Some Thoughts on Care in Nursing Homes
A few months back, I wrote about the bad rap psychiatric nurses get amongst other specialties, resulting in a line of thinking that goes "psych nursing isn't real nursing." It's an unfair bias for sure, but it exists nonetheless.
Recently, I've begun to realize there is another peer group that the bulk of nurses seem to look down upon - the nursing home nurse. Once again, the derision is understandable. It is common to see admits from nursing homes with severe pressure ulcers, hygiene issues, and a slew of other "preventable problems." And infections like MRSA or C. diff are usually just assumed for such patients, as they almost always seem to go on immediate contact isolation.
At the same time, although I've never observed or rotated into a nursing home, I expect it must be a very difficult working environment. Many of the patients I've cared for in the hospital who have come from nursing homes are very dependent and often immobile, and, assuming nursing home staff are as understaffed as hospital nurses can often be, I imagine it can be quite a difficult experience.
There probably aren't many easy patients in nursing home facilities, and while I'm not naïve enough to think some of the care in such facilities is lacking, I'm also not jaded enough to outright assume a nurse is solely to blame just because a 300 pound immobilized patient gets a bed sore after two or three months.
In the end, it just seems like a really tough job, and I feel bad for the good, hardworking nurses in those facilities who get a bad reputation. I know it can be very easy to point fingers at those men and women for certain things, but they are doing vital work for a needy and often difficult-to-care-for population, and so I think there's something to be said for that.