Only one group of Americans has more than doubled in size over the past twenty years: the elderly. They’ve experienced more than most in their lifetimes, from world wars to the first man on the moon. Thanks to lengthening life spans, they have much more to experience; over 41.4 million Americans are 65 and older – that’s more than 13.3 percent of the total U.S. population.1
As this golden group ages, how can we serve and love the elders that hold such a special place in our communities and families?
The role of geriatric social workers includes:
Helping senior citizens cope with common problems experienced by the elderly
Ensuring the needs of their clients are met from day-to-day
Providing aid with financial issues, medical care, mental disorders and social problems
Geriatric care manager
Care managers help the elderly and their loved ones develop a long-term care plan and connect with necessary services.
Healthcare business manager
These managers make sure healthcare facilities provide the most effective patient care. This includes planning and coordinating services in hospitals and clinics.
Art therapy uses the visual and auditory arts to help restore function and general wellbeing. Benefits can include:
Increased cognitive skills
Improved motor skills
78 percent of art therapists report working with older adults on a regular basis.2
Grief counselors help seniors process bereavement and loss, as well as cope with thoughts of their own death.
Assisted living administrator
Administrators manage assisted living facilities or services, which provide care to adults who need help with daily tasks like bathing, eating and dressing.
These educators provide the elderly with lessons that inform them about health concerns.
Physical therapists help aging adults strengthen their muscles, increase mobility and improve endurance. They also help with recovery from an injury or illness.
HELPING AND HEALING
The elderly are likely to face hardships, but with our help, they don’t have to go through them alone.
Bereavement and loss
A natural part of the aging process is experiencing the loss of loved ones as well as coping with one’s own progressing age. Seniors often experience bereavement and loss differently than younger adults, which puts them at risk for depression, anxiety and PTSD. Grieving seniors can benefit from the support others as they work through difficult times.
75 percent of adults 50 and older reported finding humor and laughter in their daily lives.3
Family caregivers play a crucial role in keeping the elderly comfortable at home by providing support like:
Loving relationships and companionship
Minimal health and wellness assistance
Support with day-to-day needs
More than 10 percent of the U.S. population have served as unpaid caregivers for older adults.4
Health promotion and self-care
Age can prevent seniors from properly taking care of their bodies, but we can help our loved ones stay beautiful and healthy. Helping the elderly groom themselves, receive regular medical attention and stay active can go a long way in promoting general wellbeing.
In more extreme cases, seniors may experience disabilities or other chronic health conditions. You can support older adults by ensuring they can access the healthcare professionals and resources they need. This might involve assistance with transportation and attending to business, legal and medical concerns.
75 percent of seniors have at least one chronic health condition, and most have two or more.5
End-of-life and palliative care
As our loved ones enter their final days, specialized care can help provide relief from the symptoms and stress. End-of-life and palliative care makes their last days as pain-free and comfortable as possible.
Quality of long-term care
Fortunately, there are a number of geriatric professionals trained to provide excellent care for aging adults in all of these areas. A growing population of the elderly means the demand for these practitioners is greater than ever – and there are more opportunities for you to bring wellness and care into the lives of the elderly than ever.
The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) and the
Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) recently joined forces to offer a
new dual admission BSN program. CCBC is the thirteenth school to create a dual-admission
partnership agreement with the school.
Dual-admission partnerships are growing in popularity
nationally, as more people are seeking out RN-to-BSN opportunities. These kinds
of programs benefit not only the program participants, but the schools and healthcare
employers as well. As the nursing shortage continues through the United States,
hospitals and health organizations are constantly looking for ways to meet staffing
Additional requirements include admission into CCBC’s ADN
program, and completion of the first semester of the nursing program at CCBC. But
while CCBC has several campuses, this program opportunity is only available to
students at the Catonsville and Essex locations.
Since fall 2016, UMSON has admitted 139 dual admission
students. These dual admission programs allow students to balance their coursework
and work and home responsibilities, giving students the option to continue
working, instead of solely focusing on their academics.
Beyond saving time in this RN-to-BSN program, students will also save money. “UMSON is currently covering the cost of its BSN courses for students participating in the dual-admission partnership while they are still enrolled in the ADN program, an opportunity made possible with funds from a gift from Bill and Joanne Conway through their Bedford Falls Foundation,” Murray said. “Once the student graduates from their ADN program and matriculates into UMSON, they can apply for a full Conway Scholarship, which covers the costs of in-state tuition, fees, and books for the duration of the program.”
For more information about the UMSON-CCBC dual admission program, click here.
The word “nurse” brings a very specific picture to mind for most of us. We
picture someone in scrubs working in a hospital or a clinic, helping to treat
patients at the bedside and making rounds. But the skill set developed through
nursing opens up entire worlds beyond that traditional environment. Nursing
jobs away from the bedside are challenging, rewarding and not at all what you’d
From summer camp programs to the NASCAR racetrack, some surprising places need
medical professionals on hand. These career options could offer more work-life
stability, travel opportunities or a shot of adrenaline.
