First things first. I had such a great time working with the staff at Hearts for Hospice. I was able to complete time with the elderly, make blankets for Father’s Day gifts, and I sent many letters to the families of previous clients that had passed away. My eyes have been opened to the great needs that are filled by hospice care workers.
I have always known that hospice care fills a great gap with families and traditional hospital care of patients. Once the decision is made to withdraw or to limit aggressive treatment, it can be hard to find the proper way to treat or care for this patient population. The hospice workers are wonderful at educating, caring, and taking the time to listen to families and patients. I was so surprised to see that hospice services don’t end with death. Letters and resources are sent out 3 weeks after, 3 months after, 6 months after, and 12 months after. Each letter includes resources for families that they may need during those times.
Teaching the staff of a hospice center was not an easy task for me… Slightly out of my comfort zone. This is not an area that I have a lot of experience and I felt that I lacked something to offer. After I discussed with the manager we really felt that a strong review of medications used for pain and anxiety would be appropriate. I took a list of medications from their medical director and started there. He also gave me the common dosages he likes to order so that I could have a thorough presentation. I presented this information during a round table rounding session. It took 15 min and I also included a handout for them to take with. I gave them a small pocket sized cheat sheet with dosages and side effects that they could carry with them. My presentation and handouts had a great reception. The staff seemed to really like the review and handouts.
Moving forward, this experience will serve me well. What I learned from the the staff at Hearts for Hospice was greater than what I provided them. The compassion I was able to witness and the lengths that these individuals go to help their clients was impressive. Taking a topic and teaching different staff in an area that required my research was a growing experience too. I am not convinced that I want to leave anything behind. I have agreed to continue to work with the volunteer coordinator and continue to volunteer more of my time. I have made great friends at Hearts for Hospice and I was touched and impressed with the services and manner in which they provide them.
My experience with volunteering at Hillside rehabilitation has been wonderful and I have really enjoyed it. I remember when I was in high school and use to volunteer at different hospitals and clinics. I had forgotten how rewarding it is to make a difference in the live of others. I plan to continue going to Hillside every Thursday to have my “chit-chat” and do crafting with the few elderly individuals that do not have family or friends that come to visit. As I was leaving the facility today, one of the residents told me she looks forward to Thursdays because I am the only person that comes to visit her. I did not realize that just a few hours of my day would make a huge difference. I was very happy to hear that. For the teaching part of the service-learning project, I decided to teach the CNA’s at the facility on dehydration. Being a nurse and working in long-term care, most of our patients are sent to the hospital and diagnosed with dehydration. I thought it would be of importance if the CNA’s that worked in long term had some knowledge of dehydration and its complications. I feel that my teaching project went really well and received positive feedback. I made a flyer explaining what dehydration was, the sign and symptoms, complication, and prevention methods. This week when I went into the facility, I had CNA’s show me how they have set up water pitchers in the activity room and outside in the garden area for the residents. They would have easy access in case they are outside their room. I was pleased to see that, and hope to make a difference. I have really enjoyed this course and am happy to have experienced it. I have met amazing individuals at Hillside rehabilitation; love the smile I get from the residents when I walk in the door every Thursday.
To be honest with all of you, I enjoyed this semester working with those patients who were hospitalized in a mental hospital, because of their mental and behavioral problems. I said this semester because I had a great opportunity working with older adults as well, which was lots of information and lots of learning, but I do not want to bring those and mix up in this teaching and mentoring class. But I do feel like this semester was a fun semester. We all know we do have to do teaching, sometimes to someone, most of the time to the patients and their families. Teaching those patients who were between ages 9 to ages 17, were really some fun moments. While we had fun together we all did learn lots of different and valuable lessons from teaching and learning.
Those patients I worked with and taught them to change their bad behavior into good behavior, they are there for some physical and mental health reasons. Most of them are very smart, reason I know is as when I was teaching I was giving them chances and time to ask questions, but most of them are very smart and they had very smart questions most of the time. Because of that reason I had to be well prepared for them and think ahead and prepare myself, and little worry about what questions they will have today. I am so proud of myself that I used some teaching techniques, which I learned from my instructors and also from my book and time to time I was getting direction from my instructor, which I will never forget. I was encouraging my patients to how to follow my prompts and learn from my teaching techniques and learn good behavior, which will help them in the future for the whole life.
I am very glad as they did follow my teachings and they were very attentive and focused on the task and did learn and improved their behavior. One thing I know for sure since few weeks after my teaching, who ever spoke to those patients they were all ways well respected and heard good words such as yes sir, yes ma’am, please and thank you from them.
