"Nursing homes" giving nurses a bad rap - page 2

Hi, Im a nursing student and I'm putting my 2 cents in. I think if the public had a better idea of what nurses do, they would support us and not only insist upon but demand better patient care. ... Read More

  1. by   lyndalous
    Thank you nurses for all your replies.... I really hope the author of this whole mess can see the love all of you have for these special older people... It is wonderful to hear the special stories of how nurses really make a difference........
  2. by   Heather27
    WOW, M2B...as the others have said....you have a lot to learn... I feel so sorry for you, and, even more sorry for your residents, should you find it necessary to work in long term care in the future. I've been a geriatric nurse for almost 10 years, and yes...it's frustrating sometimes...yes, it's hard work...but, omg, it's so rewarding. I have been given the privilege of caring for people who have lived life to it's fullest...who have done things like survived the Depression, fought for MY freedom in at LEAST one war, reared children, lost husbands/wives, lived, loved, learned... and I care. I care more than I am able to sometimes. I cry when one of my residents passes away. I smile when a great-granddaughter or grandson is brought for a visit. I laugh when they are entertained by something. I sit quietly by when they are ill, after all that can be done, or is wanted, is done. I hold their hand as they leave this mortal coil. I weep with families who wish they had one more day with her. I clean up, I dress up, I feed, I hug. M2B...learn well from the above posts...you too will be in care one day.
    Last edit by Heather27 on Jun 22, '01
  3. by   mustangsally
    I agree with all of the above replys to the original poster. Having worked in long term care throughout college and after I graduated, it is hard also for me not to take your post personally. I loved working in the nursing home it was some of the most rewarding work I have done. It is never easy to work in a nursing home emotionally or physically, but is very rewarding in the thanks you receive from residents especially when someone is able to go home after many months of hard work in therapy and on the floor or when a resident who has been depressed begins to smile more and interact with their peers. There are many different types of residents in nursing homes and you have to work tremendously hard to help them with their needs while stll maintaing a smiling face, but it is rewarding to go home at the end of the day and know that you have made a difference even if is not glamourous but to help a patient maintain their dignity no matter how small when they find themselves at a dependent stage in their life is very rewarding. Even though I do not work in long term care, I now work in a med/surg unit, I still know that I have been lucky to start out my career in long term care and yes I chose long term care straight out of college rather than working in acute care and am still glad I made that choice because of the multitude of different types of patients I worked with in the long term care setting and the many things I learened working there. I hope you will at least open your eyes and your heart and maybe volunteer in a nursing home to get to know what it is really like and hope you can see that it can be a wonderful area of nursing. Good luck
  4. by   Lily2
    Holy Cow! You are so uneducated, not just about nursing but about aging, needs for physical activity and socialization, and the difference between something being bad for patient care versus uncomfortable for you to look at.

    I'm not a RN yet, but worked for a little over year in a nursing home as an activities assistant. Those people cannot get out of their rooms on their own sometimes....and many of them LOVE getting out in the hallway so that they have something to do other than sit in their room. Many of them wish that young people such as yourself would stop and chat or just say hello. Have you ever said hello to one of these "pitiful" people, as you call them?

    And by the way, I ran 2-3 activities every day for my residents, visited bed-bound patients daily, and coordinated trips out to eat, or visits from groups like Girl Scouts and elementary schools. I busted my butt to try to never let a person go an entire day without some type of social activity. And those people lined up in th hallway are sometimes waiting to be taken to the morning activity. Since I had to transport most of them myself I was pretty happy when the nursing staff would already have them out of bed, dressed and ready to go.

    And by the way, a place where people with terminal illnesses can go to die in dignity is called a HOSPICE, not a nursing home.
  5. by   lyndalous
    I am surprised that this thread has 177 views and only 16 posts!!!

    I reread this first post to a non-nurse to see what she thought of it and she said that to her it seems like the author is upset and does not like what she sees as the "midwestern" view of nursing homes. Maybe in her area that is how "she thinks" that people view nursing homes and she is upset about it.

    I am now not sure. I hope in my heart that the author is just disgusted with how "others" view nursing homes and not how she does.

    But we have not heard form her so I don't know.

