Aging is a continuous process in the day-to-day living process. Gerontological nursing refers to professional healthcare given to older patients until they die. The nurses are the prominent people in the gerontological team in caring for the elderly since they possess the required skills and attitudes needed in the field. This essay discusses the concept of gerontological nursing and its various outcomes in the nursing field.
Issues and Scenarios Associated with Gerontological Nursing
Gerontological nurses must illustrate competency in nursing scenarios and issues that affect this profession. One major problem is high mortality and hospitalization rates resulting from antiquated discharge planning methods. Another scenario that the gerontological nurse must be aware of is polypharmacy. This can arise from prolonged usage of medications after the condition has been resolved. Cases of inappropriate use of drugs to treat the side effects, an overdose, and the use of drugs that have been prescribed for similar conditions can also be attributed to polypharmacy. Other challenges faced are an inadequate number of trained nurses and insufficient research in the geriatrics faculty.
Client-centered care acknowledges a patient’s experiences before coming to the healthcare facility. This can be done by actively listening to the client’s narratives about the events encountered and coming up with care that focuses on the patient’s values, needs, and preferences (Nelson et al., 2022). The family can be engaged in the treatment plan since their support is critical. Effective communication between the sick and the healthcare provider is essential in facilitating recovery.
Culturally competent care is observing cultural beliefs and norms and respecting them. This includes using familiar language, not judging a patient’s background, and respecting their religious beliefs, which are against the treatment plan (Sundus et al., 2021). Cultural competency enables nurses to offer the best care to the patient. Leadership competency refers to all skills possessed by any leader in any scenario. They include problem-solving skills, integrity, decision-making, and team building.
A registered nurse can use various leadership skills to care for aging patients. Problems may arise between the nurse and patient during the treatment process. Therefore, the nurse should develop better ways to solve them without causing more conflicts. A nurse should motivate other colleagues despite stressful work settings as a leader. Accountability for all the actions done in the hospital must be demonstrated by ensuring responsibility by each individual.
Comparing the issues discussed above, they contribute to the deterioration of patients’ health. The point of inadequate nurses in the field can create more problems. Wrong prescription and usage of medicines can lead to an increased death rate. The inadequate research in the gerontological nursing faculty will contribute to low competency among caregivers. Future health care is likely to have some gaps in the treatment methods.
I have obtained the objective above by learning the norms and beliefs of the surrounding culture. Leadership skills such as problem-solving have been received by handling various issues affecting clients. The concepts above have cooperated in my nursing practice in multiple ways. The turn-taking concept has been applied while communicating with a patient to make the treatment plan successful. I use a language that the patient understands and considers the cultural differences.
The concept of intentional learning in caring for older patients implies the continuous acquisition of knowledge and understanding of how to handle them. Nurses educate older adults to promote health literacy (Ryan et al., 2022). This includes imparting knowledge on how to make decisions in daily life regarding matters of advanced care (Aul et al., 2021). An example where I demonstrated intentional learning was showing respect to a patient accompanied by a relative to the hospital. He felt continuous leg pain, and I did massage therapy for him.
Another example is a case where I encountered a patient with a diabetes condition. She was unaware of healthy practices to do to ease the effects of the state. I educated her on the need to eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains. In contrast, older people have a negative perspective on their health. On the other hand, nurses believe that they can restore their health by following the guidelines. This implies more cases of the sick among the old in the future. I learned more about the importance of first aid remedies to patients as they may ease a worsening situation.
The intentional objective has been obtained by interacting with older patients and learning about their needs and remedies. This has influenced my nursing care profession by equipping me with more knowledge on various ways to handle older patients. I have learned that the old are delicate, and they need specialized care with more emphasis on their daily health routines. The concept of leadership in nursing is critical in ensuring that I take responsibility.
Evidence-Based Gerontological Nursing Concepts
In nursing, the evidence-based practice combines patients’ preferences, research findings, and clinical expertise to provide individualized patient care. An example of evidence-based practice in nursing is infection control (Opsahl et al., 2020). Some of the control measures taken for safety include wearing personal protective clothing, keeping the working environment clean, and washing hands correctly. Another example of evidence-based practice is the measuring of blood pressure in patients. Following the guidelines aims to get the most accurate measurements and compare them to theoretical values. Evidence-based research influences nursing practice by evaluating research to understand risks (Cardoso et al., 2021). Treatment plans must be accompanied by tests and available supporting evidence. Medications should not be prescribed by mare assumptions by nurses.
My experience with evidence-based research has been very important in my nursing practice. The outcome has been met by focusing on the practical part of nursing. I have learned about preventive practices for some common diseases. I have realized that instruments in the hospital must be used as expected to get accurate results. The importance of keeping a clean working environment has also been emphasized.
Clinical Reasoning and Decision-making Skills
Clinical reasoning and decision-making skills refer to thinking strategies used in comprehending data and choosing the best alternatives. Patients’ problems are identified for diagnosis (Hu et al., 2021). An example of clinical reasoning and decision-making can be applied in the scenario of polypharmacy (Kim & Parish, 2021). In the use of medications that have been prescribed for similar conditions, the best alternative can be done by selecting the most effective medication
Another example is the issue of inadequate research on gerontological nursing. Analyzing available data could be done through deeper thinking and making wise decisions (Marcomini et al., 2021). Diseases that are likely to affect older adults should be investigated as reasons behind their causes. The vulnerability of aging must be examined, and alternatives to curb these diseases must be established. Adults should be advised on healthy lifestyles, which can restore their health since their immunity is very low.
