Nursing (NURS) 442

Gerontological Nursing (Revision 7)

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: NURS 328; ENGL junior/senior (ENGL 255 recommended). Available only to Bachelor of Nursing students or with professor approval.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies

NURS 442 is not available for Challenge.

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**Note: Follow directions on the [Undergraduate Course Registration] form to register in the course. Online course materials cannot be accessed prior to your course contract start date.


Nursing 442: Gerontological Nursing provides an opportunity to explore the challenges of aging through the lens of transitions. Within the course, we examine how aging adults respond to transitions such as health challenges, changes in living environments, existential issues, family issues, and dying and death. While physical health issues are addressed, the major emphasis lies in how older adults understand and process transitions in older years and how nurses can facilitate the process for their patients or clients and family members. We also examine the challenges faced by emerging sub-populations of aging adults, such as those with developmental disabilities, the incarcerated, the homeless, as well as those with HIV/AIDS.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of NURS 442, the student will achieve or exceed the following learning outcomes:

  • Identify the unique challenges faced by older adults, including those found within emerging sub-populations;
  • Understand why transitions can be more difficult for aging adults than their younger counterparts;
  • Explore the importance of families for older adults experiencing transitions and recognize why relationships can be stressed during transitions;
  • Identify nursing interventions related to a variety of health challenges and transitions experienced by older adults

Course Structure

  • Unit 1: Nursing in an Aging Society
  • Unit 2: Physiological Changes in Aging
  • Unit 3: Health Challenges: Living with Chronic Illness
  • Unit 4: Mental Disorders
  • Unit 5: Medication and the Older Adult
  • Unit 6: Sub-populations
  • Unit 7: Housing
  • Unit 8: Dying and Death
  • Unit 9: Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Unit 10: Aging Families


To receive credit for NURS 442, you must complete and submit all of the required assignments and achieve a composite grade of C (64 percent). All papers submitted must follow the guidelines of the current APA Publication Manual.

The assignments and weightings of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment Weighting
Assignment 1: 40 Question Quiz 15%
Assignment 2: Two Postings 20%
Assignment 3: Transitions and Aging 30%
Assignment 4: Sub-populations within a Population 35%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Lane, A., & Reed, M.B.  (2019). Older adults: Understanding & facilitating transitions (3rd ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other materials

A variety of electronic journal articles and websites are used in the course and paper copies are not included in the course package.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 7, October 4, 2016.

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