Long-term care from the view of a wound care RN

I have been working in a long-term care and rehab facility for nearly two years. I love many of my patients; I feel like I have 150 extra grandparents some days. Some are alert and oriented, while others are quiet and immobile. I see them daily and a few like to visit with me about my family and current life events. There has been a few residents that have touched my heart.

The past week or two I have been having a tough time with work. I have been feeling frustrated and agitated with myself and others. I work very hard to care for my patients. My job is to heal wounds. Some wounds are emptiness in my patients’ hearts, while others are physical breaks in their skin. A kind heart and a bright smile can do well for others during sad times. They often just want to be heard and validated. As far as wounds to an individual’s skin, many factors play a role in the healing process. Nutrition and mobility are two key factors in my patient population. The body requires protein to heal, and geriatric patients with disease complications often have poor appetites. Mobility is important in regards to diabetic ulcers and pressure ulcers.

In order to heal a wound, the task requires a team approach. CNAs, nurses, dietitians, physical therapy, and speech therapy. CNA’s work with our patients the most frequently. They are my eyes and ears. It is important for them to have the knowledge to note changes and notify me, the WCC RN. It is then my job to implement physician orders and do my best to be the physician’s eyes and ears. Sometimes it becomes frustrating when a wound is slow to heal, especially if the area is painful. Families are often concerned, as expected, and it can be difficult to explain at times. But the feeling of telling a patient and family of a healed wound, is inspiring. I feel competent and syccesful. It’s intriguing to watch the healing process. I enjoy helping all of my sweet “extra grandparents”, and I need to remember this during low times, like my past two weeks.

Today, one close to my heart stated I look “different”. She knew right away my usual smile was a little dimmer and my demeanor wasn’t the same.

Today, when I walked into work with my usual cup of coffee, thirty-one lunch thermal, and work tote, I unlocked my office and set down my stuff. I was walking to get my report from the day before when a resident tells me his catheter is leaking. Great. I went to gather supplies when a nurse told me they were clearing the area to bring out the body. This is not uncommon, being I work at a nursing home, but I knew automatically who it was. One of the residents close to my heart. My eyes filled with tears as I returned to my office. I said my usual prayer, as I say for the passing of each resident, but I said an extra prayer for him.

Each day bring new challenges, but we should learn from them and appreciate them.

Today, a member of our therapy surprised me with my fav. Sonic drink, sprite zero and strawberries. Route 44, might I add.

It’s the little things that can brighten your day. I like to think that by giving my residents a simple smile, bringing them a cup of coffee, checking-in on how their day is going, or healing their wound, that I may be brightening their day too.

It’s been a rough week, but i will continue on with a drive and compassion to help others.

Also a tough semester begins Tuesday. Which is part of my added stress.


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