I am two weeks away from being finished with the first semester (or Block 1 of 4) of nursing school. This portion concentrates on geriatric care and right fully so. I believe that all medical students should start there.
Here are my reasons.
For our first several weeks, we spent in class room; learning the basics. Therapeutic communication, how to give a bed bath, skin integrity, how to feed, administering medication, how to read a chart and how to transfer.
Then our instructor took us to our assigned Long Term Care facility.
Most people see me as a do-er, but I am also a watch-er. I watched with admiration how our professor herded us around like a momma hen with her chicks. Thankfully he did not just leave us on our own. Though he was pulled in many directions at once, he was always available.
But here is the reason that I wrote this post. Long Term Care facilities are full of patients that need a large amount of constant care with the basics; all day long. It makes sense for the facility to hire CNAs and utilize students to do these tasks. Cleaning soiled briefs and delicate bottoms), bathing, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, transferring them from bed to wheel chair, to toilet. Then you wheel them to the dining room and feed them for 45 minutes. Yes, I said 45 minutes. You give them their medications and then you wheel them to the living room to watch TV, play bingo, or back to their room to nap until it is time to get up again for lunch.
I try to keep my posts brief, no-one wants to spend all morning reading one post, when there are so many wonderful blogs to read. So I will write another post for another time.
But the reason that I stated that all medical students should start here is I believe that this is the best way to see if you have what it takes. For me, this was an exercise in patience, kindness, and compassion while dealing with a very deep level of human dignity.