On January 1, 2011, the first “Baby Boomer” turned 65. Every day, for the next nineteen years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65. In addition, life expectancy is projected to increase from 77.2 years in 2005 to 81.3 years in 2050. By 2030, the number of Americans aged 65 and older will more than double from 34.8 million in 2000 (12 % of the population) to approximately 71 million older Americans (roughly 20 % of the U.S. population).
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, stated that “the nation is not prepared to meet the social and health care needs of this population.” The IOM called for “fundamental reform” in the educational preparation and training of all health care professionals to ensure the geriatric competence of the general workforce and to increase the recruitment and retention of geriatric specialists. In order to address the complex health needs of this burgeoning population of older adults, increased numbers of nurses who have both basic and advanced preparation in gerontological nursing are needed.
A rate-limiting factor in our ability to prepare the nurses needed to address the needs of a rapidly aging population is the number of gerontological nursing faculty. It is critical to increase the number of expert geriatric nurses in faculty positions to provide geriatric education to nurses; to role model enthusiasm for geriatric nursing practice in order to attract students into the field; and to advance our research in gerontological nursing to improve the health and health care of older adults.At OHSU, we are committed to increasing the number of doctorally-prepared faculty who focus on the care of older adults. We have a depth of faculty who are passionate about improving the health and healthcare for older adults through innovative educational programs, progressive clinical partnerships and cutting edge research. We have been fortunate to receive grant funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation, the Hearst Family Foundations, and the Oregon Community Foundation to support both graduate and undergraduate students in Gerontological Nursing.