Friday, January 11, 2013

Public Health

In an effort to make this blog a titch more... medical, I'm going to post about my weekly experience in my clinical rotations. This past week was the public health side of nursing; I got to play with little preschoolers on Wednesday and with mentally handicapped elementary schoolers and middle schoolers on Thursday.

Wednesday was so much fun. I played with the kids, and watched how the program Head Start works. I was very impressed with the structure of the class, and how the teachers have taught the kids excellent manners and hand washing skills. I got to play with dolls, blocks and puzzles with the kids during free play, and I got at least 5 of the most precious leg hugs of my life. Seriously, how cute is the leg hug?! I don't get them very often, so naturally my heart melted every time it happened.
While I had a really great, fun time with the kids... I couldn't really see the purpose of me being there. These kids were healthy and active, with no apparent disabilities. So while it was fun, it kind of seemed, well, pointless. Though I did get to see how normal, happy, healthy young kids act when they aren't sick, so hopefully that will help me be able to recognize when something isn't quite right with my future patients.

Thursday was a completely different experience: these kids were mentally and physically disabled. I spent my day with a class of various mental disabilities, and various ages. The youngest kid was 8, and the oldest was 18. None of them had Down Syndrome, and some had such slight disabilities it took me a while to figure out exactly why they were at the school. Eventually I noticed that most the kids had interpersonal issues, which eventually lead me to Autism and Asperger's syndrome. I talked about lime Cheetoes (did you know they exist?) and answered a lot of personal questions with the kids. We played board games and did math problems together (I know, Courtney? Doing math? Willingly?).
This clinical was more medically associated, though I did not get any medical hands on experience. It was good to see the normal functioning level of these kids though, and I'm sure it will help me know how to help care for special needs patients in the future.

So there you have it. Clinical week one, semester two!

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