Job Description


A geriatrician is a health care provider who focuses on patient well-being and independent functioning. These allopathic or osteopathic health care providers are specifically trained to evaluate and manage the unique health care needs and special treatment requirements of older people.

Older adults face a variety of acute and chronic health conditions. These combine to make providing medical care for seniors a challenging undertaking.

Of adults age 65 or older, more than half have three or more medical problems; among these may be heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and/or Alzheimer’s disease.

Most geriatricians are physicians who first become certified in family or internal medicine, then pursue additional training in treating the special health needs found in older patients.

This additional training allows them to become board certified in geriatric medicine.




Maintenance of patient well-being and independent functioning is the focus of geriatricians. These physicians diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries that commonly occur with the aging process.

They may refer patients to other specialists if they suspect serious health problems, such as cancer or neurological problems.

The geriatrician will work with other members of the interdisciplinary teams to coordinate care. Geriatricians also work with other health care professionals who specialize in providing care for older adults. These include geriatric nurses and pharmacists, mental health professionals, physical and occupational therapists.

Geriatricians closely monitor their patients’ drug regimens. Because many older people take a number of different pills every day, geriatricians watch for the side effects of prescription medications and are aware of potential drug interactions.

Geriatricians are responsible for weighing the potential benefit of a treatment against the possible risks to the patient.

Geriatricians are expected to focus closely on their patients’ physical, mental and emotional functioning.

They are often the ones tasked with informing a patient that he or she should consider giving up activities such as driving, or to suggest a patient consider transitioning to a supportive living facility.

Geriatricians are often the first to broach the subject of advance care planning with patients and families, including discussions about long-term care alternatives, hospice care, etc.





Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.


Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 


Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.


Working Conditions


Geriatricians can find employment in a variety of locales, such as private practices, group practices, long-term care facilities, post-acute care facilities and hospitals.

They are faced with the same challenges that all physicians confront, including a lack of resources and the need for better strategies for building effective relationships with patients and families.

Geriatricians must also be prepared emotionally to handle the varied manifestations found in an older population, such as physical and mental decline, followed by death.

Geriatricians are enjoying new treatment tools in an employment field that is filled with a growing need and rewarding opportunities. Treatment options are improving through ongoing research.

Geriatricians are now able to treat illnesses and injuries that commonly affect older people, and advances in medical technology are allowing for treatments of injuries and illnesses in new ways.

For example, laparoscopic surgery techniques now make a wide range of surgical procedures available to older patients that were previously considered too risky. 



Salary Outlook