Geriatric Nursing Assistant: Educational Requirements
Geriatric nursing assistants serve meals, make beds and help elderly patients to dress and bathe, among other duties. Most geriatric nursing assistants work in hospitals and residential healthcare facilities. Read on for more information on educational requirements to enter the career field.
Geriatric nursing assistants are also referred to as nursing aides. In most cases, a high school diploma or its equivalent is sufficient education to earn this title and obtain an entry-level position. Depending on initial patient requirements, training can be completed in a few days or last for a period of several weeks.
Training is generally completed by registered nurses in classroom and clinical settings. Workshops and lectures may be a part of these training programs, which are commonly offered by vocational schools, high schools and community colleges. Nursing aide educational programs include training in areas such as:
- Basic nursing skills
- Personal care skills
- Home care skills
- Disease precautions
- Communication skills
Certification and Licensing Requirements
The BLS notes that geriatric nursing care facilities may hire inexperienced workers, who must then complete a minimum of 75 hours of training as specified by the U.S. Federal Government. Some states may have additional training requirements. Training may cover areas from infection control to Alzheimer's disease. Those who complete the training program may become certified nursing assistants (CNAs).
CNAs who pass a competency test, as part of a state-approved program, may become certified as geriatric nursing assistants (GNAs). Licensing renewal requirements vary by state. For instance, Maryland requires their GNAs to have their credentials renewed every two years.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for nursing aides were expected to increase by 19% between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). Despite this expected increase, the BLS notes that growth may be hindered by a dependency on government funding. Additionally, this occupation is characterized by strenuous physical and emotional demands, as well as a lack of career advancement opportunities. The BLS notes that nursing aides earned a median income of $25,140 annually as of May 2010.
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