August 30, 2017

Two CON Seniors Learn Geriatric Nursing Possibilities Through Externship

Aug. 30, 2017 | Two UAMS College of Nursing seniors spent a eight weeks of their summer exploring career opportunities in gerontological nursing as part of the college’s Geriatric Nurse Externship program in the Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence.

The BSN program students — Cande Perez and Caitlin Bowe — spent two months learning about options in research, education, practice and leadership through various experiences. They worked with advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, including the Thomas and Lyon Longevity Clinic, Nursing home visits and House Calls program.

They also visited two types of alternative long-term care homes, the Green House Cottages at Southern Hills in Rison which consists of eight cottages with 10 residents in each cottage with a homelike environment. The other was House of Three in Lonoke where a neighborhood home is remodeled to accommodate three residents and a caretaker.

The students are taking part in the annual Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence Geriatric Student Nurse Externship Program that began in 2004. Last year, this program was funded by the Skelly Foundation.

Each student received $4,000, plus travel to visit UAMS Centers on Aging and attend multiple conferences over the summer, including the 2017 Governor’s Quality Award Healthcare Seminar and the Alzheimer’s Arkansas  Hope for the Future conference.

The externs traveled to the Northeast Center on Aging and were hosted by Linda Tate, PhD, RN, center director. While there, they visited several long-term care services. In central Arkansas, they visited the Complete Health PACE, a joint program with Baptist Health and CareLink to provide community services to older adults who are eligible for nursing home care.

“With the aging population growing so quickly, there is a great demand for nurses interested in geriatrics/gerontology, said Claudia Beverly, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence. “Nurses are well positioned to care for older adults across many care settings focusing on health promotion and prevention.”

Since the program began, 41 students have completed the externship. Seven former externs have a PhD or DNP in nursing or nursing administration, anesthesia and education, and eight have pursued a masters or advanced practice nursing degree.