    Just a thought....don't get mad at me.......
  6. by   tenderheart35
    This is my first time responding to a post that has been made actually this is the first time at this site..I read your post regarding your nursing home experience as a student and your views and summary of a nursing home and I can relate to how you felt....Cause I too like you went threw the same feeling and discontent for the nursing home atmosphere and quallity of care that I viewed...I have worked in geriatrics in a nursing home setting as a LPN for the last 6 years and to be honest I have mixed emotions....Quality of care varies of course with the establishment that you are working in but most of all with the workers that are providing that care, and I have seen the kindest people and then not the so kind people and wonder to myself what are the unkind people doing here? I find the accountability in the nursing home is very low on the totem pole. Even though it is the "most" or one of the top regulated health care facilities monitored threw our goverment systems I dont now how secure that makes me feel....My point being it needs work the monitoring. Nursing homes are understaffed even with the great regualtions that are put on nursing homes theyre required staffing is appauling and unrealistic to think that the elderly can truely have "quality care" I work in a high standard nursing home all private pay..and let me tell you I hear that we are overstaffed according to the state reg's and I consider that we still are understaffed...I like my job but let me tell you administration is the biggest problem. it all comes down to the mighty buck....I love the residents and enjoy my work but let me remind all the the nurses that previously spoke there is abuse in nursing homes I have witnessed it and reported it many times....so lets stop pretending that everyone is kind because no matter where you go there are people who will take advantage of those who cannot protect themselves...So I consider it my job to protect them to the best of my abilities ...dont get me wrong you have the other people on the flip side as well ...In any aspect of life where there are people that are vulnerable you always have people who will take advantage of that and it would be ignorant not to realize that. there are many other reasons for sustaining tissue tears...bruises....broken bones...and for depression and it is always easier to blame the resident for them being clumsy that is like wearing blinders. not to say that it is always because of another person but I think being ruff with residents, not taking time with proper transfers of residents, being short staffed or just plain being abusive happens quite frequently and is responsible for many of the injuries sustained by the elderly...I also dont think you can group all nurses into one category there are some compassionate nurses and some not! There are some that do over medicate residents with prns just to make there shift "quieter" and some that dont...and we all know who we are!
  7. by   duckie
    At first I became very upset at your post, then I felt pity that you have such limited knowledge, yet choose to speak so harshly about things which you obviously do not understand. I hope once you become a nurse, you will not make snap decisions without first assessing and gaining all the facts, it could cost someone their life!!!!! Things are not always what they seem and you do have much to learn. I am a LTC nurse and I do this proudly. I cannot tell you the amount of joy my job gives to me and I in return, pray daily that I provide joy to the lives of those I care for. What you fail to understand is that we work under very difficult circumstances and make sacrifices daily so that the people we care for receive the care and love they deserve. I frequently work 10 hour days with no break from my unit. If I get the chance to eat, it's while I am doing my mounds of paperwork that the state requires. Personally, I'd much rather be out on the unit, holding hands, bringing smiles, and offering that little extra attention that many of my residents need. I sit by countless beds of those that are dying, holding their hands and praying I am there when they die, so they do not have to leave this world alone. I have prayed many prayers that the end will come quickly and painlessly. I have cried many tears with families, as they all understand that their family has become our family. It seems to me that you are repulsed by the elderly but please keep in mind, you are not old yet, you know not what your future holds. These are individuals, not items to be discarded. None of these people would have chosen to become this way. When I look into the eyes of my residents, I look beyond their contracted limbs, their drooling mouths, their inability to feed themselves, or toilet themselves. What I see is a person that at one time, held a job, raised a family, lived life to it's fullest and due to circumstances beyond their control, it was all taken away, leaving many of them with only memories, and some without even those to look back on. And not everyone comes into a facility to die, but to get better, so they can go home