I love this story because it goes along with my feelings about working in LTC also. I "cut my teeth" so to speak as an LPN in LTC for the first 1 1/2 years of my career and then went on to work in a hospital for the next 14. I remember when I started working in the hospital it took me a long time to stop thinking and worrying about the residents that I had left behind. They had that much of an impact on my life and had taught me some valuable lessons about compassion and caring for others.
I went on to obtain my RN and then my BSN over the years I worked in the hospital and thought that I would always work there. I also implemented simple touch, kind words, smiles, and yes hugs into my patient care when and where it was appropriate. I have never had a patient complaint against me. Circumstances beyond my control brought me back to LTC last year and I have had many mixed emotions about it. It seems that Nursing ingrains in Nurses that working in LTC is somehow substandard and a step back or down. I worried I would lose my skills and or that I would be wasting all of the education that I had so rigourously obtained.
I was hired to work on one specific unit and that suits me because I am a homebody and like to get comfortable in one place. I take care of 26 residents from 7-11 pm and then pick up both halls at 11 until 7:30 am for a total of 46. I never should have worried about losing my skills, lol! I use them everyday and then some. I am assessing my residents while I am talking to them, giving them their meds, changing dressings and so on. I am starting IV's, drawing blood, using and replacing g-tubes, changing foleys, straight caths, wound vacs, trach care and management, respiratory treatments, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention, talking to doctors, writing and transcribing orders, dealing with Pharmacy, taking care of family issues, supervising my CNA's and charting, charting, charting.
In the midst of all of this, this past year I have grown to love each of my residents for who they are. I have listened to stories from their past, talked about current events, calmed their fears, held their hands, dried their tears, given hugs, made their rooms safe by running off the imaginary dogs and cats, fed them, laughed with them,showed them pictures of my family and looked at pictures of theirs, and very skillfully managed to get their minds off of that husband, wife, or mother they just can't seem to find.
I have also had the priviledge of holding a hand as a special person left this world for the next and made it a more comfortable passing. There can be no greater priviledge. So now when someone says "I can't believe you are working in a Nursing Home again", I just smile and say "Yes I am and I love it." There are actually many opportunities that I can eventually take advantage of, because of my experience and education, within the LTC system. I don't know about any of that right now, I am just enjoying the moment.