UAH's College of Nursing Selected As a Member of the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence

National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing ExcellenceDo you realize that by the year 2030, there will be about 72 million older adults – those 65 and older- in the US? In Alabama, the number of older adults was close to 5 million in 2009. What does this mean? It means we need more gerontological nurses to care for this aging population.

To ensure that there are enough nurses to provide that care in Northern Alabama, The University Of Alabama in Huntsville College of Nursing (UAH CON) is excited about being selected as a member of the National Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE). Why is this important for the College of Nursing? The John A. Hartford Foundation has given millions of dollars to prepare educators, researchers, and practitioners in the field of gerontological nursing. In 2000, the Foundation partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to have centers of gerontological excellence to help schools enhance and grow gerontological leaders and researchers. Success in these schools of nursing is achieved with strong collaborations built by relationships, which are fostered with other gerontological nursing leaders and researchers from other centers.

The mission of the NHCGNE is "is to enhance and sustain the capacity and competency of nurses to provide quality care to older adults through faculty development, advancing gerontological nursing science, facilitating adoption of best practices, fostering leadership, and designing and shaping policy" (NHCGNE, 2014, para. 1). National resources are available to the nursing faculty at the College, as well as mentors and experienced gerontological nursing leaders, paving the way for us to build our research programs here at UAH and improve the lives and care for the elderly in our communities through gerontological education endeavors.

Part of our mission at the CON is to educate and inspire individuals to become nurse leaders who, in collaboration with the university and community, advocate for the best health care experiences of people and communities in a complex and evolving health care environment. The CON is committed to excellence through our teaching, scholarship, practice and service, which is evidenced by our curriculum and our faculty. The College is also committed to the practice of gerontology and geriatric nursing care.

The CON faculty realize this is a high international priority and have been collaborating with The Center for Aging in Huntsville, a community-based organization that is trying to fill the gap of providing evidence-based care for the elderly using an innovative and an interprofessional model of care. The Center for Aging is helping the elderly to decrease their risk of falls and improve their balance and activity levels with the use of balance classes taught in area churches. Faculty and researchers from the CON are working to establish interprofessional practice and research programs that are considered priorities and that align with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR), and other national agencies. The Center for Aging is instrumental in this work because of the population it serves.

The CON values this opportunity to partner with other NHCGNE centers to develop education and research relationships and resources to make us a strong gerontological nursing influence in the State of Alabama.

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National Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE)

Center for Aging