Gerontic nurses work with healthy elderly person in their communities, acutely ill elders requiring hospitalization and treatment, and chronically ill or disabled. Aust Nurses J. May;12(10) Gerontic nursing–a new impetus in nursing care. Ryan R. Aged; Australia; Geriatric Nursing/trends*; Humans. Nomenclature: what is in the name, “gerontic nursing”? Gunter LM. PMID: ; [Indexed MeSH terms. Geriatric Nursing*; Humans; Terminology as Topic.

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Gerontological nursing has taken several centuries to become acknowledged as a separate nursing specialty. Its rise should be understood within the context of the emergence and development of the nursing profession generally.

Additionally, the growth in the number of older adults, and in the cultural care of elderly persons around the world, must be considered.

It is important to note that the preparation of gerontological nurses is dictated somewhat by the cultural strictures and interpretations of a particular society’s definition of older persons, which will influence the status of this specialty in different countries. The development of nursing has followed the development of mankind. In its most early phases, nurses were almost exclusively female family members.

Nursing gained ground toward becoming a profession due to the care provided to the poor, the indigent, the infirm, and the insane; to prisoners and orphans; as well as to women during childbirth and to people during war times.

Laywomen who initially tried to nursint the demand for more nursing care during the expansion to the New World were ineffective, as they were without role models or training. Religious orders played an important part in the development of nursing care facilities through care provided in their convents, abbeys, and almshouses.

Gerontic nursing–a new impetus in nursing care.

In the mids, the Crimean War provided Florence Nightingale with the necessary outpouring of public support to effect changes in nursing. Nightingale initiated such advances as the establishment of an organized training school and a formalized and standardized organization, thus finally turning nursing into a suitable occupation for women.

Nursing was well on its way nursingg being a profession, although it would still take more than one hundred years to become fully acknowledged as a separate health care entity.

Nurses now make up the gerontlc international work force in health care. Reduced infant mortality and death rates, the conquering of major diseases, major medical advances, and better overall health care throughout the world have together resulted in increased life hursing, and thus more elderly persons, especially those of extreme age eighty-five years and gerontkc. In North Americathe immigration boom between and also added to the number of older persons at the turn of the nureing.

In modern industrialized societies, old age is identified in terms of chronological age. In other societies, onset of old age is more commonly linked with events such as succession to eldership or becoming a grandparent. The importance of family life to the well-being of the elderly person can be seen in many cultures. In developing countries, the existence of an extended kin network provides regular and frequent contact as an essential part of the traditional welfare support system.


In developed countries, even with reduced family size, childless marriages, fewer single adult daughters, and increasing numbers of middle-aged women in the work force all of which have led to decreasing availability and opportunity for children to care directly for aging gfronticthe first and major resource for elderly persons is still the family: Gerontology as a field of study was notable in Europe prior to North America because of the earlier maturing of Europe’s population while initially North America had a younger population.

However, in the early ‘s as North America’s war against infectious diseases was won, more focus was placed upon degenerative, chronic diseases — most of which were notable in the growing, gerrontic population.

Nomenclature: what is in the name, “gerontic nursing”?

Gerontology began as an inquiry into the characteristics of long-lived people. It is defined as the science of aging, studying the effects of time on human development, specifically aging. Gerontology is the preferred term for the herontic aging process including the biologic, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of the older adult.

The term geriatrics is the area of study related to diseases of the elderly and became popular as geriatric medicine evolved. The nursing profession has clearly been affected by the increased aging of the world population, the sheer numbers of elderly people, and the different ways the world’s elderly persons are treated.

As the population has shifted from baby boomers to senior surgethe demand for expertise in this escalating population has also intensified. Nurses have long been interested in the care of older persons, and they seemed to have assumed more responsibility than other professions for this segment of the population. With a shift change of focus from emphasis in children and adolescents towards the elderly in societal emphasis giving visibility to elderly persons, the nursing community has focused upon this population in terms of increasing their knowledge base and increased education in this neophyte specialty field.

In North America, gerontological nursing began its rise with the acknowledgment of this new nursing specialty by the American Nurses Association in and the formation of the National Gerontological Nursing Association in Other nursing specialty organizations developed in Australia and Great Britain.

In contrast to the continued use of the term geriatricthe term gerontological nursing was in use by the early s to reflect the provision of care and the treatment of the whole person, not only care of disease in a medical setting.

The assessment of the health needs of older adults, the planning and implementing of health care to meet those needs, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of such care are critical activities in assisting older adults to optimize their functional abilities and thereby maximize independence and promote well-being — a prime directive for gerontological nurses.

A more recent term, gerontic nursingrefines the sphere of responsibility of gerontological nurses who care for the elderly by encompassing the art and intuition of caring and maintaining the “well elderly” as well as emphasizing illness and scientific principles of care. During the last half of the twentieth century, there was profound growth in the literature of gerontological nursing.


A North American gerontological nursing text was published inand a monthly journal devoted to gerontological nursing began publication in The birth of gerontological nursing research to provide a strong, independent knowledge base to link research with the increasing complexity of practice expertise began in the late s.

As the skill and knowledge base of gerontological nurses has continued to accelerate, there has been a corresponding growth in education, with the development of undergraduate baccalaureate, graduate masters, and postgraduate Ph.

Specific university-prepared clinical practice streams now include nurse practitioners as clinical nurse specialists and expanded role nurses, among others, providing advanced practice knowledge to older populations.

Gerontological nurses must have the knowledge and skill to manage care focused upon normal and abnormal age-related physical changes e. Gerontological nurses must be educated concerning care strategies about wide-ranging basic and complex physiological and behavioral issues such as pain, pressure ulcers, cognitive impairment, self-esteem disturbance, bereavement, fluid and electrolyte imbalance, and caregiver stress, among other issues.

Gerontological Nursing |

Gerontological nurses must also have expertise in navigating the health care system to act as advocates for their clients. Standards of nursing practice have been developed in various countries to define the uniqueness and scope of gerontic nursing practice and gerontc provide a foundation for evaluation of nursing practice in all settings where the focus of care is on the older person.

Gerontological nurses may also be certified through a written examination available in certain countries, as a recognition of expert professional competency. The future is secure for gerontological nursing as an acknowledged and well-respected specialty within nursing, as well as a discipline among its interdisciplinary colleagues in efforts to improve care for older persons throughout the world. University of Washington Press, Nursing and the Aged: A Self-Care Approach3d ed.

gerontic nursing

Human Needs and Nursing Response4th ed. Nursing Care of the Older Adult: In the Hospital, Nursing Home and Community.

Improving the Health Care of Older People: Oxford University Press, A Canadian Perspective3d ed. Handbook of Gerontological Nursing. Van Nostrand Reinhold, Aging Scientific Perspectives and Social Issues2d ed. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia.

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The beginnings of nursing The development of nursing has followed the development of mankind. The impact of world population changes.

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