How nurses caring for with the elderly’s complex health needs

To care for elderly people and their family members, healthcare systems must navigate enormous and challenging obstacles. For nurses to step into an influential position in the development and application of advanced care and treatment models, there must be a fundamental change that acknowledges new responsibilities and skills for nurse practitioners.

One of the specializations in the field of nursing is theAdult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), also known as geriatric nursing. Geriatric nurses are experts in taking care of aging individuals. This article willoutline the responsibilities and ways geriatric nursing professionals develop creative methods and approaches for the provision of value-based healthcare. This healthcare is provided to older individuals with complicated emotional and physical health requirements and their families.

What is an adult gerontology nurse practitioner?

A healthcare provider who treats patients throughout adolescence to old age is known as an AGNP, and they offer complete treatment while working under the direction of a licensed specialist. As an advanced practice registered nurse (RN), an AGNP has received specialized training and certification enabling them to treat adults holistically and effectively, as well as elderly patients with special geriatric care requirements. They can also specialize in severe or complicated illnesses, including HIV/AIDS, hypertension, and diabetes.

Moreover, the goal of AGNP professionals is to safeguard and improve the wellbeing of older adults. Nursing professionals in this area receive specialized training on how to treat older adults and to recognize their unique medical requirements. These nurses are responsible for providing high-value care to senior citizens with complex and complicatedcare requirements. Additionally, geriatric nurses can enhance the quality of life of individuals by providing patient-centered care to a subjected group. They are aware that ailments that seem trivial to a younger adult might swiftly develop into significant or even life-threatening illnesses for older individuals.

What diseases are treated by these nurses?

Geriatric nurses concentrate on illnesses associated with aging medical issues, such as stroke, incontinence, nutritional deficiency, cancer, falls, chronic pain, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, depression, isolation, arthritis, lack of mobility, medication tolerance and impaired mobility.

What are the responsibilities of AGNP?

The tasks that AGNPs perform may be classified into the following three primary categories.

Care for patients

AGNPs frequently assist elderly patients with food, cleaning, dressing, and bathing since they may have trouble taking care of themselves. Likewise, individuals are urged to take on maximum responsibility for themselves to feel more self-sufficient. Moreover, gerontological nurses are responsible for medication management and administration in line with the treatment plan, assisting individuals with physical activity and healthy lifestyle changes, providing treatments like massages. They also organize, establish, and manage procedures pertaining to the health and wellbeing of patients.

Health evaluation

To diagnose medical problems and create therapeutic strategies for age-related illnesses associated, AGNPs collaborate with gerontologists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals. They are responsible for providing medical professionals with patient physical evaluations as well as methods to evaluate the mental and cognitive abilities of patients. Furthermore, AGNPs identify the variety of medical conditions that affect older people, such as cognitive decline, falls, incontinence, and altered sleep routines. They determine the capability of patients for taking care of themselves and their everyday activities. Additionally, individuals are observed regularly to ensure their treatment plans are still suitable, as well as ensuring that all pertinent data is correctly and thoroughly included in the patient database and notes.

Patient advocacy

AGNPs may serve as an advocate for the patient by discussing with the relatives of the patient alongside physicians and other healthcare experts during the whole treatment procedure. This is often because patients may have declining cognitive abilities and cannot make decisions on their own regarding their treatment and health. Moreover, they arrange medical procedures involving other specialists, like physical therapists. These professionals are responsible for educating relatives of patients about their health, ideal procedures, preventative measures, and ways to encourage self-care. Likewise, gerontological nurses provide excellent care as well as communicate with friends and relatives regarding the requirements and wishes of the patient.

Skills for AGNPs

Many fundamental capabilities of AGNPs are similar to those of RNs; however, they also acquire more advanced abilities that aid them in caring for elderly patients. The following constitute a few essential competencies required by these healthcare workers.

Understanding the process of aging

The human body gradually modifies its recuperation processes and dietary requirements as the body ages. A knowledgeable AGNP is familiar with the process of aging, enabling them to spot irregularities and handle situations.

Positive attitude

Every individual’s process of aging is unique, and certain individuals may experience anxiety or sadness throughout this time. Nurse professionals who remain positive and strong can assist patients in coping with challenging situations. Additionally, this will help the nurses recover emotionally quickly once their patients pass away.


For most tasks, AGNPs employ spoken, written, and nonverbal communication. They compose emails to correspond with peers and patients as well as medical notes for modifying records. In addition, AGNPs must convey patient data to doctors and other healthcare providers and clarify difficult ideas to patients. Finally, AGNPs evaluate physical signals or movements to determine their degree of ease or discomfort through nonverbal communication. They work to make themselves seem assured and friendly to patients.

