Nurses that deal with the elderly in hospice and nursing homes are known as wellness nurses. The primary goal of these nurses is to improve the health and well-being of the patients at the health community. Patients’ choices must be accommodated, and patients’ health must be improved as much as possible via nutrition, exercise, medicine, and physical therapy, according to wellness nurses (Hoehner, 2018). Wellness nurses maintain track of the health of senior patients, keep track of changes in their condition, and give medical treatment to those who need it. Wellness nurses are in charge of teaching their patients so that they may take responsibility for their own health. When required, wellness nurses also interact with the patient’s friends and family.
Hoehner, P., J. (2018). Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in health care. Biomedical ethics in the Christian narrative. Retrieved from https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-valuesand-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/4
As many nurses can relate to, the onslaught of Covid-19 patients caused a mass healthcare emergency. Critically ill patients kept coming and coming and not enough beds or nurses were available to keep up with the surge. During that time, there was much unknown about what the virus we were dealing with was and much was unknown about how to help these suffering patients. During that time, death became an increasing reality. Each shift, one could expect to hear the sound of a body bag being zipped up as someone’s loved one passed away. As a new intensive care nurse during that time (April 2020), I was unsure why I chose to become a nurse when it seemed that all I did was fail at helping these sick patients recover from the virus. It was tough to not take it personally when the treatments failed, and the patient died. However, during that pivotal time, I learned an important lesson. I am not in control of how long a person lives. It is my job to comfort and help as much as possible, but at the end of the day, God is the one in control of life and death.
As the Covid-19 numbers decreased and times went somewhat back to normal, it became a challenge to not have an emotional response when a critically ill patient did not survive. It is as if all of the emotional turmoil from many deaths has been shoved down and peeks its head up every once in a while, when not expected. Another lesson learned during the time of increased covid causalities was learning just how important a peaceful death is to the families surrounding the patient. I have learned that these families often find peace knowing their family member is comfortable as they take their last breathes. A positive death experience is as important to the patient as it is to the family.
One experience that sticks with me was a patient that was severely ill and was placed on life support. The family knew that the treatment was not what their family member would have wanted so life support was withdrawn per their request. The patient’s favorite music was initiated, and the family told stories about the amazing life their family member had led. The patient then passed peacefully to “Remember When” by Alan Jackson with their family surrounding the bed. There was no suffering, just peace and calm amidst grief.
The following references are studies that I found interesting on the topic of death and dying.
Boissier, F., Seegers, V., Seguin, A., Legriel, S., Cariou, A., Jaber, S., Lefrant, J. Y., Rimmelé, T., Renault, A., Vinatier, I., Mathonnet, A., Reuter, D., Guisset, O., Cracco, C., Durand-Gasselin, J., Éon, B., Thirion, M., Rigaud, J. P., Philippon-Jouve, B., Argaud, L., … Kentish-Barnes, N. (2020). Assessing physicians’ and nurses’ experience of dying and death in the ICU: development of the CAESAR-P and the CAESAR-N instruments. Critical care (London, England), 24(1), 521. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13054-020-03191-z
Caillet, A., Coste, C., Sanchez, R., & Allaouchiche, B. (2020). Psychological impact of COVID-19 on ICU caregivers. Anesthesia critical care & pain medicine. 39(6), 717-722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.accpm.2020.08.006