I am writing a reflective account on how my personal beliefs and experience’s influenced my professional interaction with various groups and individuals. For example my first job in the care industry was working at a nursing home for residents with all forms of Alzheimer’s. I had never done this type of work before, so my first day for me was both a new experience and environment. I had never dealt with people who have a communication barrier, where they could not express their emotions.
Before having worked in the care home, and not having any knowledge on Alzheimer’s, I would have categorised them all in the same box, i. . all being the same as opposed to possibly having different stages and levels of Alzheimer’s. I also found it hard to grasp and understand how you could forget the basic aspects of what we do in everyday life i. e. eating, drinking and remembering your own name. I therefor found it hard to communicate and engage with them, as I did not understand their condition. Prior to working with Alzheimer’s patients I had never come across somebody who, not only had Alzheimer’s, but in addition was hard of hearing and/or partially sighted. I found this difficult at first because I didn’t know how to interact with them.
I overcame this by learning to understand each one of their characteristics, by the way they spoke, mannerisms, their body language and by getting to know them as an individual. I learnt how I could interact with them on a one to one level and ascertain their needs and requirements. Alzheimer’s patients need a certain level of care, therefore I undertook training that was offered by my place of employment. This included a person first and dementia second course which explained how the resident should always come before the dementia and how their best interests should always be taken into account as a first priority.
In addition I undertook a course on palliative care. This taught me how to care for somebody who was in their finally stages of dementia ,in terms of assisting them, improving their quality of life and by providing increased comfort by promoting their dignity towards the end of their life. I also took a course in movement and handling where I learnt how to manoeuvre my residents in a safe manner by either using sliding sheets or hoisting equipment, these techniques helped me to assist them with as little discomfort as possible.
Some of our residents are unable o communicate with us and are unable to express feelings of discomfort or pain, so this course was beneficial to me because it provided a safe way for me to move my residents with ease. If i was to continue exclusively in this line of nursing, I could do NVQ courses in health and social care with my place or of work, and attend courses they provide for me. If I wanted to further my career I could potentially go onto university and train to be a mental health nurse. This will enable me to be more aware of how this disease can start and what’s involved in the long term.
Following Gibbs framework on reflection (1998) stage 5; I conclude from this experience that I have gained more patience with others by understanding their different needs. I have learnt how to communicate on different levels, with residents, family members, colleagues and senior professionals i. e. doctors and nurses which I struggled with initially. I have become more compassionate as a result of dealing with the end of life process, so my personal beliefs or thought process will not influence my professional interaction with dementia patience because I have gained a better understanding of their condition.