Posted March 19, 2015 by

How a Gerontology Degree Can Help You in Medical School

Social aid for elderly person

Social aid for elderly person. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The Population is Aging Rapidly

Students graduating from medical school today are going to work with more elderly individuals than physicians did in the past. With the baby boomer generation aging rapidly, there are more senior citizens requiring treatments for conditions that affect the mind and body of elderly individuals. Many jobs in medical facilities will involve working with senior citizens requiring specialized medical care. There are good reasons to plan ahead by earning a degree that teaches about the elderly population to help someone succeed in medical school.

One: Earn an Online Master’s Degree in Gerontology

Getting an online masters in gerontology is the specialized study of aging with a focus on elderly individuals. This is an easy area of study with an online program rather than a brick-and-mortar college because students can gain practical experience at nearby senior citizen centers or assisted living centers. For an individual working a full-time job, learning online provides fast access to educational coursework and lectures to learn about the social, biological and psychological aspects of aging.

Two: Understanding How to Communicate with Senior Citizens

Many young medical students have never communicated with senior citizens, but someone with a degree in gerontology before entering medical school has practical training in nursing homes and senior centers. While other students may struggle talking to or examining elderly patients, someone with a gerontology degree feels comfortable and at ease. A senior citizen requires a different type of examination and treatment plan than a child or young adult due to multiple health problems involving the mind and body.

Three: A Gerontology Degree makes it Easier to Find a Job

After graduating from medical school and completing a residency, a new physician begins to look for a job in a competitive market. More medical facilities are seeking physicians who have extensive knowledge of the elderly population’s health care requirements. With the increase in the elderly population, more residential programs to treat dementia conditions such as Parkinson’s disease are opening. A physician with a degree in gerontology in addition to a medical degree has a better chance of finding a job.

The Focus of Health Care is Changing

In the past, the focus of medical care in the United States and other geographic locations was centered primarily on children. By 2050, the elderly population will outnumber children drastically, leading to medical professionals needing to refocus the priorities of health care worldwide. Students attending and graduating from medical schools today want to prepare for the future by having the knowledge needed to care for this large portion of the population.

My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball.

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