i am trying extremely hard not to take what your post said personally. when i was in nursing school
my first quarter of clinicals was at the "nursing home". i hated every minute of it, i sweated my butt off giving showers, and walked around with a wet uniform half of the day. i could not carry on a meaninful conversation with most of my residents. i was appalled when it was time to go the diningroom and feed the residents. i freaked out over the bruises and skintears that they had. 3 yrs later quess what? i am now working in your so called nursing home. But after becoming a nurse with different experiences and understanding the total aspects of geriatric and rehab nursing i have a much different outlook than i did when i was a student. first of all, i do not work in a nursing home. i work at a health and rehabilitation facility. our residents are in two catagories one is long term that now need us for the duration, and the other is mr jones that fell while leading an independant life at home and broke a bone vital to performing adls independantly. the latter of the two i receive as an admission and nuture as their nurse while they go through grueling p.t. and watch them go from not being able to dress themself or transfer independantly, or perhaps toilet themself. then one day i have to tell them goodbye, as they have met their goals and are ready to be dc'd home or possibly to an assisted living. the long term residents are quite a different story, as i strive to make their last years or days at our facility as meaningful as possible. many of my residents know who i am and tell me they miss me when i am gone. some of my residents cannot communicate their needs because of alzheimers, dementia, or cva's.. and i try to put myself in their body.. what if i couldn't speak, smile, yell, feed myself, or even blow my nose; because those centers in my brain are not functional anymore. if i could hear still then i would know everything that was going on and i couldn't do one damn thing about. i am now totally dependant on people and am basically at their mercy. Because this is the way i chose to approach my resident's i know they are not neglected, abused, or mistreated. i am the charge nurse, and believe me my eyes and ears are everywhere in our facility, to ensure this never happens. as to your assumption that all the residents are drugged into oblivion, oh sometimes i wish i could do that so they wouldn't be so tortured at times. you see in the state where i work psychactive drugs are considered a RESTRAINT. THE LESS RESTRAINTS IN OUR FACILITY THE BETTER. just when we have ms. jones is calm, smiling and cooperative the state says we have to DECREASE her dose because she hasn't had behaviors for the last month, surprise! her drugs are therapeutic. then the drugs are decreased and she becomes dellusional, combative, re; we had a resident last night with alzheimers that believed she was on fire; you ought to try and explain to a resident with no cognitive reasoning that she is not on fire, when she totally in her mind iS!!!!!!!! it is heartbreaking. so what do you think the more humane intervention is hmmm, let her run up and down the halls, screaming and crying because she is experiencing possibly a past experience that won't stop or give her some ativan that will end the nightmare. and that is ONLY FOR A LITTLE WHILE. THERE IS ANOTHER NIGHTMARE FOR HER WAITING AROUND THE CORNER.
the bruises and skin issues, well most of these people have no subcutaneous layer to speak of in their extremities; no collagen, and many are on medications that encourage bleeding and friability, such as lovenox, coumadin, and my personal favorite-- prednisone. so when they try to turn a corner in a doorway and reach with their arm to independantly pull themselves into the next room, they injure themselves. and usually it is quite humiliating for them because they were just trying to perform an adl. in response to the last and final insult, the creme de la creme, how it doesn't basically take a rocketscientist to do what i do. HA! i laugh in your face, because guess what, i was a med surg staff nurse neuro, peds, and ortho, i was an office nurse, before that i was a certified phlebotomist, before that i was an administrative secretary in the hospital. and let me know tell you i have never worked so hard physically, or mentally in my life. i never get a lunch, i am lucky if i get possibly two breaks in a 12 hour shift, and that includes going to the bathroom, and trying to get in a cigarette because my nerves are so shot at the moment. i chose cigarettes to relieve my stress, because i can't have a drink and then go back to the floor, management usually frowns upon it. the cool part of it all is that i wouldn't trade one minute of it. i love geriatric nursing. i love my residents. they are a part of my life and visa verca. i used to think like you, and maybe when you grow up you can be just like me. p.s. our facility does not smell like urine when you walk in the door; we use all diposable briefs, bag each and every incontinent episode, and then place them in a bin, that is then taken out to the trash, apprx 6-8 times a shift or as many as it takes. maybe you should visit our facility.