At any given time, more than half of the patients in the hospital are older adults who health care professionals describe as some of the most complex patients to care for.

"Even when there's healthy aging, there's a decline," said Dr. Karen Rose, a professor in UT College of Nursing.

Dr. Rose points to the fact that many older adults have multiple diseases and are on five or more medications. The complications that come with caring for older adults are only going to increase as baby boomers head into the golden years.

MORE: Aging Baby Boomers: The numbers, the cost and the help available

"We're an aging society. The year 2030 is when there will be more people age 60 and over than there will be children 10 and younger. And that's the first time in the history of the world we've had that," Dr. Rose said.

At UT College of Nursing, the curriculum requires all of their future nurses to focus hours of classes and clinical training with older adults.

Dr. Rose recruits students to specialize in geriatrics, where she dedicates her research.

MORE: Aging Baby Boomers: Affordable housing crisis

MORE: Aging Baby Boomers: Saving up for the cost of care

"There really is a critical need to be bringing more people into this workforce. Because we're not meeting the demands now and we surely aren't going to as truly our workforce ages. There isn't that pipeline to continue," she said.

Dr. Rose explained the problem isn't a supply of students who want to be nurses. Rather, there are not enough qualified professors to train them. UT College of Nursing turns away students.

Susan Blaine hopes to help with that shortage by working toward her PhD with the goal of teaching. She's focusing on gerontology after the impact caring for seniors had on her.

"The patients weren't doing well or maybe they weren't eating. I had the opportunity to sit and bring myself to their eye level, sit at the bedside and make strong therapeutic contact with that patient. And let them know I'm worried about them. And I want them to get better," Blaine said.

She noticed that when that contact was made, the patient improved. She's writing her thesis on the research.

Blaine said once nursing students have the chance to get to know seniors, they realize the importance of quality care.

"Many {seniors} have had strong, strong lives and contributed to society. Now its our time for us to give to them," Blaine said.

Dr. Rose was part of the College of Nursing's acceptance into the the National Hartford Centers for Gerontological Nursing Excellence that gives faculty and students access to top notch research and curriculum on geriatrics.