Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nursing Degrees Are On The Rise To Tend To The Baby Boom Generation Population

By Michelle Connor

"Perched on the front stoop of old age" is how the Pew Research Center described them in December. The oldest baby boomers start turning 65 this year, beginning a period where they join 13 percent of the American population, the article from the Pew Research Center noted. To help students in nursing degree programs learn to care for a population that's becoming increasingly older is where "patient" Seymour Butts comes in handy.

Butts is a patient at a virtual learning lab that's part of a private Indiana university's nursing degree program. He is afflicted with buttocks sores that are stress related and a part of geriatric programming that some consider innovative. Students pursuing nursing degrees hadn't until fairly recently received much training in geriatrics, according to some. Take advantage of the information about this field online and you should also take this opportunity to look into distance nursing degree to know your options.

Geriatrics programming in nursing degree programs as far as 1997 and 2003 show studies that were concerned about the health care pertaining to the elderly, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Some of the issues had to do with a lack of experience in the subject on the part of instructors and individual geriatric nursing courses being rare to non-existent. With grant money provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, colleges and universities began enhancing the geriatric education provided as part of their nursing degree programs.

The grants, provided with help from $3.99 million from the John A. Hartford Foundation, were provided as part of an Enhancing Geriatric Nursing Education in Undergraduate and Advanced Practice Nursing Programs. With this money, 20 nursing degree programs at the undergraduate level and 10 at the graduate level made strides towards developing faculty knowledge in the area, adding gerontology courses and coursework, establishing clinical programs and more, the association website shows.

The private university in Indiana, for example, redesigned its nursing degree program, making an elective course on The Aging Process a required course, began more intense promotions for a Human Aging minor, established partnerships with senior centers and assisted living facilities, added a gerontology certificate program and more. The virtual learning lab with Butts is a part of The Aging Process course, as is a service learning project requirement whereby students provide group presentations at churches, assisted living facilities and senior day care centers in the area. Researching nursing degree online will help to prepare you for the challenges college has to offer.

At a public university in Florida, gerontology was integrated into all courses, including pharmacology, where students can learn about medications considered inadvisable for older adults. A course in gerontology was also made available to new students and professional nurses, information on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website shows. The course, Nursing Care of Older Adults, began as an elective and as of the 2005-2006 academic year was scheduled to become a requirement. As part of it, the instructor included a Facts on Aging quiz as well as Into Aging and Walk in My Shoes, interactive games that simulated aging.

There are, according to the Pew Research Center article, nearly 80 million baby boomers who comprise around 26 percent of the population in America. Many boomers, the article notes, consider old age to be 72 and older. Many also say they feel nine years younger than they really are, according to the Pew Research Center article.

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