This research will discuss the role of the professional geriatric nurse in a long-term care facility working as a staff development coordinator. The need for geriatric nurses has been increasing due to the maturation of the American population as a whole, and from the increased awareness of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias which eventually require specialized care, sometimes on a continuous basis, in a long-term care facility.
The geriatric nurse is responsible for the functions within the long-term care facility that are most critical to the quality of care delivered to patients.
Because treatments are constantly being evaluated and revised in response to research, it is important to keep geriatric nurses up to date on the latest techniques and theories for treatment. Therefore, continuing education is vital to the success of any long-term care facility. Brazil et al. (1998, p. 198) illustrate this with their study "Assessing the Impact of Staff Development on Nursing Practice."
After evaluating 43 nurse participants, the researchers found that participation in a geriatric education workshop increased the nurses' knowledge of gerontologic issues and improved their ability to assess patients and to plan and document nursing interventions in patient charts (Brazil et al., p. 198). However, it was noted that the workshop had no effect on collaborative practice, role ambiguity, or job satisfaction (Brazil et al., p. 198).
Frequently, continuing education is handled by the staff development coordinator. Yet, it is not the staff development coordinator's role to assure these latter issues, though one could choose to offer workshops on topics such as these that may positively or negatively impact patient care indirectly. "Although educators in clinical settings assume different roles, the major responsibilities are the clinical and professional development of staff. Some of the challenges facing educators relat...