facilities, and emergency departments. Many also work for healthcare technology companies, performing essential medical research, and being the driving force behind technological progress in the industry. Alternatively, AGNPs passionate about working in academics can easily find teaching opportunities that allow them to share their nursing knowledge with others in the field.
- PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN HEALTH EDUCATION AND DISEASE PREVENTION
The primary focus of Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners is promoting wellness in their patients and emphasizing the importance of healthy lifestyle choices. On a personal level, they provide one-on-one counseling to patients to educate them on preventative healthcare, such as the role of a suitable diet and exercise in leading a healthy life.
On a larger scale, AGNPs seek to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the communities. They serve by working as patient advocates in the healthcare system and developing suitable health promotion programs to reduce the risk of illness and diseases. Through such initiatives, AGNPs play a vital role in improving health education and disease prevention in their communities.
- AUTHORITY TO PRACTICE INDEPENDENTLY
Each state has its laws regarding the scope of practice for AGNPs. In some states, they may only work under the supervision of senior healthcare professionals. However, many states allow AGNPs to work independently and even run their private practices. In these areas, AGNPS have the authority to examine patients, diagnose health problems, and prescribe suitable treatments. It allows them to fulfill the shortage of physicians, especially in underserved areas.
THE FINAL WORDS
Through the availability of advanced nurse practitioners, such as AGNPs, the healthcare industry can meet the growing demand for healthcare services. These nursing professionals possess many of the same skills and expertise as physicians and often have more time and personalized attention to offer each patient. Due to this, many patients are willing to use the services of NPs to fulfill most of their healthcare needs. These professionals form an integral part of the current healthcare system. They will continue to make a significant contribution to the industry in the coming years.