As the population ages, the demand for healthcare professionals who specialize in working with older adults is on the rise. AGNPs, or Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners, are critical in providing high-quality, patient-centered care to older adults.
From obtaining the necessary education and certification to gaining experience and staying current with the latest research, you need guidance through the process of becoming a respected and valued AGNP.
According to the Population Reference Bureau of America, the number of Americans aged 65 or higher is expected to reach 95 million by 2060. Therefore, the total population share of the older population will rise from 16% to 23%. That means there will be more demand for AGNPs in the upcoming times.
Whether you are a new nurse or an experienced healthcare professional looking to specialize, this article is a must-read for anyone interested in pursuing a career in adult gerontology nursing. This article explores five proven ways to become a specialized AGNP.
5 Proven Ways to Become a Specialized Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
1. Pursue a Specialized Master’s Degree in Gerontology
Pursuing a specialized Master’s degree in Gerontology is an important step toward becoming an AGNP. Many AGNP programs require a Master’s degree in nursing focusing on gerontology. This program will give you the advanced knowledge and skills to provide comprehensive care to older adults.
The curriculum typically includes coursework in geriatric pharmacology, health promotion and disease prevention, geriatric physical assessment, and ethics in gerontological care. Additionally, these programs often include clinical rotations in geriatric settings, providing hands-on experience working with older adults.
In addition to traditional on-campus Master’s degree programs in Gerontology, many universities now offer an online acute care nurse practitioner for older adults program. These programs are designed to provide advanced training for registered nurses who wish to become ACNPs and specialize in caring for older adults.
The online format of these programs allows flexibility and convenience for nurses who are currently working and wish to further their education.
2. Pass the Certification Exam and Become Certified
Passing the certification exam and becoming certified is crucial to becoming a specialized AGNP. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) offer certification exams for AGNPs.
To be eligible for the certification exam, you must have a Master’s degree in nursing focused on gerontology and have completed clinical hours in adult gerontology. The certification exam tests your knowledge of the nursing process and care provision to older adults and validates your expertise as an AGNP.
Once certified, you will need to renew your certification every few years by meeting continuing education requirements and maintaining a valid nursing license. Once you become a certified AGNP, you can get a job with handsome pay. According to Zippia, an AGNP can earn, on average, up to $111,870 annually, with $173,500 as the highest wage.
3. Actively Participate in Continuing Education Programs
Participating in ongoing education programs is essential in becoming a specialized AGNP and maintaining your certification. The healthcare field is constantly evolving, and as an AGNP, it is important to stay current with the latest research, treatments, and best practices.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of registered nurses is expected to grow at a rate of 6% from 2021 to 2031. Also, around 203,200 openings are projected each year for the post of registered nurses. Therefore, continuing your education in the field will make you suited for nursing positions and provide growth opportunities.
Continuing education programs can include workshops, seminars, online courses, or conference attendance. They can also be tailored to specific areas of interest, such as geriatric pharmacology or palliative care.
By participating in continuing education programs, you will be able to improve your clinical skills and knowledge and provide better care to your patients. Additionally, most certification bodies require a certain number of continuing education hours to maintain certification.
4. Become Familiar With State Laws Related to Treating the Elderly
Becoming familiar with state laws related to treating the elderly is an important step in becoming a specialized AGNP. Each state has its laws and regulations regarding the practice of nursing, and as an AGNP, it is essential to understand the legal requirements and scope of practice for your state.
It includes laws related to prescribing medications, ordering diagnostic tests, and collaborating with other healthcare providers.
Familiarizing yourself with state laws will help you provide safe, effective, and compliant patient care. It is also important to stay up-to-date with any changes to state laws and regulations as they may change over time. In addition, some states may have specific laws for senior care that are important for AGNPs to be aware of.
5. Get Hands-on Experience
Getting hands-on experience is essential in becoming a specialized AGNP. The best way to gain the skills and knowledge needed to provide high-quality care to older adults is through hands-on experience working with patients in a clinical setting.
Many AGNP programs include clinical rotations in geriatric settings, such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, and clinics. These rotations provide an opportunity to work under the supervision of experienced AGNPs and other healthcare professionals.
Additionally, volunteer or paid positions in geriatric settings, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities, can provide valuable hands-on experience. The more experience you have working with older adults, the more prepared you will be to provide comprehensive, patient-centered care as an AGNP.
Becoming a specialized AGNP requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards are well worth it. From obtaining the necessary education and certification to gaining hands-on experience and staying current with the latest research, the steps outlined in this article will guide you on your journey to becoming a respected and valued AGNP.
Whether a new nurse or an experienced healthcare professional, following these five proven ways to become an AGNP will help you provide comprehensive, patient-centered care to older adults.