Nurses who enjoy working with older adults may want to consider jobs in extended care facilities or in health care environments that are specific to this patient population. Nursing for seniors involves understanding the medical needs of adult patients in order to treat illnesses and injuries as well educate patients to better care for their own health.
Many nursing schools that train students to become licensed practical nurses or registered nurses have a portion of their program devoted to adult nursing. Students learn about health issues that most commonly affect adults as well as the effects that aging has on the body. Clinical practice is frequently devoted to caring for adult patients in hospital settings, in medical clinics and in nursing homes. Nursing students may also practice visiting patients at home health, working in hospice care, or seeing adult patients in community care centers.
Because the body changes as people age, adult care nurses understand the specific needs of older adults and can modify their practice to better care for these patients. They may work in hospitals and nursing homes, helping patients with activities of daily living, administering medications, and assisting physicians with procedures.
Nurses who choose to gain an advanced degree specifically in the care of adults and seniors may go back to school to become nurse practitioners (NPs). Some specialty-area nurse practitioners working with adults are family NPs, gerontology NPs (GNPs), or adult health NPs (ANPs). These nurses have master’s degrees and supplemental practice working with adults. They may see patients in medical clinics to diagnose health problems and prescribe medication, they may visit patients in extended care facilities to help manage long-term care, or they may call on patients in senior centers to provide education or counseling in adult topics. For example, an ANP may visit a senior care center to talk with residents about heart disease, a health problem that affects adults and increases in risk with advancing age.
Nurses who care for adults and seniors have a wide range of employment options. After graduating from nursing school, you will be qualified to care for adults in many situations, unless the care requires specific certification and practice. These types of nurses recognize the numbers of people who need help with health and education and work to provide treatment and attention for these special needs.