UNCG’s School of Nursing continues to win recognition for its geriatric nursing curriculum.

The School of Nursing is among six schools of nursing nationwide chosen by the National League for Nursing (NLN) to receive 2013 Hearst Foundations Excellence in Geriatric Education Awards.

“The commitment of all nursing faculty to the development of nursing students’ competencies in working with older adults is the primary factor in sustaining the geriatric content in our curriculum and our culture,” says Beth Barba, who directs the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project run by the School of Nursing with support from the Greensboro Area Health Education Center. “We believe that because the faculty, students and the community have a sense of pride and ownership of the geriatric curriculum integration, then geriatric sustainability is more viable.”

Faculty from the School of Nursing will accept the award in September during the NLN Education Summit in Washington, D.C. They will present their innovative approaches to teaching geriatrics at a pre-summit workshop.

The School of Nursing’s geriatric curriculum has won three prior awards since 1999, all from the John D. Hartford Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

As part of an intensive focus on teaching care of older adults, NLN is recognizing schools of nursing that demonstrate exceptional instruction and innovation in this key area of nursing education. The inaugural award for Excellence in Geriatric Education is the first step in a multi-year competitive awards program; a dozen schools of nursing will be selected for this prestigious honor between 2012 and 2015.

The awards program is a component of the Hearst Foundation’s $400,000 grant to the League — renewable for three years, up to $1.2 million — to expand Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors (ACES). This web-based program for geriatric care education was developed with Community College of Philadelphia with the support of the John A. Hartford Foundation, Independence Foundation of Philadelphia, and Laerdal Medical.

To be considered for the Excellence in Geriatric Education Awards, nursing faculty had to complete an ACES workshop and integrate those ideas into the school’s curriculum. Connie Rankin, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Nursing, completed the ACES training and took the lead in implementing the ACES guidelines at UNCG.

Demand for geriatric nurses is accelerating along with the nation’s changing demographics. With baby boomers approaching their retirement years, the number of Americans age 55 and older will soar from 60 million (21 percent of the population) to more than 107 million (31 percent) by 2030, according to the National Council on Aging in Washington, D.C.

In North Carolina alone, according to statistics from the N.C. Institute on Aging:

  • The number of persons aged 65+ increased 25.7 percent between 2000 and 2010, to 12.9 percent  of the state’s total population.

  • Between 2010 and 2030, the state’s  65+ population is projected to increase by over 400,000 persons per decade, reaching 2.14 million, or about 18 percent of the state total, by 2030.

  • The median age is projected to increase from 36.9 years in 2009 to 37.8 years in 2030.

  • The North Carolina metropolitan areas of Raleigh-Cary and Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord were #1 and #10, respectively, in national rankings for fastest growth in the 65+ population between 2000 and 2010.

  • Between 2000 and 2010, North Carolina’s very old (85+) population increased by nearly 40 percent.

  • From 2010 to 2030, the proportion of the very old (85+) will remain between 11 percent and 13 percent  of the elderly  population.

  • Age cohorts from 0-44 years are expected to decline in their proportions of the state total.