Today, the nursing shortage is one of the most pressing problems in healthcare. Nursing positions must be filled fast enough to replace the current nurses as they retire and age. Data estimates show that since 2012, 60000 nurses have been leaving healthcare every year. As a result, more nurses are always needed in this profession and so are Tips For Nurses .
Another reason for the nursing shortage is the increasing baby boomers’ population. According to the Administration on Aging, over 49 million Americans aged 65 or older lived in the US in 2016. The same body predicts that by 2060, there will be 98 million baby boomers in the country. An increasing number of baby boomers means more people will need healthcare services over a longer period. Therefore, healthcare requires expert nurses and Tips For Nurses who specialize in elderly care.
Think about it: if nurses kept leaving this profession at this rate with fewer nurses entering the field, who would manage an ever-increasing number of patients? This question has led many hospitals and other care clinics to support their undereducated nursing staff to get higher education, especially in elderly care.
Nurses who specialize in elderly care are called adult-gerontology nurse practitioners. Their role is quite similar to that of a family nurse practitioner, except that most of their patients are senior citizens. Quite the reverse, in the case of family nurse practitioners, they can treat anyone from infancy through old age. Secondly, family nurse practitioners enroll in an MSN FNP program. In contrast, the latter has to join an MSN AGACNP program to treat elderly patients with acute and chronic conditions. The job of the nurses who work with elderlies can be very challenging. Therefore, they often need guidance to help them make their job easier. Here are a few of those time-tested tips.
1. Be cognizant of your body language
Think about elderlies in your house. How do they react when you don’t look at them when talking or being immersed in your work? You are outright called insolent and disrespectful. Now when the same thing happens in a hospital, the reaction can get amplified because, in that situation, they are already not feeling well. So, the nurses need to be careful about their body language. Make eye contact when talking, and don’t sit while your back is facing your patients. Otherwise, they may feel that you are not interested in your work or even get irritated by you. Some patients also get hesitant in talking to such nurses.
2. Develop rapport with your patients
Senior patients do not just want someone who takes care of their food and medication. They also need their nurse to talk to them and listen to their stories. You know they have spent a life of their own, so they have a lot they want to talk about and share. If you want the patients to listen and not be adamant, develop a rapport. Greet them every day and engage in small talk to make them comfortable with you. The happier they are around you, the easier it is to treat them because, to be honest, old age is like life cycles going full circle in the opposite direction. These senior patients need care, love, and compassion, just like kids.
3. Be patient with them
You cannot treat elderly patients if you cannot maintain your calm. With age, they lose their vibrancy and have many age-related diminishes. Other than the issue they are in the hospital, they may be suffering from imperfect hearing, eyesight, and memory. So, be ready to repeat your words and then repeat them. They may take more time to understand a simple matter. Apart from that, you also need to respect that they have their own opinions. Even if they don’t know anything about the scientific nature and efficacy, they may try to argue based on their prior experience. So, being patient is one essential trait helping you excel in your job. Additionally, you may have to communicate your message to match their level of comprehension.
4. Be respectful about their choices
Being respectful is more than just making eye contact when talking. You have to understand that these people have spent a part of their lives as mothers, fathers, or other elders. Make sure not to shout even if you reiterate one message multiple times. Ask their opinion about small, even trivial matters such as what they want to wear or when they like to go for a walk and make them feel respected. Your positive attitude can make them feel that they control their lives even if the reality is otherwise. They have been making decisions all their lives; suddenly, feeling left out can lead to sadness and hopelessness. This respect not only abridges generational gaps but also eliminates communication lapses.
5. Active listening must be your true friend- Tips For Nurses
Active listening is also a part of effective communication. If you don’t listen to your patient’s response, you’ll never know whether your message was received or how effective it was. When your patients are talking, make sure to let them speak without interjecting them in between. Because age-related diminishes, they may struggle to convey their ideas to you, so you have to pay attention to them while talking. You might even need to use your critical thinking and common sense to interpret the meaning of sometimes incoherent speech.
6. Use easy language- Tips For Nurses
As a nurse, you know all the terms and names of the medicine, but they don’t. When you frequently use difficult medical terms, they can get confused. So use plain and jargon-free language. Instead of using the drug names, highlight what the medication will treat.
7. Be empathetic
Bing empathetic towards the elderly is important to strike the right cords and develop a rapport. You have to make your patients feel that you understand their trials and are with them through this period. Don’t try to trivialize their medical condition. It might be normal for you to see patients with various illnesses; for them, it is a matter of life and death. Communicate your sentiments with words and show compassion.
Working with elderly patients is different from patients of other age groups. But at some level, they might be similar to kids. Like kids, they can be stubborn, unresponsive, or have problems communicating their feelings. So, you have to be patient in your approach, be compassionate, and understanding. At the same time, maintain the dignity of their age and seniority.