From what I saw at Ester Seals day care, interacting with the elderly who suffer from a combination of old age and degenerative mental illnesses requires a lot of time, experience and most importantly patience in making sure that their needs of this particular class of patient are met. My experience at the center has taught me that when it came to patients of different cultural backgrounds suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other similar neuro-degenerative mental states, a greater degree of care and assistance must be provided. If left unsupervised to their own devices it is often the case that they lack the ability to fully process what it is they are doing resulting in a strong possibility for accidents to occur (Oda & Rameka, 2012). Not only that, each cultural type of patient has a distinct manner that they would like to be treated as compared to other types. As such, a community healthcare nurse is often present that ensures that all patients within the day care facility are properly cared for and have their unique individual needs met (Oda & Rameka, 2012).
How is a community healthcare nurse important?
A community healthcare nurse is important when it comes to dealing with such patients due to the necessity of having to implement a wider variety of care and treatment methods for patients with diverse cultural backgrounds (Easterby et al., 2012). A generalized method of nurse practitioner assistance cannot be implemented here since a person suffering from Alzheimer’s has different needs as compared to someone that has Parkinson’s (Hicks, 2012). Considering the fact that there are a plethora of different mental health cases at the center at any given time, this shows the necessity of having a community healthcare nurse help to establish the necessary methods of care and assistance that such patients need (Strunk et al., 2013).
Improving the site
If it were me, I would help to develop the community at Ester Seals day care by implementing a more modernized means of scheduling the shifts and patient care schedules. The center still relies on an antiquated method of scheduling (i.e. a white board) and this often results in a bit of confusion involving who needs to be where and who is taking care of whom at any given time. Based on this, my role as a change agent within my community would be that of a modernizer who would bring in new ideas regarding scheduling and patient care to help improve the current processes that are being utilized at the centre.
Repeating My Experience
If I had to repeat this experience all over again what I would do differently would be to attempt to get a better understanding of the experiences of the nurses that have worked with patients of this type. I regret that I was not able to learn of their individual back stories enough to know what it must be like to deal with such patients after several years. This, I believe, would have enhanced my experienced and would have resulted in me being better prepared in understanding the inherent difficulties when it comes to cultural nursing competency and its unique application on elderly patients suffering from degenerative mental states.
Cultural Nursing Competency
I was able to accomplish a modicum of cultural nursing competency by following the instructions of the head nurse when it came to dealing with different patients that had a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.
Easterby, L. M., Siebert, B., Woodfield, C. J., Holloway, K., Gilbert, P., Zoucha, R., & Turk, M. W. (2012). A Transcultural Immersion Experience: Implications for Nursing Education. ABNF Journal, 23(4), 81-84.
Hicks, D. (2012). Cultural Competence and the Hispanic Population. MEDSURG Nursing, 21(5), 314-315.
Oda, K., & Rameka, M. (2012). Students’ corner: Using Te Tiriti O Waitangi to identify and address racism, and achieve cultural safety in nursing. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal For The Australian Nursing Profession, 43(1), 107-112.
Strunk, J. A., Townsend-Rocchiccioli, J., & Sanford, J. T. (2013). The Aging Hispanic in America: Challenges for Nurses in a Stressed Health Care Environment. MEDSURG Nursing, 22(1), 45-50.