Geriatric-Focused Education for Nurses

Aaron Malsch

The roles of the Emergency Nurses in a Geriatric Emergency Department (GED) are as varied as they are essential. Now that there are over 400 accredited GED internationally, each one is served by nurses at triage, an RN Champion, numerous 24/7 frontline nurses, RN Care Managers, and by experienced GEM nurses. To prepare nurses to meet the needs of vulnerable older adults, whatever your level of experience, the GEDC has developed numerous geriatric emergency medicine specific modules that are free, relevant to your practice, and provide contact hours (CNE). I will highlight a few examples of how the GEDC modules, toolkits, and curriculums can be taken to advance your practice.

RN Champion:

The RN GED Champion role is essential role for GED Accreditation. The RN Champion is required to have a defined job description and geriatric specific emergency medicine education. The Geri-EM Online modules are an excellent starting point for a wide variety of topics to improve your knowledge base as you support the GED team’s practice. There is a total of 8 modules. Each is relevant and accessible and provides 1.0 contact hour. The topics cover essential concepts including cognitive impairment, falls, trauma, frailty, and end of life care.

GED Implementation

If you are part of the interprofessional team implementing a GED and want to ensure your entire RN staff has a solid knowledge base, the essential modules are Atypical Presentations in the Older ED Patient and Functional Assessment and Transition of Care for Older ED Patients. Each module is relevant and accessible and provides 1.0 contact hour. This is a feasible route to get your staff to a higher baseline for understanding what makes older adults different from younger adults in the ED.

GEM Nurses:

Geriatric nurses can have many names, such as GEM, GENIE, and GEDI, etc. What all these examples from across the country have in common is highly specialized geriatric education to elevate their practice in screening, assessing, and intervening on vulnerable older adults. The GEDC provides two higher level curriculums to serve two high risk patient populations:


Skills Fair: Mobility Risks and Falls:

For a vast majority of EDs, the highest single chief complaint for older adults is related to a fall or mobility issue. GEDC has created a series of 5 30-minute modules for a total of 2.5hrs CNE that address the unique risk of falls, assessment & interventions, case studies, communication strategies, and interprofessional teamwork. These are a foundational to elevating your practice for a high-risk, high-volume population.


Critical Topics in Elder Mistreatment Curriculum:

Elder mistreatment is a significant and pervasive problem but frequently underrecognized in the ED. The 5 modules in this series developed in collaboration with the EDC provide a range of topics relevant to the identification and management of elder mistreatment. The complexity of this issue is highlighted by the overlapping aspects of clinical presentations, caregiver burden, multiple comorbidities, cognitive impairment, and behavioral issues. The 5 modules provide a total of 2.5hrs CNE and can be used along with the Elder Mistreatment Emergency Response Toolkit to improve your individual practice, as well as your entire GED’s.

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