A Geriatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in the care of older adults. As people age, they often face unique health challenges that require specialized care. Geriatricians are trained to understand and address these challenges and to provide comprehensive care for older patients.
In this article, we will explore what a geriatrician does, including the specific duties of this medical specialty, the training and qualifications required to become a geriatrician, and the importance of geriatric care for seniors.
Geriatrician Duties and Responsibilities
Some of the duties and responsibilities of a geriatrician include the following:
- Providing primary care for older patients, including preventive care and management of chronic conditions.
- Assessing and addressing the physical, mental, and social needs of older patients.
- Coordinating care with other healthcare professionals, such as specialists, nurses, and therapists.
- Conducting physical exams and ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests.
- Prescribing medication and other treatments as needed.
- Educating patients and their families about healthy aging and self-management of chronic conditions.
- Providing support and guidance to help older patients maintain their independence and quality of life.
- Assessing and addressing issues related to end-of-life care and advance care planning.
- Serving as a resource for patients, families, and other healthcare professionals on issues related to geriatric care.
Geriatrician Job Requirements
The job requirements for a geriatrician include the following:
- Completing a bachelor’s degree and medical school.
- Obtaining a medical license to practice medicine in the state where they will be working.
- Completing a three-year residency program in internal medicine or family medicine, followed by a fellowship in geriatric medicine.
- Passing certification exams to become board certified in geriatric medicine.
- Keeping up to date with developments in geriatric medicine through continuing medical education.
- Possessing excellent communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.
- Being able to work independently as well as part of a healthcare team.
- Having strong attention to detail and the ability to manage a large caseload.
- Being able to handle physical demands, including standing for long periods of time and performing physical exams.
Some of the required job skills for a geriatrician position include the following:
- Strong medical knowledge and expertise in the field of geriatric medicine.
- Good communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to establish trust and rapport with older patients and their families.
- Ability to work as part of a healthcare team and coordinate care with other professionals.
- Ability to assess and address the physical, mental, and social needs of older patients.
- Ability to prescribe and manage medication regimens for older patients with chronic conditions.
- Ability to conduct physical exams and order and interpret diagnostic tests.
- Good problem-solving and decision-making skills.
- Strong attention to detail and the ability to manage a large caseload.
- Ability to handle physical demands, including standing for long periods of time and performing physical exams.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for a physician (which includes geriatricians) is $220,380. However, the specific salary for a geriatrician can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s level of experience, location, and employer.
As for job outlook, the BLS projects that the employment of physicians, including geriatricians, will grow by 4% from 2020 to 2030, which is about average for all occupations. The aging of the population is expected to lead to an increased demand for healthcare services, including those provided by geriatricians. However, the growth of the geriatrician workforce may be limited by the number of medical students choosing to specialize in this field.
Geriatrician Work Environment
The work environment of a geriatrician can vary depending on the specific setting in which they work. Some geriatricians may work in hospitals, clinics, or private practice offices, while others may work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or patients’ homes.
In general, geriatricians may work long and irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. They may also be on call to respond to patient needs outside of regular business hours. Geriatricians may work with a team of healthcare professionals, such as nurses, social workers, and therapists, to provide comprehensive care for their patients.
Geriatricians may spend a significant amount of time on their feet, performing physical exams and other tasks. They may also be required to lift or move patients or to use medical equipment such as stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs.
Some of the latest trends in geriatric medicine include:
- Increased focus on preventative care: Geriatricians are increasingly focusing on preventative care and helping older patients maintain their independence and quality of life. This may involve providing guidance on healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercise and nutrition, and identifying and managing chronic conditions before they become more serious.
- Greater use of technology: Geriatricians are using technology, such as electronic health records (EHRs) and telemedicine, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of care. Telemedicine, in particular, has become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it allows geriatricians to remotely monitor and care for their patients.
- Increased emphasis on social and behavioral factors: Geriatricians recognize the importance of social and behavioral factors in the health of older adults. This may involve addressing issues such as social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline.
- Greater focus on end-of-life care: Geriatricians are playing a more central role in end-of-life care and advance care planning, helping patients and their families make informed decisions about their care.
- More interdisciplinary care: Geriatricians are increasingly working with a team of healthcare professionals, such as nurses, social workers, and therapists, to provide comprehensive care for their patients.
How to Become a Geriatrician
To become a geriatrician, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree: The first step to becoming a geriatrician is to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While there is no specific major required for medical school, it is advisable to take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math to prepare for the rigors of medical school.
- Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): After completing your undergraduate degree, you will need to take the MCAT, a standardized test that assesses your knowledge of the physical and biological sciences, as well as your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Attend medical school: After being accepted to medical school, you will complete a four-year program to earn your Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.
- Complete a residency program: After medical school, you will need to complete a three-year residency program in internal medicine or family medicine. This will provide you with the foundation you need to specialize in geriatric medicine.
- Complete a fellowship in geriatric medicine: After completing your residency, you can apply for a fellowship in geriatric medicine, which typically lasts one to two years. This will provide you with advanced training in the care of older adults.
- Become board certified: To become a board-certified geriatrician, you will need to pass certification exams offered by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) or the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine (AOBIM).
Geriatrician Advancement Prospects
Geriatricians are physicians who specialize in the care of older adults. As the population ages and the demand for healthcare services increases, the demand for geriatricians is likely to continue to grow.
There are many advancement opportunities for geriatricians. They may choose to pursue leadership roles within their organizations, such as becoming medical directors of geriatric care units or heading up research teams. Geriatricians may also choose to specialize in a particular area of geriatric care, such as geriatric mental health or geriatric palliative care.
In addition to advancement within their organizations, geriatricians may also choose to advance their careers through continuing education and professional development. This may include pursuing additional certifications or training in areas such as geriatric pharmacology or geriatric rehabilitation.
Overall, the advancement prospects for geriatricians are likely to be good as the demand for their services continues to increase.
Geriatrician Job Description Example
Here is an example job description for a Geriatrician driver position:
Job Title: Geriatrician
We are seeking a highly skilled and compassionate Geriatrician to join our team at XYZ Medical Center. In this role, you will be responsible for providing high-quality medical care to older adults, with a focus on the prevention, management, and treatment of age-related diseases and conditions. You will work closely with a team of healthcare professionals to develop and implement personalized treatment plans for your patients, and will play a key role in coordinating their care across different settings.
- Provide medical care to older adults in both inpatient and outpatient settings
- Assess and manage acute and chronic conditions, including age-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and dementia
- Develop and implement personalized treatment plans for your patients
- Coordinate care across different settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and patient’s homes
- Educate patients and families about healthy aging and self-management of chronic conditions
- Participate in research and quality improvement initiatives to advance the field of geriatric medicine
- Medical degree from an accredited institution
- Board certification in Geriatric Medicine
- Valid state medical license
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to work effectively in a team environment
We offer a competitive salary and benefits package, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. This is an exciting opportunity to join a dynamic and growing team at XYZ Medical Center, where you can make a positive impact on the lives of older adults.