1. Cruise Ship Nurse
A nurse working in this role would help care for a cruise ship’s passengers and staff as part of the ship’s medical personnel. Depending on the size of the ship, the medical facilities could be quite state-of-the-art, rivaling an emergency room in a hospital on land. Cruise ship nurses work in the infirmary and report to the chief nurse. Working in this role requires at least two years of emergency care experience and an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification. Working on a cruise ship brings these nurses into contact with people from all over the world, and of course, offers the opportunity to travel. Nursing staff on a cruise ship are divided into three distinct categories: chief nurse, nurse practitioner and staff nurse. Duties here are much the same as nursing on land, but a cruise ship nurse could accompany a patient if they must be evacuated from the ship to land. Tours of duty are six months long, with two months off afterward.
2. Camp Nurse
If you’re someone who prefers the outdoors and doesn’t like to stay in one place for very long, camp nursing could be for you. There are myriad camp organizations that employ camp nurses. There are camps for children diagnosed with cancer, adults with mental disabilities or camps that center around an activity like whitewater rafting or horseback riding. The Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) lists opportunities on their website, so you can browse through them and see which one most closely fits your background. Those with experience in emergency care or pediatrics would be well-suited, and an ability to make decisions independently is key, as camp nurses often work alone. According to PayScale, camp nurses can expect to earn between $22-$41 per hour.
3. Correctional Nurse/Prison Nurse
A nurse working in this role will often be the first person to see an inmate
about a health complaint. A correctional nurse will assess the patient and
determine the requirements of care the same as they would if they were working
in a hospital. They conduct intake screenings, work in chronic care clinics to
help inmates manage chronic conditions, keep track of medications so they
aren’t misused and provide what’s known as “sick call” services. Sick call is
when an inmate requests to see a nurse for a sudden issue, which can result in
an appointment with a physician. This role could also offer the opportunity to
become a coordinator for programs like prison hospice care, in which inmates
are trained to take care of their peers during the final phase of their lives
4. Clinical Nurse Educator/RN Medical
This may be one of the more well-known non-bedside nursing careers, in which an experienced nursing professional opts to instruct others in the practices and techniques of the job. Nurse educators can work in a classroom setting in a university or nursing school, as well as in the field with nurses-in-training or with those who need a clinical education, such as people who work in insurance or public healthcare workers. Because being employed in this role often requires a bachelor’s or other advanced degree, nurse educators can train medical staff to instruct non-medical personnel in medical procedures and equipment. A very high satisfaction rate is reported with this job, and the median salary is just over $75,000 per year, according to PayScale.
5. Nurse Writer/Medical Writer
A background in or passion for writing as well as experience in healthcare can be leveraged into a career as a nurse writer. Their job is to write up training materials, manuals and educational papers for their employers. Nurse writers usually work for a healthcare provider, pharmaceutical company, medical equipment company or something in a similar vein. They must be able to research well, express specialized information in a readable manner and conduct interviews, similar to the duties of a journalist. PayScale reported that job satisfaction rates for this role are also high, and the median salary is similar to that of a nurse educator at just over $70,000 per year.
6. NASCAR Nurse
NASCAR drivers are just as much athletes as players in the NBA or NFL are, and the sport is one of the most popular in North America. When a driver has a crash, medical staff need to be on site to help. NASCAR nurses do initial assessments of the pit crew and drivers after an accident occurs, but a large part of their work is looking after the fans. This role can involve travel as well, if you’re working as an official part of the NASCAR team and following the races as they move across the country. NASCAR nurses also act as liaisons between the team and local medical staff working an event, making sure the proper equipment is on hand to handle anything from dehydration to lacerations and blunt force trauma.
7. Flight Nurse
Perhaps the most action-packed on this list of non-bedside nursing jobs, a flight nurse isn’t what you might think when reading the job title. Rather than working on an aircraft, flight nurse travel to remote locations not easily accessible to help the injured. They provide specialized, hospital-level care to their patients as they’re being airlifted to a medical facility. This can be at the scene of a major accident, between hospitals or in a remote wilderness location. Flight nurse Matt Tederman, in an interview with PBS, detailed the time he had to help a snowmobiler in the rural plains of Omaha with a neck laceration from barbed wire. Helping to bring that patient back, he says, was a reminder of why he does the job. This position requires a BSN and three to five years of experience working in the ER or intensive care unit (ICU).