I have learned the importance of thinking skills to make decisions. The outcome has been achieved by trying to come up with my alternatives first. Further, I have learned the importance of research in gerontological nursing. I have encountered additional knowledge that is not practiced in the normal context of the process. This has influenced my methods of assessment by focusing on the practical part.
Leadership and Relation to Assessment and Interventions
Some of the resources available in the community for the provision of service to older adults are counseling services, financing, housing assistance, wellness programs, nutritional support, and educational programs about aging and health. The concept of leadership in the resource distribution plan ensures the maintenance of equity and order (Garbrah et al., 2021). Nutritional support programs aim to give necessary advice and guidelines on a diet (Young et al., 2021). Essential resources are provided, such as food, clothing, and shelter, not to overrate the living conditions. Older adults’ mental and physical health improves immensely (Carpenter & Ersek, 2021). In contrast, an organization that offers guidance and counseling leads to mentally stable adults in the future compared to one that ignores it.
Leadership objective has been attained by active participation in some of the organizational involvements in the community. My main aim was to encourage more people to work together to support the old in society. Some of the administrative agencies in my community that offer support to older adults are Oasis and Second Wind Dreams. The Oasis organization helps the old keep their social, bodies, and minds active. Second Wind Dreams also offer charity grants to people living in nursing homes.
Therapeutic Communication with Older Adults
As people age, their hearing skills lessen; hence need to adapt to the changes. Therapeutic communication with older adults involves talking clearly and slowly without shouting or raising the voice tone (Crownover & Henrichs, 2021). This can distort the meaning of information to be passed and give a wrong impression. On the other hand, nontherapeutic communication involves personal interrogations that are not relevant to a particular situation. In contrast, therapeutic touch leads to a deeper understanding of patients’ reality, while nontherapeutic leads to misunderstanding. Therapeutic communication leads to collaboration in the health facility in the future.
An example illustrating therapeutic communication is active listening while communicating with a patient. The diagnosis process involves a series of questions and answers between a caregiver and the sick (Xue & Heffernan, 2021). Nontherapeutic communication is illustrated when a caregiver changes the subject of conversation to irrelevant issues (Loh et al., 2020). For instance, an older patient might explain personal issues that might have led to depression, and the doctor disregards the topic.
I have met the objective of therapeutic communication by applying the appropriate communication skills. Patients become free and open to issues affecting them, and a better treatment plan can be made. Communication between colleagues is successful when there is common agreement and language. Involving nontherapeutic communication is ineffective as the sick are likely to hide some information concerning their health. Therefore, I have learned how to establish a convenient report that hinders any form of nontherapeutic communication.
Culturally Competent Safe Practices in Older Adults
Culturally competent care is referred to the type of care given to older adults that respects the diversity in their cultural beliefs and practices. These factors affect their health and may include communication styles, language, and attitudes toward medication (Markey et al., 2021). An example of an older safety practice is learning about the different cultures in the surrounding environment where most patients come from. Not only learning the whole culture but only the relevant basics (Lundby et al., 2021). For example, common nonverbal cues can be known to avoid creating an unfamiliar impression.
Another example illustrating safety practices in older adults is interacting with diverse groups of people. This can be done by organizing research projects where culture across the globe is analyzed (O’Brien et al., 2021). Internship intakes should be from diverse backgrounds for interaction. In contrast, differences between different cultures can impact health care negatively. Different opinions divide people as they lack a common sense of direction.
The competent cultural objective has been met by adhering to the different norms of patients. I encountered a case where there was a clash between safety and cultural practice. I was presented with a patient with an arthritis condition who could not take medicine due to cultural beliefs. According to her, traditional herbs were a better option from the past. I informed her of the benefits of taking medicines as they could bring permanent healing.
Team Approach to Collaborative Health Care
The concept of teamwork in any healthcare organization is key. Teamwork among all the stakeholders gives the organization a sense of direction to facilitate the achievement of objectives (Pathrose et al., 2021). Teamwork creates pathways to effective collaboration and prevents medication errors. Additionary, there are improved patient outcomes and satisfaction in the quality of services received. An example of an interdisciplinary team is a case where an older patient in the emergency room has a road accident. The team approach is made by cooperating with the nurses, therapists, surgeons, and lab specialists in treatment.
Another scenario is a case where an older adult patient has heart problems and needs treatment. The case will be handled by a cardiac team that will work together to restore the patient’s health. They have expertise and knowledge that, when combined, bring out the best outcomes (Richter et al., 2021). In contrast, a team approach is the most efficient than individual treatment by a single nurse. Therefore, teamwork will lead to a healthier workplace in the future.
I have met the objective of the team approach by engaging with a team of nurses to heal a patient with a cardiac condition. I have learned that medical errors are likely to occur without teamwork in my nursing profession. Therefore, I must encourage my colleagues to embrace a teamwork approach in everything done in the hospital to reduce them. New skills have been acquired from other members in handling different scenarios in the health setting.
In conclusion, gerontological nursing is a field that mainly provides healthcare services to older patients. Many issues are faced in the health setup, including a higher mortality rate, wrong medication, and inadequately trained nurses to handle the old patients. To understand the needs of older adults, intentional learning is emphasized for its benefits. Finally, leadership gives direction, and every stakeholder in the hospital setup should be a leader.
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