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Geriatric Nursing Skills Will Be in Demand

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, one million new and replacement nurses will be needed nationwide by 2018.

Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric Nurse

The number of people 65 and older will increase by 40 percent in the next 10 years. And to help meet the expected need for new nurses statewide, nursing schools focus more attention on the nursing shortage.

Over the next 20 years most nurses will be caring for elderly patients.
But nursing faces a double whammy in the next decade. Not only will there be more elderly patients, but many nurses will retire.

Nurses often choose to work in a hospital or clinic rather than a nursing home largely because of the disparities in hourly wage. As of last year the gap in the hourly wage that was paid to a registered nurse in a hospital versus a nursing facility was about $10 an hour. The pay gap is partly due to the government setting the rates that nursing homes can charge patients.

And while nursing students are aware of the gap, that doesn’t stop them from pursuing it as a profession. Some nursing students said pay and benefits are important, but they’re not the reason she chose to be a nurse.

Aging baby boomers will require much more than nursing home care and geriatric nursing skills will be in demand in clinics and hospitals as well. The need for health care professionals who are competent at caring for older adults is really at a crisis point. Every nurse has to be competent caring for older adults because that’s who they’re going to be caring for given the demographics.
Heading off the impending geriatric nursing crisis will require more nursing instructors and more students with a commitment to caring for the elderly.
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