8. Parish Nurse
Last on our list of non-bedside nursing jobs is the parish nurse. Parish
nurses care for the members of a parish or religious congregation. They
approach their work differently than the other people on this list as they
integrate elements of faith into their work alongside medicine. Relatively new
as nursing specialties go, it was only recognized as such in 1998. Parish
nurses work mostly in churches, but you can also find them in hospitals or
social service agencies, as many hospitals have chapel areas set aside for
people to worship. If a hospital is faith-based, it’s more likely to employ
parish nurses. The duties of a parish nurse include visiting patients,
mentoring members of their religious community, acting as a patient advocate
and starting support groups. Parish nurses are required to hold active RN licenses
and have practiced as an RN for two years or more.
Want to Take the Next Step?
If getting outside of the hospital sounds like the next step in your career, Fairleigh Dickinson University can help you get there. Our accredited RN to BSN online program trains working nurses to deliver comprehensive care to individuals and families in all environments so that you’ll have the skills necessary to become competitive in the job market. If you already have your BSN and are looking to advance your knowledge and care practices, consider our MSN nurse educator online program. We’ll prepare you to become an instructor in collegiate nursing programs. Through a state-of-the-art curriculum, you’ll acquire the training you need to effectively work with students, parents and patients.
While their Tempe campus has hosted their business,
engineering, and design schools for a long time, the health-centered colleges are
based in the downtown Phoenix and West campuses. Combining the resources and
strengths from these schools and ASU’s office of Entrepreneurship and
Innovation creates opportunities for nursing and health students pursuing their
bachelors and masters degrees, both in the classroom and in the workplace.
In addition to being a resource for Arizona State students, the HEALab has been used by students at other schools. Back in February, students from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine visited the lab and other school campuses and centers, through a week long Entrepreneurship and Innovation selective with Dr. Rick Hall, CONHI’s Senior Director of Health Innovation. These students used applied human-centered design techniques and lean startup business tools to develop application ideas.
Correction, March 27, 2019: We initially reported that New Trails Navigators works with newly incarcerated inmates, instead of inmates who are preparing to release and re-enter the workforce. We have edited the article to reflect this correction.
The new degree program is designed for students to start their coursework at the University of Dayton in their first year. In the second and third years, students are dually enrolled at Dayton and Sinclair, balancing nursing courses and clinical rotations. At the end of the third year, students will complete their ASN from Sinclair, before moving on to year four at Dayton to complete their BSN. Additionally, after gaining their ASNs, students will be allowed to work as licensed registered nurses through the National Council Licensure Examination.
As the nursing shortage continues, more degree program options like the one designed by the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College are crucial. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting a 15 percent job growth for registered nurses through at least 2026. With RNs needed in hospitals, extended care facilities, schools, and other organizations, it is critical to increase more education and certification options for those planning to become nurses.
This program is especially helpful for those wanting to pursue a BSN but concerned about costs. Sinclair tuition costs are locked in for years 2 and 3 of the program, and students are locked into a transparent net-tuition plan through the University of Dayton for years 1 and 4. Beyond the financial benefits, students will be able to seek academic help from faculty at both schools. These BSN candidates will also be working alongside UD and Sinclair students in other health science degree programs, providing them with a well-rounded education that will assist them as they begin their RN careers.
The United States is facing a critical shortage in all health care professions. With the nation’s baby boomer population approaching retirement age, the issue is twofold: the aging population requires more care, and the nation’s physicians, nurses, and other health professionals are retiring.
Too Many Students, Not Enough Options
The solution to filling this gap is replacing the departing health care professionals with nursing graduates of all academic levels. However, many higher education institutions are turning away suitable candidates in droves. In 2016, nursing degree programs in the U.S. rejected 64,067 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs alike citing a lack of budget, faculty, clinical sites and preceptors, and classroom space.
Currently, there is a serious shortage of physicians, which continues to grow. By 2025, there will be a projected deficit of nearly 35,600 primary care doctors alone. Nursing schools are facing the struggle and strain to increase the capacity of existing nursing programs, and explore other avenues like online courses and accreditation.
Higher Education Means Higher Pay
Enrollment is increasing in nursing masters and doctoral programs across the country, and it’s no wonder that nurses are applying to graduate schools en masse. RNs realize there are significant perks to training and becoming an advanced practice registered nurse. Evidence shows that the quality of care by an advanced practice nurse is comparable to physicians, while often more affordable.
The full-time annual salary for a Nurse Practitioner (NP) averages $105,546. The high pay range of the NP may be partly to blame for the faculty shortage—higher compensation in the clinical setting is luring potential educators away from teaching.
Most vacant faculty positions require a terminal nursing degree. If more nurses pursue a doctoral degree, the faculty shortage will be alleviated. What will the outcomes of the nursing shortage be? Only time will tell.
Caitlin Goodwin MSN, RN, CNM is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife and freelance writer. She has ten years of nursing experience and graduated with a MSN from Frontier Nursing University.