Basics of Geriatric Nursing in Canada

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Nursing in Canada is an important part of a continuous, patient-centric, well informed and robust healthcare system. Basics of Geriatric nursing in Canada are centred on offering individualized and informed healthcare services to the elderly.

The population of Canada is aging and continues to include an ever-increasing number of older people. Hence, geriatric nursing in Canada will allow a nurse to fulfil the need of the hour. The Gerontology nursing education offered at Canadian nursing colleges prepares students to work in an expanding and rewarding field.

If you associate yourself with traits of compassion, patience, and a desire to work for the welfare of the elderly then you should pursue geriatric nursing in Canada. In this blog, we will be discussing the basics of Geriatric nursing in Canada.

If you’re interested in making a nursing career in Gerontology, keep reading to know more.

What is Geriatric Nursing?

Geriatric nurses are registered nurses who are educated and professionally trained to care for elderly patients and understand their healthcare needs. These nursing professionals are also called Gerontology nurses.

It is the responsibility of geriatric nurses to offer patient-focused care to the elderly and improve their quality of life. From the beginning of nursing education in Canada, geriatric nurses focus on social, biological, and psychological changes in adults. As opposed to other fields, this one is a multidisciplinary field that includes all aspects of medical care.

Nursing care for the elderly and their family members in the Canadian context takes into account important socio-cultural considerations. In addition, the nurses also have a deep understanding of the cultural and linguistic needs of the older populations, some of whom are also recent immigrants to Canada.

While completing registered nursing programs in Canada, nurses understand that all cultures have different expectations. Canadian nursing colleges prepare, educate and train the students with skill-based training of intercultural competency, human rights, anti-racism, and conflict resolution.

The newly graduated gerontology nurses in Canada must possess detailed knowledge, attitude, and skills to offer entry-level and culturally responsive care in collaboration with the older people and their families across the continuum of care and in multiple health care settings.

What do Geriatric Nurses Do?

Patient Care: The geriatric nurses are responsible for assisting patients with basic needs such as bathing, eating, and dressing. These nurses encourage patients to do as much as possible for themselves so that they can feel independent.

Geriatric nursing study in Canada also teaches students to organize and administer medications based on the carer plan. These nurses help patients exercise and administer therapies such as limb massages. They also plan, create, and manage healthcare plans.

Health Assessment: Gerontology nursing includes assisting physicians with physical examinations and assessing a patient’s mental health and cognitive abilities. It is also about recognizing a wide range of health problems such as incontinence, sleep patterns, etc.

Geriatric nurses monitor patients every day to ensure care plans that remain suitable to the patient’s needs. It is about recording relevant information and patient vitals in notes and database.

Patient Advocacy: Geriatric nursing in Canada is also focused on patient advocacy and patient care coordination. It involves other healthcare disciplines such as physical therapy as well.

The Gerontology nurses educate family members about a patient’s condition, healthcare best practices, disease prevention, etc. Nurses provide high-level end of life care and discuss a patient’s needs with families.

How to Become a Geriatric Nurse?

Earning a Nursing Degree: Completing an accredited nursing program is the primary step to becoming a geriatric nurse. Most positions of geriatric nursing in Canada require nursing students to complete a Bachelor’s of Science degree in nursing.

The course work usually includes physiology, ethics, family health, research, community-based healthcare, pharmaceuticals, etc. Once you gain a nursing degree, you can get prepared to work as an RN. The employers offer more opportunities to those with a BSN degree.

Becoming a Registered Nurse: After you complete your nursing degree, the next step is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Passing this exam is mandatory to practice as a registered nurse in Canada. It includes topics such as promoting and maintaining health, psychological and physiological integrity, safe and effective care environment, etc.

After you pass the NCLEX exam, you should be licensed by the provincial board of nursing to practice in Canada. The requirements differ from one province to another so you must check your provincial requirements.

Gaining Experience: It is highly preferred and required to gain hands-on experience as a nursing professional. This must be done before you start focusing on a speciality area such as Gerontology.

Many hospitals require two or more years of bedside nursing experience before practicing geriatric nursing in Canada.

Earning Certification: To gain a competitive edge, nurses must earn certification in Gerontology from accredited bodies. Usually, the prerequisites to earn certifications include having an RN license and being experienced.

One of the popular gerontology certificate options in Canada is the Canadian Nurses Association Gerontology Certification.  You must apply for this certificate if you wish to practice Gerontology nursing in Canada.

Salary and Employment Canadians

Prospects in Canada: over the age of 60 or more are growing in numbers. The healthcare needs of older people in Canada revolve around illness prevention, health promotion, and support in the self-management of chronic illnesses. Hence, there is an increasing need for Geriatric nurses in Canada.

The graduates of the gerontology-nursing program can find employment opportunities in a diverse range of settings. From working at community centres to retirement homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals, Gerontology graduates are needed in large numbers.

There are a number of positions in the social service organizations including senior program, supportive housing caseworker, community outreach worker, senior mental health assistant, family resource worker, etc. These are filled by Gerontology graduates.

The average salary of a Geriatric nurse in Canada is $79,570 per year or $40.81 per hour. The entry-level positions start at $66,300 per year and the experienced workers make up to $91,679 per year.

Scope of Geriatric Nursing in Canada:

Choosing to become a Geriatric nurse in Canada can be a rewarding nursing career. It allows the nurses to practice a wide range of skills that improve the health of older adults. Being a gerontology nurse in Canada, you can apply a mix of biological and psychological practices to the study of aging.

In addition, there are other opportunities for researching and enhancing policies intended to help the elderly get healthy. The skills needed as a gerontologist will be highly demanded in the future.


With the baby boomer population increasing in Canada, earning a nursing degree in Gerontology can be a great investment for a bright future. If you are an internationally educated nurse who is interested in Geriatrics then pursuing a registered nursing program in Canada is a good choice.

After the completion of your nursing education, you will have specialized knowledge and training in caring for the elderly. You will also be able to work with adults, promote wellness and enable good health.


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