Time management

AGNPs might encounter several back-to-back appointments with patients, demanding skilled time management and prioritization. For instance, they may check data before an individual’s visit, prepare for the visit, examine the individual, and then prepare for the following one. Additionally, they can be required to upgrade the medical records of patients, make telehealth appointments, respond to patient mail, and deliver medications to pharmacies.


AGNPs consider patients’ viewpoints, feelings, and their physical wellbeing to deliver individualized and thorough treatment. For individuals with restricted mobility, they could recommend different kinds of physical exercise or provide psychological assistance.

Attention to detail

To offer thorough and secure treatment, AGNPs pay close consideration to each individual’s signs and symptoms, allergies, and psychological and physiological responses. For instance, they could examine signs to see whether they are related to, or brought on by, complicated illnesses. In addition, they must utilize personal protective equipment (PPE) that does not cause patient allergies and carefully choose the drugs they provide.


These skilled medical specialists analyze signs and symptoms of individuals, identify potential illnesses that may be affecting them, and investigate testing procedures, therapeutic choices, or other possibilities to solve issues. Additionally, AGNPs examine test findings to see whether their medical diagnosis is accurate or whether further investigations are necessary to obtain a definitive conclusion.


Nursing professionals who specialize in adult-gerontology are frequently in charge of assigning responsibilities to other healthcare professionals in the workplace. For instance, they could ask staff to modify patient files, monitor vitals, and communicate with pharmacists and other healthcare institutions.

AGNPs’work environment

Medical institutions where AGNPs can practice include clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, residential care facilities, retirement communities, and various other medical facilities. Some medical centers and hospitals provide technical cognitive care facilities, where nurses work with elderly persons who have memory troubles.

Moreover, some gerontology nurses provide care for individuals in their residences while also providing services to the public as home health nurses. Experienced and skilled AGNPs could be employed as case managers or teachers for nursing students.

Likewise, the duties of an AGNP varies depending on the nature and type of their organization. However, in general, these professionals work all day with a rotational shift schedule to give their patients continuous medical attention. As AGNPs’ careers advance, their work schedules may become more predictable. In a major healthcare workplace, an experienced geriatric nurse could work throughout typical office hours and be available beyond for unexpected events and emergency situations.

How to become an AGNP

The following criteria must be met to work as an adult gerontology nurse practitioner, starting with an undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate degree

An undergraduate degree is a good place for individuals to begin if they want to pursue a career as a gerontologist. Individuals invest four academic years in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, understanding the finest nursing practices. They will also attend classes in subjects such as biology, anatomy, chemistry, and physiology. Additionally, students must undergo clinical trials in which they witness and help practicing nurses care for individuals in a range of circumstances, especially in the intensive care unit.

Get the nursing license

After receiving the degree in nursing, individuals must successfully pass the licensure exam. In nearly every state, students must pass this test for employment as a RN. It covers subjects including fostering and sustaining health, preserving emotional and physical integrity, and establishing a secure and productive care environment.

After passing the test, candidates can apply for a license with the Board of Nursing in the region where they intend to work. Students should consult the state’s licensing board for information on criteria, as itdiffers by region.

Gain professional nursing experience

Before being certified in a specialty field, such as gerontology, AGNPs typically have roles in general healthcare for numerous years. Individuals may begin as general bedside nurses at a healthcare facility or neighborhood hospital, where they hone their abilities and cultivate a friendly demeanor.

They can becomeaccustomed to treating individuals of diverse ages and various medical situations in these professions. An individual may work as a RN at a nursing facility. Junior nursing workers may simply have their local nursing license, whereas experienced nurses typically have gerontology qualifications.

Advanced degree

Individuals who are prepared to work as NPs must obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing. Both Master’s and the Doctor of Nursing credentials require education in nursing as well as advanced clinical courses, including complicated diagnoses. The University of Indianapolis offers a variety of AGPCNP online programs that can prepare aspiring nurse professionals in working with elderly patients. Moreover, their online advanced nursing degree options can also help nurses in getting an AGPCNP degree, allowing them to learn and earn simultaneously.

Additionally, individuals partaking in this course go throughclinical rotations where they watch NPs with expertise at work and help them examine, diagnose, and treat patients. Individuals should verify that the program theychoose has adult gerontology available as a nurse practitioner specialization.

Specialty training

Interested individuals can also perform a training program or get an internship experience in the adult gerontology field while pursuing a higher degree. Following the direction of a practicing AGNP and doctor, individuals can find employment in a healthcare facility or private practice. In this role, they will be treating and diagnosing patients, ordering and evaluating tests for diagnosis, and performing other treatment responsibilities. This phase can be finished by students after receiving a graduate degree.


For individuals inspired by this article, the next step is to explore educational opportunities. With an aging population and struggling healthcare industry, careers are abundant for qualified individuals.