Last semester, I spent about 10 hours spread out over at least 6 weeks with a resident at the nursing home I do my clinicals at. I did my NANDA and care plans on her, and got to know her pretty well.
This semester I have been at the same nursing home, but I hadn't noticed her scooting around the facility in her wheelchair. Granted, I was busy talking to other residents or following around the director of nursing. But this week was my 'med pass' week, where I handed out medications to the residents all day long. The 200 hall at this nursing home is called The Unit, and the Alzheimer, dementia and high-skilled nursing patients live there, behind a locked door. So I'm beginning my morning at 6:waytooearly A.M and I hear the characteristic nasally deep breathing M.C. has. So I flip to the room the breathing is coming from and I see her picture tucked into the folder. I started pulling out her medications, and noticed a lot more dementia medications than the previous semester, but didn't think much of it. I walked in to her room and cheerily said "Good morning!". I pretty much stopped dead in my tracks as I stared, horrified, at this... body, that resembled the M.C. I knew and loved.
She had that characteristic look of someone who's here, but not really 'here'. Her eyes were unfocused, and she Made no sense when speaking. I watched her choke down her pills and walked out of the room feeling stunned and a little empty.
I can't work in nursing homes. I can't watch patients deteriorate. I can't do that. Obviously patients deteriorate in hospitals, I'm not naive, but patients at nursing homes... you learn so much about them: their quirks, dislikes, funny habits, their sense of humor. And then you watch them completely change. And it kills me.
So nope. Nursing homes are definitely not the place for me.