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