ontheroad. . .i felt the very same way. and, what did i do? i took a job as a nursing assistant in the very same nursing home during my second year of nursing school
and i have worked off and on in nursing homes over the years. let me give you some information that may help you feel a little better. as a charge nurse in these facilities i learned that many of these residents had lived very productive lives and had loving families who still cared for them very much. many choose to go into nursing homes and directed their families to put them there so they wouldn't be a burden on their children. i learned this through many conversations i had with these patients when i was their charge nurse and got to know them really well because i saw them on a daily basis. my own mother, an lvn herself, would constantly tell her children that she expected us to put her in a nursing home because she didn't want us to interrupt our lives to care for her in her old age. fat chance i was going to let that happen! one of the things that our modern generations are seeing is the effect of aging on the human body. before modern medical interventions, old age was not all that common. to live to the ripe old age of 80 a person had to have excellent health. that is not so today. today, modern medicine can keep a human being alive well into their 80's, but many with chronic diseases. people with chronic diseases did not live very long in the old days. and, they do take their toll on the patient and those who care for them. one of the many ethical issues that modern medical treatment has given birth to has been the sustaining of life. now, medical professionals are looking at each other and asking, "but what about the quality of life?"
i took on the attitude that i was going to work in these places and make a difference in the living situation of these patients. and, i've spent a good deal of my many years doing what i could at the various facilities i worked. i always tried to stay pleasant and positive in attitude with both the patients and the staff. i did my best to run out the caregivers who were in any way abusive. in the process i learned a great deal about supervision and the state laws governing nursing homes. nurses, you see, are also change agents as well as leaders. there is a lot that just one person like you can do to help the situation of patients in the nursing homes. perhaps you have found your calling. dry your tears. take solace in the fact that for the time you spent with a patient you gave them good care and a pleasant diversion from their routine. that is how we each affect each other in our own individual way.
about your assessment, you will get better at it. rome wasn't built in a day. you didn't learn to tie your shoes in a day either. assessment is a skill that takes time to master. just like it took me time to master how to do a good job at supervision, you, too, will learn. have patience. check out this thread if you need some links and help with assessment skills:
- health assessment resources, techniques, and forms (in nursing student assistance forum)