Healthcare has always been an active industry because there are few priorities greater for both individuals and governments than health.
It's a natural impulse to want to extend our lives and make sure we spend those extra years as physically and mentally fit as possible. For governments, healthcare takes on multiple layers of importance. Political leaders not only need to make sure that their populace is happy and healthy, but also that the government has the workforce and resources to respond to the healthcare needs of their citizens.
Nurses are active contributors to all aspects of the healthcare industry. Some nurses want to earn advanced degrees and extend their abilities and knowledge. Many become nurse practitioners in a variety of fields. If you are a registered nurse looking for new career opportunities and challenges, working as an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AG PCNP) can be a fulfilling, engaging and financially rewarding career.
What Does an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Do?
Nurses who specialize in gerontology work in senior community homes, private practices, home healthcare services or hospice facilities.
Though the title may suggest otherwise, AG PCNPs work with a wide range of demographics. Some may work with adolescents and manage their healthcare throughout the patient's entire lifespan.
More commonly, an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner will work with older people in a variety of roles.
- Conduct full physical exams
- Diagnose illnesses
- Help prevent diseases
- Prescribe medications
- Order lab tests
- Work with other healthcare specialists
- Assist with pain management
Nurse practitioners often work independently with a minimal amount of supervision.
What Are the Job Prospects for an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner?
Perhaps more than any other field of nursing, nurse practitioners who specialize in adult gerontology are in high demand and the need for their services will only continue to increase. This vital need for AG PCNPs is due primarily to the rapidly aging population.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of elderly people in the United States is going to increase exponentially over the next few decades. The website states, "The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent."
This critical need for nurses who help meet the incredibly diverse needs of the elderly is exacerbated by an ongoing shortage of nurses overall. For example, the American Association of Colleges of Nurses notes, "In the July/August 2009 Health Affairs, Dr. Peter Buerhaus and coauthors found that despite the current easing of the nursing shortage due to the recession, the U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025."
Though the shortage of nurses is alarming, it does mean that job prospects are stronger than ever before. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for advanced practice registered nurses is 26% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than average.
How Much Do Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Earn?
While estimates vary, the median salary for nurse practitioners is $113,930, according to the BLS as of December 2019. Salaries can vary widely, depending on experience, region and education level.
Where Does an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Get the Right Training?
The University of Texas at Arlington has numerous accredited online nursing degree programs. UTA offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner degree that students can complete in as few as 29 months.
A variety of classes, ranging from Advanced Pathophysiology to Clinical Practices, provide an extensive overview of the responsibilities, issues and health management challenges of gerontology. Upon graduation, students will be ready to take on leadership roles in whatever area of elder care they decide to pursue.
Additionally, because the degree is offered online, students can manage their coursework in a way that best works for them.
With promising job prospects and a solid earning potential, an MSN with a focus on adult gerontology primary care can be a rewarding and socially relevant degree.
Sources:Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners
- What Is the MSN in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Degree?
- What to Expect as an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- What Is the Difference Between Acute Care and Primary Care Nurse Practitioners?
- Competencies for Primary Care of the Older Adult
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