A necessity not a luxury: preparing advanced practice nurses to care for older adults

J Prof Nurs. 2006 Mar-Apr;22(2):116-22. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2006.01.015.


Of today's 2.7 million registered nurses, less than 1% are certified in gerontological nursing and only 3% of advanced practice nurses (APNs) have specialized training in this area. These statistics indicate that there are not enough gerontological nurse practitioners or geriatric clinical nurse specialists to care for the burgeoning older adult population. Relying solely on certified geriatric APNs to care for older adults is not a viable solution. Educating all APNs with grounding in gerontological nursing care may well be the answer to expanding our nation's capacity to competently care for our rapidly aging population. As part of the 4-year Enhancing Geriatric Nursing Education in Baccalaureate and Advanced Practice Nursing Grant, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing developed a set of core gerontological competencies for graduate APN programs. These competencies, entitled Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist Competencies for Older Adult Care, delineate guidelines for APNs who are not specialists in gerontology but provide care to older adults. This article describes the competency development process, provides an overview of broad categories and examples of competency statements, and highlights model case studies for integrating gerontological content throughout APN curricula to ensure that graduates are equipped to provide competent care to older adults.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Certification
  • Clinical Competence
  • Consensus
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Nursing, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Foundations
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Geriatric Nursing / education*
  • Geriatric Nursing / organization & administration
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Educational
  • Nurse Clinicians / education*
  • Nurse Clinicians / organization & administration
  • Nurse Practitioners / education*
  • Nurse Practitioners / organization & administration
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Training Support