Improving Rural Geriatric Care Through Education: A Scalable, Collaborative Project

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Rural elders are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, with a projected increase of 32% in the next 20 years. Shortages in geriatric-prepared workers are particularly critical in rural areas. This article describes Improving Rural Geriatric Care through Education (iRuGCE), a feasible, scalable, and collaborative continuing education project. iRuGCE was designed to improve geriatric nursing practice. Project goals were to identify, mentor, and facilitate an RN geriatric site champion in critical access hospitals (CAHs) to complete national certification in gerontological nursing, and to design a continuing education program that met the specific needs of the CAHs via delivery of three continuing education sessions per year. Evaluation of the project is promising. Preliminary results suggest that iRuGCE has a positive effect on nurse-sensitive patient satisfaction scores, such as communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, communication about medicine, discharge information, and willingness to recommend the hospital.

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Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, v. 47, issue 7, p. 306-313