During my clinical operation work, I cared for different people who had diverse medical conditions. I cared for a patient who experienced severe back pains, which would be attributed to suffering from arthritis in the week of my clinical. I used to go to my patient’s room at around 8:15 in the morning, and this is because she preferred to wake up at that time. I assisted her when she needed moving in and out of bed, helped her prepare herself in the morning, and took her to the eating area for breakfast.
The primary task of the day was to assist the assigned patient and carry out assessment documentation, and also, I helped my classmates in taking care of other patients. The patient I was assigned to was an 88-year-old, widowed, Caucasian woman. The lady was admitted to the long-run nursing institution three years ago. The reasons for admission include hypertension, type 2 diabetes without complications, muscular weakness, and osteoarthritis. Her previous medical history indicates that the patient suffers from cerebral infarction.
When working with my patients, I think that my role as a nurse is to care and advocate for ethical practices when it comes to the treatment of them. I have to record the medical history and symptoms of the patient. Likewise, I am required to monitor the health of the patient and record signs of illnesses (Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], 2019). It is my responsibility to educate the patient on her medical condition and how she can manage the illness (Morley & Cashell, 2017). Similarly, I am expected to perform diagnostic tests for my patients. Finally, I am obliged to advocate for the health and well-being of the patient, and this can be done through the proper administration of treatments and medications.
Patient safety is another core responsibility of a certified nursing assistant (CNA), which I also encountered in this situation. This has been a significant concern for most patients in any healthcare institution (World Health Organization [WHO], 2018). In most cases, patient safety is attributed to patients developing severe complications when they are in the hands of health providers. While I was caring for this patient, it came to my attention that promoting a safety culture starts by doing a complete patient assessment.
In conducting the assessment documentation, I employed the use of the “Situation, background, assessment, and recommendation” (SBAR) tool (Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], 2019). This tool was essential because it helped in patient assessment and the communication of the results. The tool is efficient in the determination and communication of patient needs.
While caring for my patient, I believe, multidisciplinary and inter-professional collaboration is essential. Interdisciplinary collaboration involves the patients, their families, and different healthcare professionals, to create an effective healthcare team (Morley & Cashell, 2017). When healthcare providers work as a team, it is ensured that there are no therapeutic errors, it eliminates care gaps that limit the safe practice, and promotes high levels of coordination for in-patient care (Shahid & Thomas, 2018). For example, when I was nursing this 88-year-old woman, I worked closely with doctors and other nurses in ensuring that the correct interventions were taken into consideration during my patient’s care. As a nurse, I also engaged family members during the collection of subjective data entailing the family’s past health history.
I experienced an array of emotions in this situation because I empathized with this woman. When I first saw my patient, it was not that easy for me because she was in chronic pain. Back pains are usually severe, and it could have been three times worse since she was elderly. When I heard her groaning in pain, sometimes I used to cry and pity her. On most occasions, I would sit by her side after offering her medication, and made sure that she was sleeping in a comfortable position. To guarantee comfort, I brought her two pillows, where I used to place behind her back. Mainly, I felt sad because I know that this type of pain is usually severe.
When I went to her room, I used to assist her in sitting down or getting out of bed. Likewise, when I helped her from her lying position to sitting position, I noticed that she was moaning. When I asked her if she had any discomfort, she said that she has been experiencing continuous lower back pain. When I asked the lady to rate the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, she said the pain was 5 out of 10. Seeing the seriousness, I offered her pain medicine, but she refused and said the pain would fade away once she sits in her wheelchair. I also noticed that she experienced difficulties in walking due to lower back pains. The final observation I made was that she complained a lot about pain in her left leg, and after a series of tests, it was discovered that the lower back pain radiates to the leg, that is why she was in pain.
From my observations, the leading cause of her backaches would be attributed to the fact that she has arthritis. In most cases, her pain usually lasted between three to four minutes on average. Correspondingly, I assessed her back pains during breakfast and lunch hours, and during those times, she claimed that she did not experience any pains. Besides, she said that the pain is most common during morning hours. The main reason why she experiences pain in the morning is that sleeping during the night caused her back to become stiff, and thus, it is painful whenever she wakes up.
This case was stressful for me because I did not work with individuals before. The 88-year-old lady was one of the eldest patients I had ever encountered in my nursing profession. Normally, I was used to taking care of younger people. During this experience, my nursing practice expanded because I learned how to be tolerant. It was not an easy task to deal with an older person who expects you to do everything for her. However, it was a good experience that helped me become a better nurse. I also developed strong analytical skills, and I was able to examine various patient conditions and apply appropriate interventions. Lastly, I developed a good rapport with the family, other nurses, and the patient.
Reflection-On-Action and Clinical Learning
This situation helped me learn a lot about the specifics of caring for the elderly. They typically have more commodities and can experience pain, and as was the case with these women, patients do not always address these concerns with their nurses. If I encounter such a situation again, I would ask my supervisor to assign an additional nurse in the treatment of such a patient. This is because treating such patients requires a nurse to be there throughout, and is tiresome.
In conclusion, I might say that I will never forget this experience. It was a challenging one, and it proved that I could be able to step out of my comfort zone. Other than the exposure I obtained, I was also able to enhance my acquired more knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of the nurse. Moreover, I understood that nursing professionals must be empathetic to be able to carry out their work.
Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality. (2019). Patient engagement and safety. Web.
Morley, L., & Cashell, A. (2017). Collaboration in health care. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 48(2), 207-216. Web.
Shahid, S., & Thomas, S. (2018). Situation, background, assessment, recommendation (SBAR) communication tool for handoff in health care–A narrative review. Safety in Health, 4(1), 7. Web.
World Health Organization. (2018). Continuity and coordination of care. Web.