Effective Guide on “How to Become a Geriatric Nurse”

How to Become a Geriatric Nurse? – Overview

Geriatric nurses, also known as gerontological nurses, need to provide complete care to patients (both physically and mentally).

People trust such healthcare workers, and if you want to know how to become a geriatric nurse, then the first step is being able to provide complete care.

The need for geriatric nurses is also increasing. In 2019, around 15,061 certified nursing facilities were present in the USA, as per reports.

Geriatric nurses are registered nurses who specialize in adult care. These superb healthcare workers take care of the elderly and vulnerable community segments as RN license holders.

This article will cover all the detailed information about this noble profession, such as how to become a geriatric nurse, the geriatric nursing work, and licensing requirements.

What Does a Geriatric Nurse Do?

The aging population’s mental, physical, and social aspects are called Gerontology.

The geriatric nursing specialties help provide bedside care, assist and guide daily activities, provide medications, and educate patients and their colleagues both long-term and short-term.

How to Become a Geriatric Nurse

How to Become a Geriatric Nurse – What Does a Geriatric Nurse Do

A Geriatric Nurse is responsible for caring for patients with health conditions like Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart failure, stroke, and shingles.

Geriatric Nurse – Duties And Responsibilities

The essential duties of a geriatric nurse include taking care of elderly patients and educating them, their families, and caregivers. Their responsibilities may vary from institute to institute, and they may perform the following duties as well:

Assessing the level of injury, independence or disability in a patient,

Obtaining vital signs and performing nursing assessments,

Collecting blood samples and other laboratory tests as ordered,

Preparing and updating nursing care plans,

Triaging and stabilizing patients requiring immediate medical attention,

Lifting and transferring patients,

Administering medications,

Changing wound and/or surgical dressings,

Assisting in performing emergency procedures.

Salary Of A Geriatric Nurse

In the words of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a registered nurse is around $73,300 per year, while PayScale confirms the annual average wage about $66,000.

Geriatric nurses can get higher pay with increased years of experience.

Apart from the salary, geriatric nurses often enjoy a wide range of employment benefits that include paid time off, health cover, relocation allowances, retirement benefits, education reimbursement, etc. irrespective of location, and full- and part-time variance.

How Do You Become a Geriatric Nurse? – 5 Steps

Now we proceed with providing the next piece of information that will cover the entire process on how to become a geriatric nurse, step by step.

The First Step: Enrolling In A Nursing Program

First, you should obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in an accredited Nursing program.

Here, you should also consider looking for programs that provide exposure to geriatric nursing while choosing your career goals.

Nursing programs always combine professional healthcare experience and relevant academic instruction on various topics, including anatomy, nutrition, medical terminology, chemistry, psychology, etc.

The Second Step: Clearing The National Licensing Exam

The next step is to complete your requirement to get the registered nurse status by clearing the nursing jobs. State licensing authority NCSBN, The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, administered the exam.

The exam is also well known as the NCLEX-RN exam for registered nurses (RNs).

The state’s licensing board recognizes this exam as a mandatory requirement, and in some scenarios, this exam couples with state licensure in two states.

The Third Step: Earning A Master’s Degree

As soon as you have earned your registered nursing license to become a geriatric nurse, continue your education to obtain a master’s degree program.

In the Master’s Degree program, you can choose a specialty area or population to treat.

The geriatric nursing program allows you to learn and get training about elderly disorders, aging, pharmacotherapeutics, human development, and gerontology.

The Fourth Step: Getting Experience In Geriatric Nursing

You must complete the nursing responsibilities in geriatric care and gain clinical experience with a job. As the elderly population is growing, geriatric nursing job opportunities are rising.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the rapid increase in home healthcare job opportunities due to the growing number of elderly adults with functional disabilities.

The options in other healthcare and long-term care facilities and hospitals are also rising.

The Fifth Step: Getting Certification

ANCC or American Nurses Credentialing Center, says certified nurses are in the highest demand and offer higher average salaries.

The ANCC provides a Gerontological Nurse Certification to registered nurses if they have acquired relevant experience, obtained a master’s degree in geriatric nursing, and cleared the certification exam.

