This paper provides an overview on a self-audit of my professionalism and capacity as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the provision of care to patients. The analysis is based on the experiences gained after working in an Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit, whereby helping senior citizens with their unique needs was the primary objective. The functional disability and cognitive problems are some of the key aspects of the activities of daily living (ADL) among senior citizens who require the nurses’ attention to improve. The ACE is a fundamental entity in care provision for the elderly with acute problems as it reduces the anxiety of hospitalization. It is paramount for the professional care-givers to be efficient and make the seniors as comfortable as possible. The profession is a highly demanding job requiring profound training and commitments to ensure that one can effectively attain the set objectives. Therefore, in maneuvering in an ACE unit, the reflective account based on SWOT analysis explains the contents and context of the paper.
The capacity to effectively deliver in an ACE unit has been enhanced by the key strengths integral to efficient service delivery as a Registered Nurse (Manzano-Garcia and Ayala-Calvo 2014). This is aided by factors such as having been highly trained to acquire the necessary skills to work in acute care provision. Also, the possession of the history of success builds the confidence of being successful in providing care to the senior citizens despite the demanding nature of the job (van Wijngaarden, Scholten and van Wijk 2012). The clinic’s ethos, such as advancement of openness, sharing, values, and commitment to increased patient care are vital aspects that aid in the functioning in an ACE unit (Kremers, Nanayakkara, Levi, Bell and Haak 2019). The hospital’s support with the nursing requirements and making the work environment as comfortable as possible within the profession have been critical aspects to the success in the workplace.
As a Register Nurse, working in an ACE ward is undermined by increased workload and high bed occupancy amidst a limited number of RNs in the hospital (Brouwers et al. 2017). The increased complexity of care and pressure on times undermine the morale of the RNs to function in an ACE ward effectively. The extent to which services are too stretched and increasingly daily additional demands are some of the major weaknesses one has to deal with in the care delivery (van Durme et al. 2014). This posit difficulties in successfully delivering care to ACE persons.
The capacity of the hospital to intervene in time allocations and flexibility created for RNs is vital to operate in the ACE unit effectively. There is an opportunity to increase the number of nurses to operate in an ACE unit to ensure the available nurses are not overwhelmed with work (Giordano et al. 2016). The cooperation between the Head Nurse and active-duty nurses, as myself, is critical for improved care delivery and commitments (Kremers et al. 2019). Therefore, it is absolutely necessary in making the working conditions for RNs as comfortable as possible to enhance their capacity in care delivery (Deschodt 2013).
The threats undermining RN functionality in an ACE unit include the threat to confidentiality. It is critical to maintaining the highest level of confidentiality of senior citizens’ health information (Deschodt et al. 2015). RNs have the immediate obligation to ascertain the confidentiality of the information and protect them from succumbing to the illnesses (Conroy and Parker 2014).
The knowledge, experience, and understanding of the geriatric care demands care crucial to the effective functioning of registered nurses in an ACE unit. The RN needs to be effective in modifying care based on the demands of the patients and effectively monitor their progress (Palmer 2018). The geriatric care delivery extensive knowledge and training, which I have received over the years, build capacity in understanding the health problems associated with acute issues among the elderly (Naughton, O’Shea and Hayes 2019). Additionally, there is a need to accurately record the medical history and symptoms of the patient, collaborate and coordinate care provision with the team to ensure no replication of work, and advocate for enhanced care delivery for patients (Milton-Wildey and O’Brien 2010). As an RN, it is fundamental to be knowledgeable on monitoring the progress of the elderly patients within the ACE facility. The capacity to perform regular diagnostic tests is a crucial part of the job (Lukewich, Tranmer, Kirkland, and Walsh 2019). The capacity to provide support and advice to acute elderly patients is essential among the RNs. It is vital as it builds the skills and capacity to handle different roles in the ACE unit (Barker et al. 2016).
The role of an RN in an ACE unit culminates in building the necessary skills and expertise fundamental to the wider care delivery context. Due to the demanding nature of the elderly acute ward, the skills developed impact on the nursing professional across other departments (Yous, Ploeg, Kaasalainen, and Martin 2019). The level of care and attention, attentiveness to details, and proper diagnosis of the elders’ impacts on building the capacity of the RNs to work in different contexts (Thomas, Siefert and Joyner 2016). From geriatric to pediatric patients – care delivery requires the commitment and dedication of nurses (Kieft, de Brouwer, Francke and Delnoji 2014). Therefore, to advance the nursing profession in care delivery and services, rotation in different wards and diverse types of problems among patients is essential as it builds skills and expertise that can be applied in a diverse health care facility. Thus, elderly acute care requires the highest point of palliative care from RNs (Sekse, Hunskar, and Ellingsen 2018).
As a professional caregiver, emotional baggage and constraints is something one ought to be familiarized with to ensure that one does not succumb to depression and anxiety. However, as a human being, emotions and feelings in care delivery cannot be avoided. Working in an ACE unit triggers the emotions and feelings of anxiety, enthusiasm, and respect for the senior citizens (Wilson 2017). Looking at the elderly patients, one is left thinking about the journey of life they have endured to get to that point, and at that age. Compared with personal age – one is only bound to be left mesmerized by the journey they have to walk to reach a particular age (Hammarstrom, Hagostrom, Devik and Hellzen 2019). This triggers emotions and feelings of concern and needs to be at best when providing the necessary care.
