According to the National Nurses Association, geriatric nursing is a specialized area of nursing that deals with the care of older adults. As the population of older adults grows, so does the need for nurses trained to care for them.
You need several different skills to be a successful geriatric nurse.
As a geriatrician, professionals cater to older adults in various settings. While the type of care they provide varies depending on the environment, there are some core skills that all professional nurses need to hone to succeed.
This article will explore some of the key skills geriatric nursing professionals can benefit from.
1. Communication Skills:
Effective communication is essential for all nurses, but it is especially important when working with older adults. As we age, our hearing and vision can decline, and we may have difficulty understanding what others are saying. It is important to be aware of these changes and adjust our communication style accordingly. When communicating with older adults, be sure to speak slowly and clearly, and use simple language that can be easy to comprehend. You may also need to repeat yourself or provide additional clarification at times.
2. Assessment Skills:
As a geriatric nurse practitioner, you will be responsible for conducting assessments of your patients. It will involve taking a comprehensive history and performing a physical examination. You will also need to be able to assess cognitive function, mobility, and other physical abilities. Having strong assessment skills will allow you to accurately identify the needs of your patients and develop an appropriate plan of care. However, it is also important to be aware that older adults may not always be forthcoming with information. Hence, it would help to use your clinical judgment to determine what is going on.
3. Management Skills:
Geriatric nurses need to manage the care of their patients effectively. It includes coordination of care, medication management, and wound care. You will also need to be able to educate patients and families on various topics related to aging, such as advance directives and end-of-life care. Strong management skills are essential for providing high-quality care to older adults. However, taking care of older adults can be complex and challenging, so you need to be prepared to deal with difficult situations.
4. Interpersonal Skills:
Establishing rapport and building relationships with those you care for is important. It will require you to be patient, compassionate, and understanding. As a geriatric nurse, you will be working closely with patients and their families. You will also need to communicate with patients, families, and other healthcare team members effectively.
5. Documentation Skills:
As with all nurses, geriatric nurses need to have strong documentation skills. Documentation is an important part of the nursing process and is essential for providing quality care. It includes being able to accurately and completely document patient assessments, interventions, and outcomes.
6. Critical Thinking Skills:
Geriatric nurses need to be able to think critically to provide the best possible care for their patients. It includes assessing a situation and making decisions based on what is best for the patient. It also includes being able to think creatively to solve problems. Critical thinking skills are essential for all nurses, but they are especially important when working with older adults.
However, taking care of older adults can be complex and challenging, so you need to be prepared to deal with difficult situations.
7. Emotional Stamina:
Caring for older adults can be emotionally draining. You will need to be able to deal with the stress of the job and the emotional challenges that come with caring for those who are often frail and vulnerable. Maintaining your composure in difficult situations and having a strong support system are important. Emotional stamina is essential for all nurses, but it is especially important when working with older adults.
The care of older adults can be unpredictable and challenging. You will need to be flexible in your approach to care to meet your patients’ changing needs. It may include being willing to work odd hours and being able to adapt to changes in the health care system. Flexibility is an important quality for all nurses, but it is especially important when working with older adults.
9. Teaching Skills:
As a geriatric nurse, you will be responsible for educating patients and families on various topics related to aging. It includes disease prevention, health promotion, and end-of-life care. You will need to communicate information to those you are teaching effectively. In addition, you will need to be patient and understanding and be able to adapt your teaching to the needs of those you are working with.
10. Time Management Skills:
Geriatric nurses need to effectively manage their time to provide the best possible care for their patients. It includes being able to prioritize tasks, as well as being organized and efficient in your work. Time management skills are essential for all nurses, but they are especially important when working with older adults.
Geriatric nursing is a challenging and rewarding field. Those who enter this field need to be prepared for the challenges that come with it. The most successful geriatric nurses will have a strong foundation in the basic skills of nursing and the ability to think critically, solve problems, and deal with the emotional challenges of the job. In addition, they will need to be flexible and have excellent time management skills. If you are considering a career in geriatric nursing, be sure to brush up on your skills and knowledge in these areas.