Maria Stories

Christal Saffee, Associate Professor completes Gerontologist Specialist Certificate (GS-C)

Christal Saffee, Associate Professor at Maria College in the RN-BS Degree in Nursing Completion Program, completed her Gerontologist Specialist Certificate (GS-C) in October 2019. This specialty certification distinguishes Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who possess expert knowledge, experience, and skill in managing the complex health needs of older adults. She was inspired to get her GS-C after reading a Wall Street Journal article stating that in the year 2035 adults over 65 will out-number children. (Overberg, 2018) With an aging population of baby boomers, Christal recognized the growing need in her role as a nurse practitioner (NP) to get additional training to care for elderly patients in their homes.

“You can tell when you enter someone’s house if they are able to care for themselves,” Christal said “You have to be realistic and adaptable to find treatment options that fit within the parameters of the patient’s lifestyle. You assess what they are capable of—simple things such as opening a medicine jar or remembering to take their medication daily might not be possible.”

Christal shared, “The information that I have learned from this training has definitely carried over into the classroom. I give my students examples of how treating this population is very different. For example, elderly patients aren’t typically taken as seriously as they should be. Their problems are often very complex, they are sicker, and you have to consider various medication interactions.”

Maria College’s RN-BS Degree in Nursing Completion program faculty are able to bring clinically relevant topics into the classroom – helping shape future nurse leaders in areas that are rising in importance. Through their scholarship and work they are helping students raise the level of critical thinking to improve their nursing practice. “Maria College is a great place to come to complete your Bachelor’s in Nursing,” Christal said “The staff are very diverse—we have an ER nurse, a renal/ kidney specialist, a surgical nurse, and also someone with a background in pharmacy. There is diverse talent and clinical experience, not only among the faculty but also within the student population. We also have a low student to instructor ratio which allows us to really get to know students, their individual learning styles, in order to adapt our teaching methods to help them learn. We advocate for them, inside the classroom and out, whether it is helping them navigate the services available to them at Maria or even financial assistance. Maria is a great community to be a part of.”

Christal Saffee DNP, MSN, RN, FNP-C,GS-C
Associate Professor
RN to BS Degree in Nursing Completion Program


Overberg, P., Adamy, J. (2018, March 13). Elderly in U.S. Are Projected to Outnumber Children for First Time. Wall Street Journal,