Geriatrics & Palliative Medicine

Jennie Sealy Hospital dusk


Nursing on ACE offers a unique opportunity to help the older adult population. We are a 16 bed nursing unit devoted to care of the age 70 and over Thinking about Geriatric Nursing? Consider ACE.medical and surgical acute inpatient population. The ACE conceptincludes a specialized physical environment, a strong interdisciplinary team and a focus on preventing iatrogenic complications, maintaining physical function, and ensuring a safe discharge for our patients.

Staffing Ratios:

Our managers try to maintain a 4-1 ratio of patient to RNs.

RN Roles
Our RNs are major players in our interdisciplinary team. They are responsible for the day to day and minute to minute nursing care of our patients, as on the usual hospital unit. They are also, however, active in our daily interdisciplinary team rounds, and play a large role in discharge planning for our patients.

The RNs are supported by Patient Care Technicians. PCTs usually have a 10 - 1 ratio of PCT to patients. PCTs perform tasks such as vital signs, FSBGs, and personal care for our patients.

Many of our ACE RNs are ANCC certified in gerontological nursing. Several nurses have a 2nd certification in a related area such as medical surgical nursing, Hospice or Palliative care.

The Interdisciplinary Team
The core team on ACE consists of nursing, physical therapists, occupational therapists, a dietitation, and care managers. Speech and language pathologists, respiratory therapists, and others are available as consultants.             

Nurse Manager
Donna M. Britton, MSN, RN, CVRN I-BC

409-266-9358 (office)

Feel free to contact Donna for information about ACE employee opportunities.

Ace accepts patients 70 years of age and older. We have medical as well as surgical patients. Common diagnoses include pulmonary (COPD, pneumonia, asthma), cardiac (arrhythmia monitoring/telemenry, chest pain, heart failure), cognitive impairment (dementia, delirium), infection (urinary tract, line infections, sepsis), renal (ESRD, pre-renal), as well as orthopedic surgery (hip fracture, post operative hip fracture, total hip replacement, total knee replacement, amputation), vascular surgery (femoral popliteal bypass, amputation), and general surgery (pancreatic cysts, colectomy). Common procedures include those found on any medical surgical unit, such as IVs, central lines, wound care, suctioning and tube feeding.  

 Our patients are acutely ill, yet we promote maintenance of function, self care activities and social interaction. All patients who can are assisted to be out of bed. We like patients to spend time in our living room, interacting with each other and with our therapists. We have a fish tank and a dog on the unit. We try to get tubes out or off as soon as possible...including oxygen, IVs, foley catheters, and telemetry... to assist with promoting out of bed activity. Nutrition is important, as is prevention of constipation and early intervention with acute onset of confusion.    

ACE is a NICHE site. NICHE stands for Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders, a program that promotes evidence based nursing care of the older adult. Thus, we use NICHE based protocols to ensure that our patients receive an acceptable level of care. We try to send staff to the annual NICHE conference in New York. We share information with other NICHE sites, so that we can problem solve with other nurses around the country. And we keep up to date on the NICHE listserve.

ACE Involvement at UTMB

ACE nurses are involved in may ways at UTMB. At the unit level, we actively participate in both the ACE nursing shared governance as well as the interdisciplinary share governance groups. We also participate in unit based, interdisciplinary continuous process improvement. ACE Nurses have representatives at the Medical-Surgical Department Sharee Governance meeting. ACE is also represented on the Nursing Quality Council, the Practice Council and the Workplace Council. ACE nurses have represented us on the acuity task force, the skin care Resource tem, and the pain team.

Nursing Education

There are many opportunities for updating your education at UTMB. Specifically, on ACE, we offer ongoing nursing inservices and self study guides. Nurses are welcome to attend the Geriatric Physician Grand Rounds, the Fellows Grand Rounds, and other medical inservices. UTMB also offers periodic nursing continuing education activities, such as the Bridging the Gap between Research and Bedside series. We try to support nurses in attending geriatric-specific conferences, such as the National Gerontological Nurses Association annual conference. UTMB also offers a work-school program, assisting nurses to advance to BSN, MSN and PhD degrees.

School of Nursing 

Professional Memberships

Membership in a geriatric-specific professional organization is highly encouraged for ACE nurses. Some options include the American Geriatric Society and the Gerontological Society of America. More information about these organizations is available on their websites.



 The ACE unit stresses the provision of expert, geriatric-specific care. Our nurses can learn how to deliver this care in a number of ways. This section contains educational resources, references, and self study modules for your education.

Geriatric Websites:
There are a number of excellent websites for geriatric nursing education. Here are a few:

Geriatric Nursing Websites:
The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing This site contains many resources for the practicing nurse. Be sure to check out the online gerontological nursing review course, the TRY THIS series of assessment guidelines, Clinical Vignette-Geriatric Syndromes - Falls and Nutrition/Fluids, and the NICHE website.

ConsultGeri This is the geriatric clinical nursing website of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. New York University College of Nursing. is an evidence-based online resource for nurses in clinical and educational settings.

School of Nursing The aim of this online program is to educate nurses about common health problems faced by older adults and to improve the leadership skills of nurses working in geriatrics. Additionally, educational efforts target issues of health disparities faced by older populations including those in medically underserved areas, older minorities, elderly in rural communities, and nursing home residents. All modules are offered free of charge and there is not registration! Continuing Education Units are available for each module. Modules are completely web-based.