The Catholic University of America

Dec. 13, 2012

Program Fosters Geriatric Health Care Team

  Selway Grant

Nursing, social work, and psychology faculty at a reception celebrating the launch of a new post-graduate certificate program.

Starting in spring 2013, Catholic University’s School of Nursing will offer a post-graduate certificate program, which addresses the growing health care demands of the geriatric population using a team approach that includes faculty from the fields of nursing, social work, and psychology.

The Technology-Enhanced Interprofessional Geriatric Advanced Nursing Education Program will include both classroom and online instruction. The team approach to caring for senior citizens “will ensure the safest, high-quality care to meet patients’ needs,” said Janet Selway, assistant professor of nursing and director of the school’s Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program.

The program is funded by an $800,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The program features three courses that are open to all health care professionals. In addition, the courses will prepare family and adult nurse practitioners to take the new national certification exam for adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program.

Selway noted that the new CUA program aligns with current national recommendations for existing, separate nurse practitioner programs in gerontology and adult primary care. Those programs will transition to adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner programs by next year in order to meet the health care requirements of the growing number of older people in the United States.

Presently, just three percent of the approximately 150,000 U.S. nurse practitioners are certified as gerontology nurse practitioners, Selway noted.

The first course, Interprofessional Approaches to Geriatric Care, will be available in the spring to both distance education and traditional classroom students. Next summer, the nursing school will offer two additional courses — Non-Pharmacologic Approaches to Common Geriatric Behavioral Problems and Geriatric Pharmacology — that are expected to be available to these groups of students as well.

“Health care providers who know how to work collaboratively are essential in this field,” Selway noted earlier this semester at a reception in Curley Hall to celebrate the launch of the program. Selway collaborated with Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc, assistant dean and associate professor of social work, and James Howard, Wylma R. and James R. Curtin Professor of Psychology and director of the CUA Cognitive Aging Lab, to develop the program.

At the reception, BrintzenhofeSzoc said, “In our work with older adults, our objectives are very similar to those of this program. We want to make sure that nurses, social workers, and psychologists are all in the same room together.”

Noting the presence of psychology department faculty members at the reception, nursing Dean Patricia McMullen said, “It’s great to see our clinical psychologists here. I can’t say enough about them as partners. They bring a breadth of knowledge and experience that greatly enhances the program.”

For more information about the program, contact Selway at



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