NR 393 Week 3 Discussion: Reflection on Careful Nursing

NR 393 Week 3 Discussion: Reflection on Careful Nursing

NR 393 Week 3 Discussion: Reflection on Careful Nursing

I have chosen the concept of Health Education.  Health education has come a long way since Catherine McAuley’s time in the early nineteenth century.  I imagine that getting health information out to communities and families was not an easy task, without telephones and media.  Information mainly had to be distributed by notes, by horseback, or by word of mouth.  Also, nursing at this time was being done by family members, community members, and friends, so professional nurses were not established yet to disseminate health education, and a lot of health education was still yet to be discovered.  People in the early nineteenth century were mainly providing comfort to the sick and dying, along with using home remedies that were passed down to each other, which was their form of health information.  Acquiring an illness in the early nineteenth century could be detrimental, with not knowing what the illness is, and with no preventative measures or treatments known about to assist in care and health education.

Today, things have drastically changed in health education.  Health education can be found all over the place with media, computers, nurses, doctors, other professionals, and by telephone.  We also have the ability, to drive to, or to find transportation to health education in our communities at churches, hospitals, meeting rooms, etc.  I, and many others have attended nursing school, received health education, and are licensed to teach and carry out health education information.  I exhibit leadership abilities by providing health care education to my patients with what I have learned from my teachings, and continued learning.  I perform teaching skills daily, right in the patient’s room.  In reflecting about my teachings, it is hard to imagine that in the early nineteenth century, most of the sick and dying probably did not even know what their ailments were.  Some of these ailments may have been easy to remedy.  Today, I am teaching patients about preventative measures, and how to help keep an illness from getting worse.  I am teaching about diet, diabetes, COPD, etc., the list is long.   

I am glad that today, with more health education known, I can help the sick more with knowing what their diagnosis is. Health education is invaluable and can prolong your life.

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Oh man do I have a great example of how my nursing education affected a patient’s healthcare decisions! At one of my SNF’s, there was an older gentleman who came to us with second-degree renal failure, moderate liver failure, COPD, and risk for diabetes. One day, while doing rounds, there was a very strong smell of marijuana down one of the hallways, and it was brought to my attention by multiple staff and patients. At this point, I had a good relationship with the suspected patients, as there were 2 people staying in the room where the odor was coming from. I went into the room, and point-blank asked – “who’s is it? I don’t care that you have it, that you smoke it, or whatever excuse you are going to give me to cover this up.” Of course, the suspected patient owned up flushed it in front of me, and it was never an issue again (at the facility). I started to notice that this patient would go out nearly every day, and come back just a little too happy, if you know what I mean. As this was a little more than I felt comfortable to handle, I brought it up to my superiors and it was decided that every time this patient went out, he would be immediately tested for any drugs of abuse and alcohol – or they were at risk of losing their residency within our facility. This patient pulled me aside and asked me, “why y’all being so harsh. It’s just some beer and weed with friends”. I told him that after my shift was over, I would spend some time talking with him about why these behaviors are so risky, and unacceptable at our, or any, SNF. What he chose to do in his own home was on him, but these behaviors were strictly forbidden during his stay with us. After the shift change, I kept my promise. I explained to the patient all the current health issues were worsening with the use of drugs and alcohol, and how it was negatively affecting their health. We went to the patio, where no one could hear us but I was still in sight of another nurse. I spent probably an hour with this patient, dumbing medical terms down to everyday English so that this patient could understand why we were so strict. The patient complied, actually reversed a lot of liver and kidney damage, and was able to come off oxygen once he was discharged some weeks later. They came back to the facility a few weeks after discharge and asked for me. The patient explained that no one had ever taken the time to explain why behaviors such as drinking a few beers with the crew and taking a few hits of pot could be so dangerous to the body. The patient had returned to tell me that they had just had the best checkup in years. Liver, and kidneys continuing to recover – and that since the day I took the time to sit down with them – they hadn’t even touched a cigarette. While it may be a time-consuming process, sometimes a little bit of humanity to our patients can truly make a huge difference. I know beyond any doubt that my time that day probably gave this patient years on their life – and so did they. 

I had a patient that was bordering being diagnosed as a diabetic.  I used my education for prevention of diabetes to explain to the patient what she needed to do to ward off this condition, before it became worse.  She told me she has been borderline for sometime, and now the doctor was saying that it had to be called what it was, and move to a plan that included insulin coverage.  Of course, hearing about insulin coverage made her open her eyes more.  She told me she has been battling her weight for sometime, gets no exercise, and has high blood pressure.  She was easy to talk to as she was about my same age.  In short, I went over diet and exercise with her, and explained how these factors can affect diabetes and her high blood pressure.  I also gave her some more medical information as in how the pancreas works and how sugar is stored and used in the body.  I even showed her pictures of how diabetes can affect parts of the body, such as the feet and toes, which were not pretty, and explained about neuropathy.  These were all of course factors that the doctor had been telling her over the years, but the motivation to lose weight and exercise did not ever stay long with her, so she continued to fail.  I suggested that she try a weight loss group or friend for motivation.  However, I believe that in learning about insulin being a part of her life and the pictures that I showed her, she appeared to take diabetes more seriously.  She thanked me before she left the hospital for taking time to talk with her and said she was willing to make changes.  I have not heard about her or from her since she left the hospital, but she did appear to be willing to make changes.  I hope she did. 

I thought it was interesting to see how you compared the transmission of health education in Catharine McAuley’s time as compared to today. I feel like today if you have any sort of symptoms you can easily access the Internet or phone call a doctor where as you are correct that in her time they would have had to print it and word of mouth would have been how they communicated with each other. I think that there has been much advancement in healthcare but I never thought about improvements in technology allowing information to be dispersed at a quicker pace. This is an interesting year especially to think about it because of the pandemic. We knew about the pandemic before it was even present in the United States because of technology and the Internet where as in her time they would have had to wait until the news came by boat or even worse, wait until it was infecting people around. When I thought of health education I thought about teaching about taking care of yourself where as you are also correct that information is only useful if it can be shared with others.