The role of the nurse care practitioner; is one of several nursing home jobs that have been targeted in an effort to improve the quality of care provided in nursing homes. Increasingly, gerontological nurse care practitioners, (GNPs), are being hired to assist in correcting deficiencies in the quality of care to the elderly.
GNPs are trained in areas beyond that of a registered nurse. They are professional nurses who are able to provide a wide range of primary care. Also, they generally have advanced education, and this prepares them to give care within accepted professional standards. They are able to assess and diagnose various types of illnesses, whether chronic or acute. Added to this, they provide disease prevention services, and promote sound health practices.
In the nursing home the GNP is seen as the worker most focused on the primary care, and optimal health of residents. This primary care involves managing acute minor illnesses, as well as chronic diseases. The GNP also plays a coordinating role in ensuring that the basic needs of residents are met by the certified nurse assistant. They also work with the administrator, medical team, and the director of nursing, in ensuring that all other health needs are attended to.
Nursing home jobs can be extremely demanding and due to its multifaceted nature, the role of the GNP is no different. Nonetheless, GNPs are able to impact the quality of health care in a meaningful way. This is due in part to their continuous presence at the nursing home, and their general accessibility. This means that they are able to establish a good relationship with residents, and their families. The fact that they have a key role in coordinating staff responsibilities, also lends itself to good relations with the nursing, medical and support staff.
Another reason GNPs are able to impact quality is because they are capable of overseeing patients and catering to their medical needs, in the absence of a physician. This is a critical factor, as physicians are sometimes unable to attend to nursing home patients as often as would be considered ideal. On the other side of the coin, their presence can also help to minimize the need for the visit by a physician.
In addition, they are able to provide other nursing and support staff with training in advanced skills. This new knowledge can go a long way in making them more effective in their roles at the facility. Their clinical experience also provides residents and nursing students, with greater awareness about the care of the elderly.
In terms of education, the GNP focuses on particular issues related to the elderly. The national certifying examination for GNPs requires a master’s degree; hence they are educated to the graduate level. They are trained in the principles of clinical pharmacology, and are taught how this can impact the care of older persons. They also learn procedures for prescribing, and monitoring drug regimens.
As nursing home jobs go, a career in GNP offers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of residents. It also allows the practitioner the flexibility to develop innovative methods, thereby enhancing the delivery of primary care services to the elderly.