and continue to live. We provide extensive therapy, we help them learn to walk again after a CVA, we help them relearn the things that you may take for granted, like washing their faces and brushing their teeth. We give them every oppurtunity to continue to live their lives but if they cannot, then we care for them, lovingly and devotedly, until their time to move into the next life comes. Then we are there to help them die with dignity. I hope you have read all the posts here, for they were written by people that know what they are talking about. At times, medications are necessary. Would you rather we let them live in a nightmare that they cannot awaken from. Often times dementia and Alzheimer's place these folks into a never ending nightmare, from which they cannot awaken. My own grandmother was an Alzheimer's resident. I watched her cry and plead with God to take her home. She was constantly screaming and crying, trying to protect the children that were in danger. This came from years of devoted service and care to handicapped children. Now, in her dementia, they were in danger and it was her job to help them but she could not and she was terrified for them. She was constantly screaming for someone to help her protect them. Should we have stood by and let her live this nightmare day in and day out, or should we have given her the medication that let her mind rest???? What would you have done? Many times residents are drugged up, but it's only until we find the right medication to ease their situations. Then we titrate the drugs to the least needed amount to provide the best quality of life. As for folks being lined up in wheelchairs.....should we leave them in their beds to become infested with bedsores and get pnuemonia and die, or should we try to help them maintain the quality of their skin integrity, promote mental stimulation and let them see another human being, instead of being hidden away and alone. These are human beings, not monsters and they should not be hidden as though they are freaks of nature. Yes my dear, you have much to learn, most of which is compassion. Do not speak harshly of what I do until you walk in my shoes. Try caring for residents without enough staff. Try watching your staff work like dogs to provide mininal care and feeling guilty because they couldn't sit by a bedside and hold a hand. Yes there are times when the smell of urine and feces hangs in the air. We do not work in a flower shop!! Does it always smell pleasant in the home of someone with a baby. It's nature, what goes in must come out and as a nurse you had better learn to deal with these smells because they are there, no matter what filed you work in, unless you sit behind a desk all day. Please learn to look beyond the illness and see the person, you are looking at someone who has been where you are, but never thought it would happen to them. And always remember, "There but for the grace of God, go I."
  8. by   Heather Plate
    BOY THIS SOON TO BE NURSE REALLY HAS ALOT TO LEARN!!! I WOULD LIKE TO INVITE HER TO SPEND TIME IN THE GERIATRIC BB AND SEE HOW MANY CARING NURSES SHE WILL FIND THERE. AANDDD.. YOU JUST MIGHT LEARN SOMTHING. MAYBE NURSING IS NOT THE PLACE FOR YOU IF YOU FIND YOURSELF SO MISGUIDED BY HORROR STORIES. I AM A MID-WEST R.N. WHO WORKS IN GERIATRICS BY CHOICE. I AM PROUD OF THAT!! I CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE I CARE FOR. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS TO GET TO KNOW THESE FOLKS AND THEIR FAMILIES. GERIATRIC NURSES HAVE TO HAVE STRONG ASSESSMENT SKILLS BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE PHYSICANS ON SITE. THEY RELY ON OUR SKILLS AND MORE OFTEN THAN NOT ORDER MEDS, LABS TX.,ETC.BECAUSE THEY TRUST OUR JUDGEMENT AND SKILLS. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO SAY A WORD FOR THE OTHER TEAM MEMBERS IN LTC, NURSES AIDES, DIETARY, HOUSEKEEPING, LAUNDRY,OFFICE MANAGERS , MAINTENENCE, SOC. WORKERS, PT., OT., SPEECH THER. AND MANY OTHERS WHO I AM SURE WOULD BE JUST AS UP IN ARMS AS IA AM WITH YOUR POSTING. I SURE YOU DID NOT THINK ABOUT US AS A TEAM BUT WE ARE. SO PLEASE, BEFORE YOU STEP OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD, STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN...YOU MAY JUST LEARN THAT WE ARE A SPECIAL GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO DO GERIATRICS BECAUSE WE WANT TO!! THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME SUPPORT LTC BY PUSHING THE RIGHT BUTTONS.
  9. by   ornurse2001
    Ditto ....what everyone else said so well.I feel the love here man !!Hats off to ALL LTC/Nursing Home/ Rehab...whatever workers-You do a very special service to these old people God Bless em', and God Bless You for doing it!I have done it myself for many years off and on, and I am currently taking care of my husband's 95 yr old grandmother in our home and have been for 2 yrs.We will be placing her in a nursing home next month due to her mental status getting worse.M2b, I am curious...Did you have a beloved family member that was admitted to a nursing home?Is this a personal experience?, or what you have observed in nursing school?
  10. by   lyndalous
    M2B:

