Nursing faculty, students learn about changes in aging

It was a full house at the Dee J. Kelly Alumni and Visitors Center, where nursing faculty and students came to hear about the growth of gerontological nursing and advancing health in the older adult.

According to speaker Dr. Melissa Aselage, gerontology is the study of the older adult and the process of aging.

Aselage said the baby boomers are going to change the way we think about aging. One of the biggest changes that happened over the past thirty years is how elderly are healthier and more active.

Diane Hawley, assistant professor of professional practice, heard Dr. Aselage speak at a conference in Philadelphia and asked her to come speak to the students and faculty at TCU about the future of gerontology.

“As I tell my students, we are all going to be gerontology nurses because of our demographics,”  Aselage said.

Junior nursing major Jessie Kemper agreed and said that every part of nursing will have to deal with the elderly at some point because they are the fastest growing population today.

“The fastest growing age group is 65 and older because of the baby boomers and everyone is living healthier and longer,” Kemper said.

Aselage graduated from University of North Carolina- Wilmington with her BSN and MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner specialist. After graduating she spent nearly seven years as a full-time lecturer at UNCW and is currently a faculty member at Duke University College of Nursing.

Aselage is also involved with the American the Association of Colleges of Nursing as well as the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. Aselage has developed a series of nine modules in the format of a podcast to educate others about gerontological nursing.

These podcasts are found online and have been accessed more than 2,700 times and has been used by individuals from sixteen different countries.

The nursing symposium was sponsored by Baylor Health Care System, TCU Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences as well as Sigma Theta Tau International.