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University of Washington School of Nursing - page 3 / 20





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Gerontological Nursing 2 credit undergraduate course Page 3 of 20

Week 1: Introduction to gerontological nursing

Learning objectives: Recognize major demographic trends for population of older adults in the United States Differentiate terms used in gerontological nursing Explore personal and societal attitudes and values about aging and linkages to definitions of healthy aging and societal/individual expectations for healthy aging Recognize the consequences of stereotyping older adults Articulate the heterogeneity of elder development Articulate challenges associated with assessment of older adults, including differentiation of normal age-related changes vs disease-related states Understand the nurseā€Ÿs role as advocate for older adult and holistic approach to assessment

Class activities:

  • 1.

    Pass out index cards with instructions for students to write answers to:

    • o

      “I will be old when…” Focus for follow-up discussion: Heterogeneity of perspectives How might these different perspectives influence our nursing assessments of older adults?

Readings: Required:

Gerontological Nursing, 2nd edition Chapter 4: Gerontologic Assessment, p. 63-95


  • 1.

    Course expectations & syllabus review

  • 2.

    Why gerontological nursing?

    • a.

      Demographics & trends

      • i.

        Life expectancy

      • ii.

        Cultural, gender

      • iii.


      • iv.

        Stats for older adult usage of health care system (% hospitalizations, % office visits, % home care visits, % skilled nursing)

    • b.

      Heterogeneity of development in older adults

  • 3.


    • a.

      Gerontology, geriatrics, lifespan vs life expectancy/longevity, senescence

  • 4.

    Attitudes and values re: aging

    • a.

      Ageism, stereotypes, myths (tie back to index card activity)

  • 5.

    What is aging? (from DiGiovanna text)

    • a.

      Biological, chronological, cosmetic, social, psychological, economic

    • b.

      Interactions among these different types of aging

    • c.

      What aging is NOT

  • 6.

    What is normal aging?

    • a.

      General introduction to normal age-related physiological/anatomical changes

      • i.

        Decreased ability to maintain homeostasis (ability to stay in optimal range)

      • ii.

        Decreased response to physical and emotional stresses

      • iii.

        Decreased reserve capacity (delicate balance as we age) Permission is hereby granted to reproduce, post, download, and/or distribute, this material for not-for-profit educational purposes only, provided that Northwest Coalition for Geriatric Nursing Education is cited as the source. This material may be downloaded and/or distributed in electronic format, including PDF format. Available on the internet at www.geronursinged.org E-mail notification of usage to: soncgne@ohsu.edu

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