2022 Spring GAPNA Newsletter Volume 41 Number 1

Is It Time for a Certification for APRN GeroPsychiatric Practice?

By George Peraza-Smith

As providers in gerontology, we see the substantial growing number of older adults seeking healthcare services, especially psychiatric mental health services. The percentage of older adults to the general population is increasing. More older adults are living with multiple chronic conditions for longer periods of time.

The pandemic has laid bare the lack of mental healthcare providers to service the needs of older adults with psychiatric conditions. The alarming geriatrician shortage continues to trend downward.

This trend has especially impacted the mental health services for older adults.

The workforce capacity related to geropsychiatry services are elusive due to a lack of recognized credentials in this specialty. Fewer geriatricians has led to a dearth of geriatricians with psychiatric mental health expertise.

There is currently no recognized APRN geropsychiatry certification. In 2019, GAPNA published the “GAPNA Geropsychiatric Nursing Position Statement” to support the subspecialty of advanced practice geropsychiatric nursing. The position statement called for the recognition of geropsychiatric nursing as a subspecialty for advanced practice registered nurses.

A recommendation from the position statement included ways to advance the recognition of geropsychiatric APRNs in which national certification was listed as a potential avenue.

George Peraza-Smith, DNP, GNP-BC, AGNP-C, GS-C, FAANP
Member, Geropsych SIG
President, Gerontology Nursing Certification Commission