“Just keep swimming”
I feel like I have told myself this everyday of nursing school and all the hard work finally paid off. This past weekend, October 1st-3rd, 2015, I attended the 30th annual National Gerontological Nursing Association (NGNA) conference in Indianapolis. Student representatives from JHUSON Geriatric Interest Group (GIG) presented on ways to promote geriatric nursing at local nursing schools and to provide resources to schools without a geriatric nursing course. We have engaged faculty from various locations in the U.S. to advocate for the promotion of geriatric nursing to their student body at their respective schools.
Our population has been aging at a rapid rate over the years–the U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population age 85 and over could grow from 5.5 million in 2010 to 19 million by 2050. Older adults are a large portion of the patient population in hospital settings, which calls for more training and awareness among healthcare providers. Although “geriatric nursing” may not be indicated explicitly, the topic comes up in many fields—oncology, palliative/hospice care, emergency department, and much more. However, there are still many stereotypes and biases around the topic of taking care of older adults.
Especially with the advancement of technology, the potential we, the next generation of young professionals, bring to the table is limitless. As Buzz Lightyear said,
“To infinity … and beyond!”
My heart skips a beat thinking of the possibilities in the field as I listened to experts from around the nation talk. (No, I think I’m fine with the amiodarone for now) The talk that inspired me the most was titled, End-of-Life Planning in Rural Elderly Cohort given by Alyce Ashcraft, PhD, RN. as she highlighted the limited resources rural areas have in palliative care, hospice, home health, and nursing homes. Furthermore, she spoke about how older adults are an overlooked population due to their size as compared to urban areas. However, Dr. Ashcraft points out that rural areas are responsible for the country’s, “Food, Fuel, and Fiber.”
This conference was my nerdy version of Disneyland, and was the moment I sensed that I finally got my foot in the door to the career path of my dreams.
Finally, as my favorite older adult, Carl Fredricksen from the movie, UP would say:
“Adventure is out there!”
Check out GIG’s activities through our savvy social networking sites:
twitter account: @JHUSON_GIG