All in a Day's Work: Marilyn Meierhofer, a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

  • Article by: Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: November 25, 2009 - 11:19 AM

Marilyn Meierhofer, a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner with HealthEast Medical Care for seniors, talks about her job.

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Photo: Photo by: Tom Witta,

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Q: What's a typical workday like for you?

I'm on call every day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., every third weekend and one or two nights a week. In between fielding calls, I care for approximately seven to 10 patients per day, visiting nine nursing homes at least once a week and as needed for acute visits. My patients, for the most part, can be very complicated cases because of the large variety of diagnoses, which may include psychiatric issues.

Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?

By seeing patients at the nursing home when they're ill or just on a monthly visit, it prevents a lot of hospitalizations and helps contain the cost of healthcare.

Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?

At the nursing homes, I interact with patients; families; nursing staff, including the nurse manager; social workers; dietary staff; physical and occupational therapists and pharmacists. I also interact with clinic office staff, the patients' primary physicians as needed, emergency department charge nurses and the staff of specialty clinics, including wound, podiatry and cardiology clinics.

Q: Why did you become a geriatric nurse practitioner?

I became a nurse practitioner because of my love for geriatrics. I was just about raised by my grandmother. I absolutely loved her and have always had a general love for the elderly.

Q: What do you like about your work?

I love my patients, the variety of nurses I work with and having a large number of nursing homes to visit, because there are so many people I can meet and interact with. I also like the flexibility of my job and the doctors I work with, who are easily accessible and wonderful to work with.

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