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Personal Narrative: My Clinical Experience In A Nursing Home Essay

As I got out of my car and started walking to the front door, all | could do was admire this beautiful building that resembled a ranch-style home. When I walked through the front door, the smell of mashed potatoes, baked chicken breast, and wheat rolls filled my nose; it was as if I was walking into my own grandma’s house. In front of me there was a group of people; some in wheelchairs, some using walkers, and others on the couch shouting out answers to the latest crossword puzzles. Walking through these doors brought me to the realization that I was soon going to learn everything about each one of these people.

This included how to specially care for and assist them with their everyday needs in this place that they call their home. I did not have the slightest clue about all the good, the bad and the ugly experiences that I would encounter while being a CNA, certified nurses’ assistant, but working in healthcare it is expected that people will treat and take care of those in need as if they were family. I walked up to the group of residents and introduced myself. “Hello, my name is Micala, I am new here and will be taking care of you. A silver-haired lady with bright pink lipstick and gaudy ring-filled fingers looked to me and asked if I had seen her mother. She looked so normal, so how could she be so confused? She was probably nearing 90 years of age, so why is she looking for her mother? My head became overwhelmed with questions and utter disbelief that I had no experience dealing with people who were suffering this way. I was not prepared to have these conversations with grown people and I surely was not prepared for the emotional aspect of the job I had accepted.

The clinical experiences that I had had were at a nursing home and that prepared me for the physical facet of the job, but that, I quickly realized, was the only condition that where I felt prepared. Every morning I would walk through the doors, onto a hideous red carpet, and into the cluttered nurse’s station to find my assignment for that particular day. This was a typical gathering place for the aides until pagers started buzzing, drawing us away from our absent conversations. I was never prepared for what the day would bring; this was both exciting and terrifying.

The amount of variation through the days of being a CNA can create stressful situations when there may be an expectation, but the actuality far surpasses capabilities. On this particular morning, I made my way to a room filled with fake flowers and animal print decor. The resident of the room ended up being the silver-haired lady that had asked me for her mother. I would spend majority of my morning in here trying to convince her of meaningless information that she refused to accept; that it was, in fact, the morning, that her mother was not here, and so on.

Once | opened the shades to prove to her that it was daylight, it was another ten minutes of picking out what to wear for the day, which usually consisted of black pants and a sequin blouse. After getting dressed and doing her makeup, I followed behind her as she waddled down the hall; pushing her squeaky walker into the dining room. As I made my way back down the hall and into each room for morning wakeup it was usually a replay of the first instance, a lot of convincing and bribing with fresh coffee. I worked with people that had dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.

These diseases affect the ability to remember normal aspects of life or people that have been around the patients since birth; needless to say patience is key. On a daily basis I would help each of my residents with simple tasks such as getting dressed, going to the bathroom and brushing their teeth. Trying to convince someone to take a shower when they have no idea who you are or even where they are can end up being a very dangerous task. Usually these tasks would end in frail ladies taking me by the arm and giving me a shower; there was nothing I could do, but laugh when I was being given a shower.

However, this meant that the times in life that were supposed to be quick and easy became time consuming and extremely difficult. The only reaction I could have was to hope that I could get them through their day and learn more about them in the process. Each room told a different story. Most were filled with antique furniture and family portraits that lined the walls; the residents loved to sit and look at pictures reminiscing about their past. Even though they had forgotten how to do simple things they were able to remember certain past events of their lives.

The resident’s would talk about their children or past occupation and that could always bring a smile to their face and allowed them to open up and let the aides become close to them and their lives. The more I learned about them, the more could bring up things that were familiar or show them familiar things to put them at ease. Once they were at ease or in a better mood, there was always an activity to pass the time. Whether it was bingo, painting, watching movies that came out before I was born or watering the wilting garden, there was something that we, as aides, could do to help them enjoy their days.

Some days we would gather people onto a facility bus and drive around just to look at the scenery or go to a nearby restaurant and grab a bite to eat. These were things everyone loved to do even before their memory started deteriorating. We did all we could to keep the residents busy so they would not get agitated or spend too much time trying to find their way back “home”. However, the residents were not the only people that I was in charge of; families and friends were in my care on a daily basis as well. These people were in denial about their loved ones who were beginning to decline.

Others could not deal with the fact that their parent did not remember their name, let alone the fact that they were a parent. I often provided emotional support and assurance that their loved one would be well taken care of. Many times I became a shoulder to cry on while they reminisced about their loved one who had passed away. Whenever a resident passed, it was like losing my own grandparent; I grew to love these people like they were my family. Every person took care of had a lasting effect on me; everyone had their own unique personality and different needs that I was expected to meet.

Spending up to sixteen hours per day with these residents built a special bond that I will forever hold dear to my heart. Most days I walked out mentally and physically exhausted and sometimes even questioned my job, but all the lives that I affected made all the hardships worth my time. I have never felt more appreciated than I did working with the elderly, and it is definitely one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. Even though it was a stressful job, I learned a lot about myself and the bigger picture of life in general. I learned that no matter what, life is cruelly unfair.

I took care of people who were only fifty, yet could no longer eat or speak. I learned that working as a team is important especially in healthcare, no one person should be expected to go it alone. There is so much to be learned from listening to fellow aides and workers; their understanding of the situations that I found myself in helped me learn and adapt my ways of care. I learned to be cautious and pay attention to details to slow down and to be patient. Most importantly I have learned to speak up and make sure that I am heard when I know that something should be changed for the betterment of those involved.

I was always told if it does not seem right then it probably is not. The responsibility of someone’s life depends on the decisions that are made throughout the course of a healthcare professional’s day. I am thankful to have had a job that has taught me to stand up for what is right and to speak my mind in order to care for people to the best of my ability. Being a CNA has changed my life and I will never forget the experiences I had and values that I learned my first day, and even my entire first year, of being in the healthcare field.

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