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There are many different professions that one can choose when entering the healthcare field. Nursing is a very popular and needed profession that is vital to care for patients. For this paper I have chosen to interview my younger cousin who currently works for the VA Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada as a Registered Nurse in the Medical Surgical Unit. I will describe the targeted facility and unit she works for, the type of work done within her unit, any interesting, informative, or specific information related to the chosen unit which makes it unique, and a comprehensive description of my cousin, and her responsibilities.
The facility that my cousin works at is The Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital. The purpose of this facility is to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans. The particular unit she works for is the Medical Surgical Unit.
Some of the types of work done in this unit is to consult and coordinate health care team members to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate patients, write up care plans, prepare and administer (orally, subcutaneously, through IV) prescribed medication and records, report adverse reactions to medication or treatments in accordance with the policy in regards to administration of medications by a licensed registered nurse, educate patients on surgical procedures, record patients’ medical information and vital signs, monitors and adjust any specialized equipment used on patients, monitors and adjusts specialized equipment used on patients, and interprets and records electronic displays.
More tasks that are required of her in her unit are initiating corrective action whenever the patient displays adverse symptomatology, she also provides bedside care for a wide variety of medical patients including pre- and post-surgery patients, initiates patient education plan as prescribed by physician which may include teaching patients and significant others how to manage their illness/injury by explaining post-treatment home care needs such as: changes of dressings, insertion of catheters, and starting IVs. Other tasks include preparing equipment, aiding physician during examination and treatment of patient, and participation in discharge planning. All the tasks that she is required to accomplish on a daily basis require that she utilizes time management skills, attention to details, and accurately record all care information concisely and completely in an efficient manner. A very important trait that she must possess is to be adaptable, and have the ability to perform other duties as assigned.
Some interesting, informative, or specific information related to this department that makes it unique are that they cater to the veteran population and an age group that ranges from 50s-90s. She states that working for the VA Hospital she must understand what the veteran have gone through and understand where they are coming from. For instance, she needs to be sensitive to the facts that some of these veterans may suffer from post-traumatic syndrome disorder from war or other causes that may cause them extra stress or anxiety from being cared for in the Medical Surgical Unit. This requires that my cousin needs to not only have the professional skills that she learned in school, but also requires on sense of compassion that cannot being taught, but comes from within. A sense of empathy would also help in this field as it is allows for the nurse to not only care for the patient professionally, but also on a level that allows them to be cared for on a personal level which may help with the healing process as they may feel more important, and receiving better care rather than just being seen as another patient.
When I was asked to find a healthcare individual to interview for my paper I chose my younger cousin because she is newer to the field, and would offer the most current description of her field without any bias that some nurses tend to have after working in the field for so long. She started her nursing career at the age of 23, and she does admit that she did have a hard time relating with her patients because of their ages and the types of experiences that some had to deal with. The transition she explains was hard because unlike her at age 23, these patients were sent off to war to protect their country. Many of them didn’t even have the privilege of having an education like she did. Another apparent difference was that her goals were to go to college and advance her career, and her patients’ goals were fighting for our country, and starting a family was insignificant. Now after being a nurse for a few years she was able to learn their point of views.
For example, she explains that telling a veteran to be careful when getting up from the bed to go to the bathroom is embarrassing for them. These men have an idea in their head that they’re still that tough guy who can handle anything, and for someone young like her to tell them to be careful, makes them feel inferior and weak. This then becomes a really difficult communication barrier to overcome and it takes time, effort, and compassion to understand them. In my cousins own words, “It is still my job and my responsibility that these veterans are getting the appropriate care they deserve because that is who I’ve chosen to work for and what the department of veterans affairs stands for.”
After my interview with my cousin, I have a new found respect for her, and Medical Surgical Nurses, and those who work with her to care for our Veterans. Not only does she have to handle the difficult, and stressful tasks that she is dealt with everyday, but she also must be able to handle the types of patients that she cares for. These patients have had to go through difficult situations that civilians would never have to endure. A civilian would never have to deal with coming back from a war, and possibly have seen many people die, or have that fear that they may die far from home.
Having these types of stress that veterans deal with may make their mentality different from regular patients, and in turn cause difficulty for nurses that need to care for them. Therefore, a patient that is cared for with the compassion that my cousin offers as a nurse is very fortunate, and I know that she must feel as though she is making a difference in the lives of the patients she cares for. As I mentioned in the beginning that there are many fields to choose from in healthcare, but a nurse must be able to offer care both professionally and selflessly on levels that are beyond just caring for patient.