It is a requirement to obtain a certificate in Geriatric Care for you to practice as a geriatric nurse. You need to complete a certification program for geriatric nursing in an accredited educational institution that issues geriatric nursing certificates. Once you have a certificate, you are qualified to work as a geriatric nurse and would be able to provide elderly assistance, home care and personal care to senior citizens, and administer geriatric medicine.
Most of the programs for geriatric nursing certificates are offered in nursing institutes and career colleges, but there are also accredited programs online. Research and inquire about the settings, and study programs offered by the various educational institutions. Ask if they have an accredited program, and what their passing rate for the exam given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center is.
Most regular programs for geriatric nursing certificates can be completed on a part-time or full-time schedule. Some institutions even offer weekend or evening classes. Find out the schedule offered and match it with your availability. If you have plans to pursue medical school after completing the certificate program, it would be wise to attend a university that offers a full-time four-year program.
Based on your comparative research, choose the right educational institution or online program that is accredited and fits your needs. Consider the cost of the program and the benefits offered. The program you complete should be able to provide the theoretical and practical training you need to qualify you to practice as a geriatric nurse.
Completing the certificate program is just one step to obtain a certificate. You will have to pass an exam given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center before a certificate is issued. For you to be eligible to take the exam, you need to complete the requirements for practice time, educational hours, and licensing. The criteria for eligibility to even apply for the examination should also be completed. To be eligible, you must have:
- For the last three years, completed at least 30 hours continuing education courses in gerontological nursing.
- For the last three years, earned at least 2,000 clinical hours practicing as a gerontological nurse.
- An active and current Registered Nurse, RN license valid in any territory or state of the United States, or an equivalent legally recognized professional certification from another country.
- Practiced full time as a registered nurse, or its equivalent, for the last two years.
Upon completion of the listed requirements, you can apply for a geriatric nursing certificate, and take the exam given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Only after passing the exam will you be awarded a Certificate in Geriatric Care and fully qualify as a Board Certified Registered Nurse. You can then work and provide personal care, senior services, administer geriatric medicine, and elderly assistance as a gerontological nurse in a home care, clinical or hospital setting anywhere in the United States.
By studying geriatric care management and obtaining a certificate, you should have a deeper understanding of the needs of senior citizens and the services you can provide. You should be able to understand the aging process and its effect on an individual, his family, his community, and the country's health care delivery system.