Nursing 444

NURS 444: Gerontologic Nursing

Prerequisites: NURS 340, NURS 345, NURS 352, NURS 362, NURS 368, NURS 369

Credit Hours: (5) Three hours lecture; six hours practicum

Focuses on the aging process to include biological, sociological, psychological, and spiritual components with clinical applications in the provision of care to older adult clients in a variety of settings, such as the community, assisted living facilities, acute care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

The objectives and content of this Level 3 Course are derived from the School of Nursing’s philosophy and conceptual framework and facilitate achievement of the School’s program objectives and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Baccalaureate Essentials. Additionally, the major topics and skills covered in this course are common to major leadership and professional development nursing textbooks and represent areas covered on standardized achievement examinations and the NCLEX-RN Test Plan. Evidence based research and advancement of theory and clinical practice also determine content.

1. Biological Aging

            a. Health and Wellness

            b. Theories of Aging

            c. Physical Changes

            d. Sensory Changes

            e. Nutritional Needs

            f. Fluids and Continence

            g. Sexuality

            h. Rest, Sleep, and Activity

            i. Maintaining Mobility and Environmental Safety

            j. Integument and Feet

            k. Diabetes Mellitus

            l. Living with Bone and Joint Problems

            m. Coping with Cardiac and Respiratory Disorders

            n. Medication Use and Management

            o. Pain and Comfort

2. Psychological Aging

            a. Cognitive Impairment

            b. Mental and Emotional Health

            c. Elder abuse and exploitation

3. Sociological Aging

            a. Families and the Aged

            b. Communication, Education, and Geriatric Nursing History and Roles

            c. Health Care in a Changing System

            d. Cultural Considerations

            e. Life Space Options

4. Spiritual Aging

            a. Coping with Loss, Grief, Dying, and Death

            b. Spirituality

            c. Self-Actualization


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The following teaching strategies will be employed: lectures, discussions, multimedia, case studies, and guided clinical practice.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

1. Integrates the knowledge and methods of a variety of disciplines to informed decision making in the care of the older adult.

2. Implements evidence-based nursing interventions as appropriate for managing the acute and chronic care of older adults, promoting healthy aging, and advocating for high quality and safe patient care.

3. Integrates evidence based research findings, clinical judgment, interprofessional perspectives, and patient preferences in planning, implementing, and evaluating outcomes in the care of the older adult.

4. Applies patient care technologies as appropriate to address the needs of a diverse older adult population.

5. Utilizes an ethical framework to evaluate the impact of social policies on health care, especially for vulnerable populations, such as older adults.

6. Contributes the unique nursing perspective to interprofessional teams to optimize outcomes of older adults, their families and aggregates and advocates for high quality and safe patient care.

7. Utilizes scientific principles of nursing knowledge in increasingly complex situations when providing multidimensional care to older adults, their families and their aggregates.

8. Demonstrates increasing skill in applying frameworks for ethical decision making and advocates for high quality and safe care for the older adult.

9. Promotes the image of gerontological nursing by modeling values and articulating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the nursing profession.

10. Conducts comprehensive and focused assessments of health and illness parameters in older adults using developmentally and culturally appropriate approaches and standardized assessment instruments.

11. Manages care to maximize health, independence, and quality of life for older adults in all care settings.

12. Integrates knowledge to identify report, refer, and manage elder abuse and exploitation.


Assessment Measures

May include but not limited to:

Exams, Quizzes


Project: Individual or Group

Oral Presentations

Class Participation

The course grade is determined by an evaluation of the extent to which the student meets the stated course objectives. Students must have a minimum of 80% (“C”) in theory, measured through testing. If the theoretical grade is less than 80%, then the examination grade average will stand alone for the course grade. Other written or class participation work will be included in the final grade after the minimum 80% (“C”) has been attained through testing.

Final grades are a combination of at least 80% (“C”) on both theory and clinical/lab components. Clinical/lab performance must be satisfactory to pass the course.


Other Course Information

Honor Code: By accepting admission to Radford University, each student makes a commitment to understand, support, and abide by the University Honor Code without compromise or exception. Violations of academic integrity will not be tolerated. This class will be conducted in strict observance of the Honor Code. Radford University’s Honor Pledge states:

I shall uphold the values and ideals of Radford University by engaging in responsible behavior and striving always to be accountable for my actions while holding myself and others to the highest moral and ethical standards of academic integrity and good citizenship as defined in the Standards of Student Conduct.

Students with Disabilities: If you are seeking classroom accommodations under the Americans with Disability Act, you are required to register with the Disability Resource Office (DRO). The DRO is located in Room 32, Tyler Hall, telephone 540-831-6350. To receive academic accommodations for this class, please obtain the proper DRO forms and meet with the course faculty no later than the 2nd  week of the semester.

Attendance: For attendance policies and other course-related requirements, see School of Nursing Undergraduate Student Handbook and Course Description.


Review and Approval

April 2006 Undergraduate Curriculum Marcella Griggs, Review Director

February 2011, Kim Carter, Director