The struggles and benefits of gerontology nursing post-pandemic
Nursing is an important profession in just about every area in the world. Many view nurses as selfless individuals who are willing to spend their time caring for people who can’t care for themselves and are a critical part of recovery for many patients. Some of the nurses making the biggest impact on their patients’ lives are gerontology nurses. These professionals work directly with the elderly to help ensure they maintain the highest quality of life possible. From supporting recovery from specific health conditions to providing advice about how to improve their wellbeing, nurses play a big role in the lives of their patients. While this has always been an important field, gerontology nursing has become even more essential in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this article, we explore some of the intricacies of nursing for the elderly in a post-pandemic medical field, as well as some of the reasons why nurses find this environment rewarding.
How has nursing changed post-pandemic?
While nurses continue to strive to provide the best care they possibly can in a post-pandemic world, the way they help their patients, along with the recognition they receive, has changed. The areas in which their patients need help have expanded, especially among the elderly. Their concerns are no longer solely about their health needs, but also about social isolation, financial insecurity and even food insecurity. Nurses now play a greater role in ensuring that their patients receive the support they need from a variety of sources.
The good news? Today’s nurses receive more praise and recognition than they did before the pandemic, making their work even more rewarding. Established nurses feel as if they are finally receiving the respect they deserve. They are also working in vibrant communities of tight-knit medical professionals who battled their way through the pandemic and have channeled the strength and knowledge acquired during that high-stress time directly into their careers. This is an excellent opportunity for younger nurses to learn how to operate under pressure in addition to allowing nurses to brush up on their multidisciplinary skills as the number of patients they may be responsible for may also increase in the near future.
With the above in mind, why do some nurses find the post-pandemic working environment a positive change in their professional lives? Here are some of the ways that nurses help the elderly in a post-pandemic world and why their work is oftentimes rewarding and interesting:
Meeting complex health needs
One of the biggest challenges that elderly patients face is a high incidence of comorbidities. Rather than experiencing a single health challenge at a time, elderly patients often find themselves facing multiple issues, such as mental health and cognitive function decline paired with a growing lack of mobility. Both of these are serious issues that must be addressed in order to grant the patient as independent and fulfilling a life as possible, but it’s not an easy process to address all health issues.
Many gerontology nurses embrace the critical thinking and challenges involved in managing both long- and short-term health conditions, some of which require specialized care. This is especially true in the post-pandemic healthcare landscape. Today’s nurses must also manage the long-term effects of COVID-19 on their elderly patients. This requires nurses with advanced nursing skills, such as managing, monitoring and assessing a wide variety of health issues. The challenge of managing these health concerns effectively makes the workplace a particularly exciting one for gerontology nurses.
Mental health and isolation relief
Even before the pandemic, mental health and isolation were serious issues impacting elderly patients. COVID-19 and its social impact only further exacerbated these issues. Even today, elderly patients find themselves cut off from their families as they continue to have potential infection concerns. Nurses are often able to interact with these patients even if they do fall ill. This, in turn, allows them to provide emotional support as well as meet some of their mental health needs, promoting an improvement in the wellbeing of their patients.
Many nurses find this particular part of their job to be especially rewarding. They appreciate the opportunity to be there for their patients and support them through difficult times, and the post-pandemic world is filled with people who can benefit from their aid.
Consistent patient advocacy
Nurses are only one cog in the giant wheel of healthcare services that elderly patients typically need. They serve an essential role in advocating for their patients, however, including in cases where they suspect, abuse, neglect or suboptimal care. The best nurses work as powerful advocates for their patients and ensure that they receive quality care, dignity and respect while in the healthcare system. This is another area where nurses find a lot to love in their work.
Professionals looking to transition into nursing who possess a Bachelor’s degreein another field may wish to pursue an accelerated BSN degree from a reputable institution such as Baylor University. Through a combination of online coursework and onsite clinical placements, students gain the necessary skills to provide patients with the very best care possible. This course can be completed in as little as a year, allowing professionals to quickly transition into the nursing field.
Are you interested in learning more about caring for patients in a post-pandemic world? While we’ve outlined some of the benefits of working in today’s medical climate, there are many more benefits to consider. Use the information we have provided above and do some independent research into the subject. Don’t be afraid to reach out to prospective schools and ask them for more information about this topic, as well as the courses they offer.