Caring for the elderly can be a trying yet rewarding experience, as with many roles in nursing. As a practical nurse, you may find yourself drawn to elderly care for a combination of reasons, from your own personality traits to your ideal workplace. With training from Discovery Community College, you can gain experience in real-world settings during your preceptorship placements, which will help you get a better idea of what role you want to work in as a future practical nurse.
Overall, when communication between healthcare providers is clear and continuous, positive patient outcomes are seen. However, on your own as a practical nurse, there are some things you can do to both improve your patient’s medical experience and ensure their proper care. Continue reading to see our 5 tips for new practical nurses to bring with them on the job when caring for elderly patients.
1. Technique for Overcoming Hearing Challenges
Many elderly patients experience sensory challenges, such as distractions, cognitive impairments, and accompanying caregivers. One of the most common challenges results from hearing loss, which can make communication difficult with your patient.
To limit issues from hearing challenges, nurses should be sure to limit background noise, speak clearly and loudly without yelling, and be sure their faces are in view of the patient when speaking to them.
2. Exercise Patience at Every Step
Patience is another key quality that will help both the practical nurse and the patient remain calm and feel respected. Due to the nature of the patient’s medical conditions, they may frequently forget instructions or information, require additional explanations, or have delayed reactions.
The nurse can exercise patience in these cases, being sure not to rush through patient care. Ensuring that all patients have an understanding of their care when at all possible is a right that must be prioritized. Slowing down your words, speaking clearly, and repeating yourself with care will help in these situations.
3. Build Rapport with Patients After Nursing School
After nursing school, you may initially find it difficult to connect with each and every patient. However, once you get a feel for your practice and gain confidence, you’ll feel more comfortable building respectful relationships with your patients. The practical preceptorship component of your training with DCC will also help with this, as you’ll have plenty of opportunities to interact with patients in a similar setting.
4. Show Sincerity to Every Patient
Practical nursing training will teach you that proper healthcare is important, as is making the patient feel truly cared for. This can sometimes require going beyond the bare minimum during your care to ask questions about their lives, their social circles, their families. It can be lonely needing extended medical care, and elderly patients want to feel like themselves as much as possible, just like any other patient. Be sure to take a moment with each patient to make sure you’ve shown sincerity in your care by finding out something new about them or allowing them to tell you what’s on their mind.
5. Ensure Consistent Comfort for Patients
While precise and accurate care is your top priority, your job as a nurse goes beyond necessary tasks and charting. Any tips and tricks you can use to improve patient comfort are much appreciated by anyone, especially elderly patients. These may include fresh socks and blankets, washing the patient’s hair, helping them change to fresh gowns, positioning them towards a window if possible, and more. These small gestures, combined with sincere and genuine conversation, can go a long way, while also making your shifts more rewarding in the end.
Do you want to become a practical nurse?
Contact Discovery Community College for more information!