At a time when healthcare professionals are needed more than ever, you may be interested in taking your career to the next level with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. With an advanced degree, you have the opportunity to broaden your career prospects, increase salary potential and, considering the current high demand, be able to choose a work setting and hours that you prefer.
While there are different career paths you can pursue with a master’s in nursing, an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) track is one that may stand out for nurses who want to make a difference in healthcare. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 200,000 new registered nurse positions will be created by 2026. Employment of nurse practitioners and those in similar roles is projected to grow 45% by 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
What can I do with an AGNP degree?
Online AGNP programs prepare you to sit for the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner board certification examination through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). An Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who manages the healthcare needs for adolescents, adults and older adults. An AGNP is able to prescribe medication, conduct tests and create full treatment plans for their patients. More specifically, an adult gerontology nurse practitioner is trained to provide care to patients who are critically ill, highly vulnerable to complications or physiologically unstable. While primary care practitioners are trained to provide continuous, comprehensive care characterized by a long-term relationship with the patient.
But what makes an AGNP different from other nursing specialties? Here are four reasons why you should consider adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner programs, and this career path:
1. Healthcare Needs Will Expand for the Baby Boom Generation
The “baby boom” generation (born between 1946 and 1964) is made up of around 73 million people, and research shows that people over the age of 65 require healthcare visits twice as often as those younger than 65, averaging seven visits a year. “Based on what we’re seeing, the demand for caregivers who work with elderly populations is only going to grow,” says Janelle Baker, PhD, APRN, AGPCNP-C, PMHNP-BC, associate dean of the MSN- Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Specialty Track.
2. Opportunity to Work with Adolescents and Adults of All Ages
While it may seem that an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner only treats older adults, they actually begin seeing patients as young as age 13. If you’re interested in working with patients of all ages—either as an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner or primary care practitioner—and working with patients who have more complex needs, this career path may be right for you.
3. Becoming an Advocate for Patients
As an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, you become an advocate for your patients. As patients age, they struggle to manage their healthcare needs and have a hard time understanding the medical jargon used by health professionals. These challenges make it difficult to navigate when it comes to health insurance and routine care. As an AGNP, you can provide patients and their families with the support and understanding they need to become empowered and independent.
4. Working in a Variety of Healthcare Settings
“The great thing about earning a degree in gerontology is that it qualifies you to work in a wide range of environments,” says Tracy Murray, DNP, MS, RN, ACNP, FNP, associate dean, MSN-AGPCNP Specialty Track. With a gerontology degree in acute care, you can serve in intensive care units, cardiac care units, trauma, specialized acute care clinics and more. As an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, you can practice in primary care clinics/family practice, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, hospice/palliative care centers, assisted living facilities, home care to name a few.
Thinking of becoming an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner? Learn more about Chamberlain's Adult-Gerontology Nurse Acute Care and Primary Care Nurse Practitioner specialty tracks.
By Rubina Ali
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