Geriatric Nurse: The Related Careers

Geriatric nurses are RNs and have an advanced nursing degree to work specifically with the aging population. The RN can work in rehabilitation, critical care, or another specialty.

As an advanced nursing degree, you can choose a midwifery program in nursing, which involves pregnancies, or an anesthetics program involving anesthesia medication administration to pre-surgery patients.

Jobs That Are Available For Geriatric Nurse

The demand for qualified and specialized geriatric nurses is expected to increase dramatically as the population of older adults continues to grow.

The aging population impacts healthcare and employment opportunities because they require considerable medical attention with aging.

Some older adults experience chronic conditions that require continuous care. These conditions are complex and challenging to manage and demand nurses with specialized knowledge and expertise in geriatric nursing.

The primary career paths for Geriatric Nurses include:

Home Health Nurse,

Geriatric Nursing Assistant,

Hospice Nurse,

Geriatric Staff Nurse,

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner.

Home Health Nurse

Home health nurses perform various patient care services apart from traditional healthcare by providing supportive care, teaching patients about managing their conditions, assisting in rehabilitation, and helping with day-to-day activities.

Home health nurses also help with patients’ basic needs, including bathing, meal preparation, and providing support for specific conditions, such as wound care.

Geriatric Nursing Assistant

Geriatric nursing assistants have the responsibility of offering personal care and support to patients by assisting in dressing, grooming, bathing, laundry, toileting, and other day-to-day activities.

Geriatric nursing assistants perform their duties under a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse overseeing all aspects of patient care.

Hospice Nurse

Hospice nurses provide care and support for terminally ill patients or those near the end of their lives.

They work in a team of healthcare professionals to ensure the best possible quality of life during their final days. Hospice nurses focus on care like pain management or grief counseling.

Geriatric Staff Nurse

Geriatric Staff nurses are responsible for providing support to both patients and doctors.

They help patients with daily living activities, monitor their conditions, and assist doctors in diagnostics and surgeries.

They work to take care of patients with complex medical needs and long-term and chronic illnesses.

Geriatric staff nurses support and supervise nurses, assistants, and other healthcare workers.

Geriatric Nursing Practitioner

Geriatric nurse practitioners have advanced practice registered nurses with a graduate-level nurse practitioner program to carry out advanced assessments of patient’s health conditions, develop care plans, and recommend treatment options.

In some cases, they supervise nurses and other staff members.

Geriatric Nurses -The WorkPlace

Geriatric nurses have various career opportunities in hospitals, nursing homes, and home care settings, including the below-mentioned:

Rehabilitation facilities,


Healthcare insurance companies,

Government agencies,

Private physician offices,

Medical supply companies,

Memory care centers,

Military facilities,

Case management.

Geriatric Nurse -The Career Outlook for

Geriatric nurses are the highly demanded nursing specialties in long-term care facilities because of the aging baby boomer population.

This need will only continue to rise as Americans continue to live longer.

Geriatric Nurse – Continuing Education Requirements

Geriatric nurses require a current resident nurse’s license. Renewing requires an application, a certain number of continuing education units (CEU), and a fee.

Some states may require CEUs related to child abuse, narcotics, and/or pain management. RN-BC nurses need to complete specific CEUs for certification.

The continuing education hours are used for recertification of the nursing license.


What does geriatric nursing mean?

Geriatric nurses have specialized registered nurses in gerontology, studying the aging population’s mental, physical, and social conditions.

How much time does it take to become a geriatric nurse?

You may spend a minimum of 10 years. Bachelor of Science in Nursing consumes four years, obtaining relevant experience two years, and the NP program takes three years to complete.


Becoming a geriatric nurse can be possible if you follow the right path and work hard in your studies.

We have mentioned all the requirements and necessary steps that you need to take to become one. Hope the above-mentioned information helps you with all the significant knowledge.

See Also

How to Become a Public Health Nurse

Grants for Nursing School

Types of Nurses

Nursing Schools in Texas

How to Become a Dermatology Nurse

Nurse Practitioner Salary

Grants for Medical Travel

Travel Nursing Agencies

Best Nursing Schools in Las Vegas

Nursing School Interview Questions

Current Version
September 16, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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