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Field Reviews

First-hand perspectives from Gero Prep alums.
Measurable results from a proven program.


 Glenn Van Ekeren, President, Vetter Health Services

RN reviews:
 Peggy Fairbanks, RN-BC — Elkhorn, Nebraska
 Maggie Spilker, RN-BC — Fairbury, Nebraska
 Roger Biens, RN-BC — Elkhorn, Nebraska
 Maureen Blaylock, RN-BC — Papillion, Nebraska
 Dottie Dorman, RN-BC — Lake City, Iowa
 Dan Smith, RN-BC — David City, Nebraska


Glenn Van Ekeren
Vetter Health Services
33 facilities in 5 states:
Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas,
Missouri, Wyoming


“Our passion is to continue to raise the bar on quality care and strive for excellence. That’s why — when the University of Nebraska Medical Center came to us — we jumped at the chance to participate.

By August 2011, 43 of our nurses had become board certified in gerontological nursing, and we intend to continue. This program is about excellence. In health care, in resident-staff relationships, in outstanding service. I recommend it highly. It’s A+.

Peggy Fairbanks, RN-BC
Director of Nursing Leadership Development
Vetter Health Services
33 facilities in 5 states
Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas,
Missouri, Wyoming


What a difference this course makes. For me personally, it really enhanced my confidence, knowledge and critical thinking skills. I feel much more equipped to deliver top-notch care, and that’s a rewarding feeling. Gerontological board certification is a badge of quality.

We sponsored this training for RNs across our facilities in the Midwest. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Our nurses say it’s boosted their self-esteem, their job satisfaction, their level of care for the elders they serve.

It’s so much learning — with so many resources — all focused on current best practices.  For our patients, it’s meant better quality care. At Vetter, we believe we owe it to our residents to become the best we can be. Earning certification is a big part of that continual process.”

Maggie Spilker, RN-BC
Vetter Health Services
Heritage Care Center
Fairbury, Nebraska


“I wanted to be certified for a very long time and I traveled for courses before this.  They never worked out. The online format of this course was a great opportunity for me. I totally believe this program has helped me in my own self-actualization.

The physicians look at me differently because I am board certified. They understand that verbiage because they are board certified too.  They respect that I worked to further my education.

My knowledge base has expanded and improved. Residents benefit every time you know more. If my team needs answers, I know where to look things up now.

This course has given my position validation. Staff look to the director of nursing for answers on health care issues and my knowledge and credentials add validity to what I know.

If nurses want certification in Gerontological Nursing, this is a wonderful way to prepare for the exam!

Roger Biens, RN-BC
Vetter Health Services
Brookstone Meadows
Elkhorn, Nebraska


 “I thought about certification for many years. The online format made it possible. Becoming board certified has definitely added to my credibility as a professional. Since taking the class, I’ve been promoted — now I’m facility administrator.

There are a lot of course resources available that most practicing nurses probably aren’t aware of — resources that we may not have accessed otherwise as far as fall prevention and intervention. Those resources made a big difference.

It’s nice to be able to tell prospective residents and families that there are 8 RNs in the facility that are now board certified. It enhances our reputation that we have gero-certified RNs on staff.

There’s been an increase in camaraderie among the RNs that have been through the program. Certified RNs have been resources for the nurses that haven’t been through the training yet. There’s more collaboration with things like quality assurance.

The course format is so convenient that really anybody should be able to make time to do it. The commitment required wasn’t overwhelming. The course left me well prepared for the certification exam.”

Maureen Blaylock, RN-BC
Vetter Health Services
Papillion Manor
Papillion, Nebraska


“It gave me more knowledge on the gerontology population. It was a boost to my confidence to do an online class. It’s also nice to be able to say that I’m board certified.”

My facility can now tell people they have a board-certified RN as the director of nursing.

I’m honored that I was able to take the class. It was easy to navigate and really helped me get ready for the exam. I’m pleased that I did pass boards, and I’m glad that I now have more knowledge.”



Dottie Dorman, RN-BC
Vetter Health Services
Shady Oaks Care Center
Lake City, Iowa


“For me personally, I feel more confident. I’m 35 years old and the director of nursing.  I direct people much older than me, and I feel more confident and qualified now. I know how to get people the answers if I do not know them.

I didn’t realize how much medications can affect the elderly, particularly the adverse reactions. Now, in our risk meetings and when investigating unusual occurrences, we think much more about meds. 

Medications are really being looked at now in our facility and connected to adverse effects such as falls. Our risk management team now looks much more carefully. The leadership team discusses medications and their effects much more. Medications are being DC’d more often and we are now seeing fewer falls.

Dementia is another area where I broadened my horizon.  Now, when assessing patients’ behavior changes, I’m much more likely to consider the possibility of dementia.

As director of nursing I do monthly education sessions with the nurses and CNAs here. I’m much more thorough about preparing for the presentations and I don’t rush to answer now.

We can tell our patients and their families, as well as those who are looking for a facility for someone, that this facility has a nurse who is a specialist in geriatrics. This facility is trying to be world class and this will help us to achieve that. This is a wonderful opportunity for the facility. If you have a heart problem, you go to a heart specialist, and if you need a long-term care facility, you should find one with a specialist in geriatrics.

Dan Smith, RN-BC
Vetter Health Services
David Place
David City, Nebraska


“The main thing the course did was to give me self-confidence in my specialty, geriatric nursing. With the growing number of aging baby boomers, we really need more geriatric nurses.

It’s helped me to better know the disease processes of the elderly. I’m more in tune with those processes and try to collaborate with the doctor to find a solution.

There’s a bond with the other three nurses in my facility who completed the course.
Board-certified geriatric nurses on staff are a benefit as far as marketing and promotion of the facility.

It’s a good program. Receiving acknowledgment and knowing there is a need for advanced knowledge in the field of geriatrics is a good thing. I appreciate the opportunity. I’m not sure I would have gotten certified without it.”



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