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School of Nursing Offers Training in Geriatrics for Nurses
In an effort to meet the increasing health needs of a booming population of older people, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston is using a new grant to train geriatric resource nurses.
Nurses at hospitals in the Texas Medical Center have been recruited for training under a three-year, $504,000 education grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, Division of Nursing. The program eventually will reach out to outlying hospitals.
"People over the age of 65 are our fastest growing population, and - of that group - the fastest growing segment is over the age of 85," said Vaunette P. Fay, Ph.D., associate clinical professor at the nursing school. "Geriatric nursing is under-represented in all levels of nursing practice and education."
Currently, 12.8 percent of the population is over the age of 65, but that group accounts for 60 percent of all adult hospitalizations. By 2030, 20 percent of Americans will be over the age of 65.
"Older patients have multiple chronic illnesses and because of the changes of the aging process, treating them is more complex," Fay said. "But most nurses haven't had geriatric training as part of their formal education."
Under the grant, the first class of 15 nurses began in January in a six-month training and clinical course that includes issues in chronic disease management, rehabilitation, interpretation of lab data in older adults, physiological changes of aging and altered presentation of disease.
"The course will include leadership and mentorship training so that these nurses will go back to their wards and teach others," Fay said.
For more information, contact project coordinator Sally Davis at 713-500-9944 or Sally.Davis@uth.tmc.edu.
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