To enhance geriatric patients’ quality of care, we focused on educating two key members of the primary care practitioner team – nurse practitioners and physician assistants – about geriatric patients’ unique needs through the Geriatric Clinical Practice Series, which launched in 2010.
This monthly webinar and video conference connected nurse practitioner and physician assistant students from seven academic programs with nationally recognized scholars and leaders in the geriatric field.
Through lectures on topics such as “How is Geriatric Medicine Different than Internal Medicine?” and “Geriatric Pearls from Head to Toe” the program taught students how to provide better care for geriatric patients and their families upon entering the workforce.
The final webinar of the series was held at the end of 2012, though the complete library of recordings is still available for students to access.
This program was a part of the larger Geriatric Workforce Initiative. Through a series of programs, this initiative aims to increase recruitment, retention and competence among physicians, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, home health aides and other health care related professionals who serve vulnerable older adults and their families.
We surveyed students following the series, and overall, they reported that they were more comfortable dealing with health issues of patients older than 65 and were more likely to seek employment working with older adults. Comments included, “I have become more comfortable working with older adults, because I have learned a lot about their extra needs and medical concerns,” and “I have a better understanding of the issues facing older adults.”