American Journal of Nursing partners with GSA to improve care of older adults

09/01/04

Series on geriatric care offers practical, evidence-based information for practicing nurses

The American Journal of Nursing (AJN), the official journal of the American Nurses Association, and The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), a national organization of professionals in the field of aging, are teaming up to improve the care of older adults. Through a three-year project - the Geriatric Nursing Special Series - AJN and GSA will move best practices and deliver cutting-edge research information on the care of older adults to nurses across all clinical practices.

With more than 50 percent of hospital patients over age 65 and only 1 percent of nurses certified in gerontology, the series will help nurses in hospitals and nursing homes to develop the age-specific competencies required by federal regulatory agencies and the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

Through the Geriatric Nursing Special Series, funded by two grants from The Atlantic Philanthropies totaling $700,000, AJN and GSA aim to:

  • Increase the number of nurses sitting for certification in geriatrics
  • Stimulate institutional changes in nursing care of older adults
  • Increase the number of certified and non-certified nurses in all specialties who are fulfilling their continuing education requirements through self-study in care of older adults.

With the help of national geriatric nursing researchers, AJN will produce a bimonthly series on nursing care of older adults, publishing 15 evidence-based articles and columns over a period of 30 months. Additionally, PRIMEDIA Workplace Learning, a leading developer of training solutions for health care and other industries, will join the partnership to produce broadcasts and other multimedia materials such as videotapes, DVDs, and CD-ROMs to disseminate the series and related information to institutions and facilities that employ nurses and others involved in hands-on care of older adults. The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing will also contribute to the project, identifying opportunities for distributing these materials to nurses interested in obtaining certification in geriatrics or simply enhancing their knowledge of caring for older adults.

"This project is designed to help all nurses who come in contact with older adults in their daily practice, as well as their patients," said Diana J. Mason, RN, PhD, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief of AJN. "By keeping nurses up-to-date on the most recent research, we can increase access to evidence-based geriatric best practice."

According to GSA President-elect Terry Fulmer, RN, PhD, FAAN, "As nurses take on more diverse roles within today's multidisciplinary health teams, it is imperative to communicate cutting-edge research to practicing nurses to keep them informed of best practices. We are grateful to TheAtlantic Philanthropies for this fantastic opportunity to communicate the latest gerontological research to those nurses on the front lines."

The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing in the Division of Nursing, New York University, is an additional partner in this project. "We know that older adults constitute almost half of all days of care in hospitals; 80% of people receiving home care and 90% of skilled nursing facility residents are 65 years of age or older," notes Institute director Mathy Mezey, RN, PhD, FAAN. "And yet, the nursing workforce is ill-prepared for the special needs of older adults, particularly those aged 85 years and older. This project will provide easy access to high quality, evidence-based best practice information to the "downstream" nurse at the bedside."

Nancy Stotts, RN, PhD, FAAN, professor at the University of California at San Francisco School of Nursing and a Hartford Institute Geriatric Nurse Scholar, will be the series editor in collaboration with Carole Deitrich, RN, MS, GNP, clinical professor at the School of Nursing. Dr. Stotts notes, "This project will provide nurses with the knowledge they need to give patients the best in evidence-based care. Research and the most recent thinking in the field will be translated into practical approaches for use at the bedside and in the community."

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