    Where are you??? I am sure eveyone is very curious why you are not responding??

    I too agree that there is so much love in here for the elderly. I love just coming back here and reading all your wonderful stories of them. I love the elderly..... you can learn so much from them...
  11. by   NRSKarenRN
    M2B:
    Please read carefully what the above posters have stated. I started in 1973 as a HHA in a SNF. It was a combination of an old home with a newer modern wing. The owners wife decided to paint the halls dark purple on the bottom and lavender top to "brighten it up" after seening the institutional two tone blue walls.
    Working third shift, we had to wash cloth diapers often and fold at break time, if we ran out of supplies due to increased incontence due to callouts, lack of staff to toliet residents on middle shift. It was not unusual for me to care for 30 patients on nights. Our night nurse would check behind us, to make sure the patients were kept clean and dry. Hallway odor was kept to a minimum by prompt emptying of soiled linen. We didn't have as much know how in dealing with Alheimers residents, nor meds to combat aggressive behavoir but accomplished alot with love and care.

    As an RN, I have worked perdiem in several facilities and as an Ombudsman have visited facilities that you described. Only by speaking up to owners, authorities and reporting to the public unsafe condtions will these homes change.

    You have a lot of growing yet to do and hopefully will come to realize that seniors are usually institutionalized only when the family can no longer care for their loved one at home or there is no caregiver. There is much to learn from them, if you take the time to share some of yourself. We start out like babies, drooling, incontinet and dependent. Only some 10-15 % of Senior Citizens die that way.

    ! was fortunate to be able to keep my maternal Grandfather with Alzehimers at home till age 87 dying 9 months later in a SNF; his wife at home till age 98 1/2, dying at a SNF at age 99 1/2 of Pneumonia in 1998. One of our family's fondest memories is of her flying a kite from her wheelchair and telling my sons of making kites from newspapers and twigs while at the SNF.

    My maternal gradmother at 92 1/2 was placed in a assisted living facility 2 months ago after several falls and neglecting to eat due to lonliness. Within 1 hour after arrival from a 3 week rehab stay, she had her hair permed & styled, an unmet need
    of hers for that past three months was finally met! She couldn't focus well on walking "cause I looked a mess" and wouldn't leave her room at SNF except for therapy. She then shashyed down the hallways with her walker, talking to all in sight. Unfortunately she fell 2 days in a row due to spinal stenosis. Spent the past three weeks in bed, just starting to tolerate 1-2hrs OOB in WC, and ready for hairdressers again---her PRIORITY! The staff have been excellent keeping me abreast about her condition and having the Geriatric NP provide adequate pain relief.

    It's all about how you choose to handle a situation that determines "making roses from sows ears."
  12. by   thriftymom30
    I would like to say that there are good LTC facilities and "bad"LTC facilities. I am a LVN who prior to becoming a LVN had a grandmother in LTC. My perception of LTC was horrible. My experience in LTC clinicals were depressing. I thought the staff were rude to the patients and treated them with no dignity. This was besides the fact that it stank and they were all tied to their chairs. It made the thought of working LTC the bottom of my list. After ten years as a LVN I decided to give it a try. The first facility was terrible. The nursing assistants were terrible "I'm just here to earn my paycheck", nurses too overworked and poor MANAGEMENT. I have been told other stories just like this by other nurses. When management didn't address any of these concerns-honestly, I don't think they wanted to hear them- I left. Then, my husbands granmother was placed in a LTC and it was wonderful!!!! I decided to give it another try. I do relief work for extra money and enjoy it. You must work in a good facility where management is dedicated to quality care. If you see something abusive or unethical report it!! I work through an agency and go to different facilities and have been for the most part pleasantly surprised. Perhaps the initial writer will take a look around before judging all LTC facilities, like I did.
  13. by   darby
    i am a veteran nurse,you can say anything but until you come to new orleans,la. you havent seen any thing but money,racist,greedynursing home owners,i have been all over the world andits not the nurses,or the patients,its politics with a big dollar sign,dont ever work in louisiania,believe me i even wrote president g.bush but alas the abuse and greed runs rampant.go to a good agency and stay away from new orleans.

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