How To Specialize Your Nursing Degree for Alzheimer’s Care
When pursuing a nursing degree, you may have a set goal of mind of what you truly wish to do in the medical field. For some, working in the operating room is their goal, others may wish to work in the delivery room, but others may pursue a career focused on geriatrics. This can include an emphasis on caring for those patients struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease, the degeneration of brain cells and connectors, impacting memory and function. If you’re pursuing a nursing degree, here are some things to keep in mind to put a focus on Alzheimer’s care.
Clinical experience is important when pursuing any nursing degree. However, putting a focus on mental health care requires additional education. You could pursue a family nurse practitioner or FNP degree. Earning a master’s of science through a certified program in the United States helps prepare nurses to diagnose and manage common and complex medical conditions across a patient’s lifespan. You can even look into online nursing programs that bring a comprehensive perspective into diagnosing and treating health conditions with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management.
Once you have this FNP degree, you may want to pursue credentials within psychiatric nursing and other human services linked to mental health through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Certain certifications run for a select number of years, some of those certifications require the completion of some continuing education to renew. Before you can become an FNP, you must have approved experience and must pass a certification exam.
Innovative research is happening daily towards better understanding the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as potential strides to a cure. You can use your nursing degree to become more involved in Alzheimer’s research by pursuing greater education in the building blocks of this disease. Some higher education programs put an emphasis on biochemistry and the building blocks of these illnesses, along with the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This includes the amino acids and deposits that are at the heart of creating the abnormal amyloid plaques that cause neurological triggers to offset in the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease progresses over time, but scientific researchers have made huge strides in grasping the root causes of Alzheimer’s, offering that effective treatments, and possibly even a cure, are now within reach. Memory loss is one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s, along with a gradual decline of other cognitive functions, and changes in personality. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Drug and non-drug options have been discovered that can slow down this decline based on health information provided to a qualified primary care physician and members of the patient’s medical care team.
While your nursing degree may prepare you for most healthcare services and diagnostic tests related to treating Alzheimer’s patients, there are state-approved training programs that can better help you in treating certain chronic conditions. A registered nurse can go through two years of studying before taking an accredited state exam, or four years to better have a grasp on what they’ve picked up through collegiate nursing education.
There is a greater demand than ever for Alzheimer’s care beyond the clinical setting. The choice to specialize in a nursing degree in relation to Alzheimer’s could be one of the best career moves you could ever make for long-term job security. There are so many different specialized settings and practice areas from retirement homes to nursing homes, or even as an at-home nurse for those who are unable to handle prescriptions or other facets of daily life. This provides peace of mind for family members, knowing that caregivers are making sure their Alzheimer’s-beleaguered loved ones are being taken care of properly.