Required Skills and Qualifications for Elderly Nurses
Caring for the elderly can be a particularly challenging task, but one with many benefits. The elderly have lived long lives and the lessons they can teach young nurses can be invaluable. As a nurse for the elderly, you must have a number of unique qualities – qualities that can put you in the position of being able to provide support and care for individuals that might not be able to care for themselves. When it comes down to it, you need to have a lot of sympathy and patience, because the elderly might not be able to move as fast as they used to move and they might not be as cognizant. Here are some required skills and qualifications for elderly nurses.
One of the biggest skills you need is patience. More than anything, patience will be your guide when it comes to caring for the elderly. When you reach a certain age, even the simplest things, like walking and moving around can become difficult, which why as a nurse it is important not rush people who are of advanced age. Rushing can lead to injuries and it can make individuals who might be suffering from dementia confused and disoriented.
Another import skill set for caring for the elderly is communication. There are a number of different ways to communicate -ways that might not completely rely on words. Also, it is important to know how to speak with people who might have limited cognition. If someone is hungry or needs to go to a bathroom, it is important to know exactly what they might be saying, even if their mode of communication is non-verbal. Whether that would be a hand gesture, or even a certain facial expression, it is important than a nurse know exactly what that person is trying to say.
Also, nurses must have excellent organizational skills. There are a number of reasons why organization is so important. For instance, if you work at a hospital and must visit a number of different patients, knowing exactly who different patients are is important. Not only that, but you have to keep track of each and every patient’s treatment plan and medical schedule. The last thing you want to do as a nurse is miss a patient’s medication time and risk an injury or some kind of worsening health condition. When you apply for a position with a hospital, your supervisor will ask you if you have excellent organizational skills or not. Hopefully your answer is that you do.
Lastly, if you know that you have three of the major skill sets to care for the elderly, it is time to get your certification. The are many CNA online programs, which make it easy to get your degree and certification. Moreover, taking courses online can be drastically more affordable than taking in-classroom courses. Once you have your degree, which usually takes about two years to acquire, you can start looking for positions in the healthcare field. You could work in a traditional hospital setting or you could work in hospice care. No matter what you choose, though, there is nothing more satisfying than working with and taking care of the elderly.