I have worked in LTC (nursing home) hospice/palliative care, cardiac/ortho rehab & secured Alzheimer's/memory care units. When I graduated I thought nursing facilities were going to a horrible disgusting job but took an LPN charge nurse position because it payed well. After 7 years of LTC work I have a whole new perspective of these facilities and their residents.
I have learned I play multiple roles in these residents lives:
- family member
- a consistent person they know & grow to trust
- security "blanket"
The job is stressful, we are grossly overworked and consistently short staffed but somehow we manage to pull it together and give these residents the best quality of life we are able to provide.
A few things a brand new nurse should pay attention to and learn quickly are:
- pay attention to even the most ridiculous complaint or request, there's a good chance there's quite a bit of truth to what they're telling you.
- KNOW the most basic mundane things like do they wear dentures, hearing aids, glasses and how the most efficient way to assist with ADL care is.
- Lose the chip on your shoulder, you are not above changing a soiled brief, getting someone an extra blanket or feeding someone their meal when they're not able.
- please remember that no matter how long you've been a nurse or if you're fresh out of nclex testing YOU DO NOT KNOW a third of what you need to know, you learn new things everyday, every shift. Be open to correction & constructive criticism. Don't be offended, just learn from what you're being instructed.
- know your residents family member & RP's, you'll deal with them ALOT.
- be confident, not cocky, ask if you're not sure and enjoy those moments when a resident gives you a tight hug, smooches your cheek and gives you an honest & heartfelt "thank you" for taking good care of them.