As a trained nurse, my objective is to see the patient regain positive health status and being discharged and rejoining his/her loved ones (McAllister, Robert, Tsianakas and McCare 2019). Some events gave much joy such seeing a patient become healthy and in proper capacity to continue with life after spending sometime under our care. Furthermore, having to deal with the increasingly demanding work environment and patients triggers agitation among nurses. Elderly patients with dementia can cause anger among nurses (Yous et al. 2019). Therefore, proper care and attention to nurses are crucial to the nurses’ sanity and sobriety.
On the contrary, the worst emotions, feelings, and fear are triggered in the occurrence of death of taking a turn for the worse among patients. The occurrences of death have the potential of inducing depression, emotional constraints, anxiety, and pain (Hammarstrom et al. 2019). Therefore, avoiding too much emotional attachment and seeking psychotherapy sessions is crucial as a professional nurse (Kieft et al. 2014). Psychotherapy services are crucial for the medical and health professional to ensure they are in control of their emotions and feelings amidst the occurrence of the death of a patient. This builds a vibrant and caring workforce of professional RNs. Hence, the support system and nurses’ support by the healthcare facility is crucial to limit the adverse effects of elderly acute care delivery (Kieft et al. 2014).
As a highly trained nurse, my work experience has exhibited my reliability and flexibility of working in the healthcare environment. Work performance records show my exceptional capacity to work in different settings within the healthcare organization (Palmer 2018). Job rotation practices have been essential in developing diverse skills and experience. Patients’ feedback surveys portray me as a compassionate and empathetic nurse who cares and one is highly committed to the patients (Bahrami, Purfarzad, Keshvari, and Rafiei 2019). The nursing professional is my passion; hence, attracts the best from me. Working in care delivery units is essential to me as an individual as it impacts by enhancing positive attitude and commitment to seeing every patient, accessing the best care possible. In so doing, positive reviews and feedback have been accorded to me by the Head Nurse, other medical professionals as well as the patients (Benade, Du Plessis and Koen 2017).
The future developments can be achieved by being based on the capacity to deal with the emotional context while working in healthcare delivery. As a compassionate and empathetic individual, emotional control is vital to effective care provision. However, the environment puts one at the risk of becoming too much emotionally attached to the patients. Thus, one is exposed to the risk of being overwhelmed by emotions and fear, should the worst occur to patients one deeply cares about (Jones 2016). Therefore, the best strategies for dealing with the potential problem should include continuous psychotherapy sessions to remain in control of my most crucial qualities as a nurse. This is important as it enhances continuity of the tremendous work of caring for the patients to the maximum ability.
The understanding of geriatric care provision is fundamental as it enhances one’s ability to offer the necessary support to patients effectively. The research in the practice of dealing with different health problems and care provision is essential in building skills and capacity in care delivery (Yous et al. 2019). For instance, dealing with patients who have dementia requires additional attention and care than chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. The capacity to respond to the patient’s aggressiveness and violent tendencies are essential for the nurses (Paavilainen, Slaminen-Tuomaala, and Leikkola 2012). The clear identification and safety measures for the nurses should be advanced based on the patient’s diagnosis and treatment demands. In turn, it enables every professional nurse to operate effectively.
Moreover, additional research on nurses’ state of mind and capacity to deal with emotional context and feelings is essential. More evidence is required to clearly understand the impacts of emotions and how their contradicting nature should be handled (Paavilainen et al. 2012). This is critical to avoid turning strengths into vital weaknesses that increase the risk among the nurses. Therefore, proper support mechanisms for the nurses should be advanced.
The context of working in an Acute Care for the Elderly requires the nurses to be extensively trained, prepared and supported to deal with diverse problems. The nature and context of ACE require the nurses’ commitments and high level of professionalism. The capacity to maximize the strengths, as identified in the SWOT analysis, is critical for the optimal functionality of the nurses. It is paramount to maintain strengths without turning them into weaknesses that risk the life of the nurses. The provision of the support system and psychotherapy sessions is essential in dealing with emotions and experiences encountered during care provision. The hospital environment is bound to witness deaths from time to time. Therefore, the paper notes that it is fundamental to enable nurses to pass the occurrence of deaths occurring in the healthcare facility, especially when involving patients who they have cared for over time.
In conclusion, RNs serve as an integral entity in ACE care delivery. To achieve the optimum objective care provision, nurses must be provided with the necessary support. As committed and passionate professionals in the field, providing the best care to patients is the optimal objective. The outcome of having the patients heal and regain good health status is core to the nursing profession. However, in the occurrence of death, dealing with the emotions and feelings associated with the incidence is essential to avoid depression and emotional problems. Therefore, commitment, passion, and care to patients in the ACE impact profoundly on building skills that positively enhance the capacity to operate on the broader nursing profession.