On my second week of clinical placement during the handover, the registered nurse who I was “buddied” with and I were informed that we would be looking after John (not his real name) who had been suffering from retention of urine, and was in considerable pain on this particular shift. In our plan of care, we included that we have to shower him so the we could start changing him the dressing on his right leg as he had an ulcerated leg due to suffering from a condition known as Peripheral Vascular Disease. As a consequence of this disease he also had his left leg amputated below the knee some years ago and mobilised using a wheelchair. It became clear during the handover that John had been very difficult the last couple of days. It says on the handover that he had thrown items across his room and was constantly pressing his call button and shouting all day, he had also refused to have a wash and change his pyjamas. As we left the room where the handover had taken place, The nurse asked me if its alright on me to check our patient on how he was doing. I knocked on his door and introduced myself as a student nurse, I then asked John for his consent for me to assist him in having a wash and change of clothing. John was sat on his bed, he appeared to be quite tense, he looked up at me and shouted “no, I want to see my doctor! And I haven’t had an alcohol for two days!” I explained that I was here to assist in changing the dressing on his leg and to help him to have a wash and change. I moved closer towards his bed and lowered myself to his eye level. I then began to engage in conversation with him by maintaining a soft tone of voice and asking him if he would like a cup of tea after we had finished. His body language softened and he looked up and smiled, he said ‘I would love one'. I smiled back at John, I then repeated the question of assisting him with having a wash and change, whilst maintaining a relaxed posture and eye contact with him. John gave me his consent and I proceeded to assist him in maintaining his personal hygiene with respect and dignity. With John's co operation my “buddied” registered nurse and I were then able to go on doing our cares to him.
Through this learning experience I encountered different feelings towards the situation. From the initial handover, the registered nurse in charge did not paint a positive picture of John. I wondered why this particular resident was so aggressive and demanding and the healthcare staffs described him as being ‘difficult'. I felt anxious, as this was my second week clinical placement in the hospital as a second year student and I did not feel experienced enough to deal with the situation. During my encounter with John it became clear why he would feel so angry and frustrated. I noticed he didn't have a wheelchair in his room, and it became apparent that he is alcoholic person and when the full extent of John's situation became clear to me, I felt immense frustration for him. We should treat clients with respect and maintain their dignity. With John not having a wheelchair, he was always staying to his bed and therefore had lost his autonomy. The situation also made me very angry, reflecting back I feel I should have been more assertive and maybe questioned why the staff had ignored John’s requests.
It was a shame that the professional staff acted the way that they did, ignoring how angry and frustrated John had become and not acting upon it. The health care staffs’ compassion and communication skills seemed to be very much lacking, not listening to his requests and showing no feeling towards him. This breakdown in communication in the nurse – client– relationship with john, left him feeling frustrated and not in control of his own wellbeing At first, I could not see any good points in this situation; however looking back I can see that it did have its positive side, in as much as allowing me to examine myself...
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