Experience comes from practice and practice makes perfect and the best teachers are the ones who have the most experience. Now that I received some practice and I would love to teach more and more. I feel like I did a good job in teaching those patients and also I was learning while I was teaching. I realized that this kind of teaching was very different than what we do every day with patients. I think my dissemination of health promotion topic went very well. I would like to continue teaching in my career.
I don’t think I will leave anything behind as I have taught and learned many different things that were good during the teaching and learning. Finally I would like to say thank you for giving me this great opportunity of teaching and learning. Also thank you for all your help.
Well, this class has been a surprise. I am not going to lie, I was apprehensive when I found out we had to do a project to volunteer in the community. My first thought was to volunteer with the The Christmas Box and do a service learning that involved children. I was scared to do it though because I thought I would get too attached, so I passed. Now having done one project with the community, I am sure I will volunteer again, and I want my kids to participate. They need to know how it fells to help another individual selflessly and learn what it is like to be a participating member of the community
Working with the community from the first responders perspective is completely different than I had expected. People LOVE firefighter and EMT/Paramedics. They are the hero. They have a side to them that just their presence is reassuring and comforting to almost everyone they encounter. They are there to serve. They work long hours away from their families and may of them work 2nd and 3rd jobs because the pay is not sufficient. They are involved in the community not only by service but just their presence. They attend the parades, they are at the rodeos, the bike races, the marathons, the community fund raisers etc.
I was not able to complete my hours as quickly as I would have liked so I finished them up just last night. I got to be with a crew at the rodeo on “standby.” When I asked what they normally do I was told ” look good and send out the vibe.” In addition to looking good and sending out the vibes, they are there to treat the wounded, banged up and bucked off individuals and take them to the hospital if necessary. For one, it was a simple wrap on his hand where it got caught on a gate latch. Nothing emergent, but definitely convenient.
The teaching-learning project was fun and informative. I got asked to participate with a variety of different individuals teaching on multiple topics. I got to address STEMI and pre hospital care of the chest pain patients. It was a lot of fun. I felt like I had the opportunity to learn from them while volunteering and then had the chance to help them in return. The teaching was long for me because it was all day for 2 days. They have asked me to do a makeup day for those that kept getting called out and were not able to attend with vacations or illnesses. This will be done later in August.
Overall, I enjoyed this experience a lot. Volunteering is something that I will continue and hope to involve my family in as well. Every Christmas we find an organization we can volunteer to as an extended family, but this is something that can be done throughout the year.
What a wild ride!
I have to start by saying that this has been a really fun class for me. I have learned a lot and had some experiences I would have never had without being mandated to complete this project. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been all flowers and cupcakes, but I have loved the experience.
I will start by saying that my service is not over, not do I plan to end it anytime soon. I realize that most of my classmates may not relate to me at all in this respect, but I feel like I really made a difference in someone’s life for the first time in ages. I have been a big part in helping thousands of people going through surgery, but teaching those kids about HIV was a completely different scope of practice. Talking about sexual activity is a difficult thing for most people to do outside of their partners, or close friends. Add to that the fact that these kids are coming to this organization because they are “different” already. Through in this reality that they are sitting in a classroom environment with their peers and two strange adults they’ve never seen before. A pretty uncomfortable scenario right? These youth were amazing! All but one or two just sat quietly and listened for a long time, but eventually everyone chimed in at least once. They were like sponges absorbing the information, and once people started asking questions the environment just lightened. The point is that I personally was able to teach youth about a delicate subject, that could potentially effect their lives in a huge way. I was part of something that allowed them to feel comfortable enough to ask what they may have considered a “stupid question”. While I know that there are no stupid questions, to a timid teenager, there surely are questions that might make them feel stupid for asking. They did it anyway! I was part of that, and that fact alone makes all the work I put into this class worth it. It reminds me of the starfish poem…it made a difference to that one.
I am looking forward to teaching more classes to the youth as well as people of all ages through this organization. I feel better about myself, knowing that I make a difference in someone’s life. Another thing I will be taking with me is my new found interest in HIV. I was a home health aide when I first heard about it. I remember every detail of my first HIV patient, and the absolute fear I was struck with while caring for him. The progress that has been made in those 25 years is astounding. This may be a direction I focus on with my practitioner degree.
I am not sure I can articulate anything specific that I will leave behind, other than the structure and time designations for my service. I want to still teach a class monthly or at least quarterly for as long as the need presents!
I have to say that today I was feeling pretty low life, but writing this blog has honestly filled me with such a sense of accomplishment and gratitude! Thank you for such an awesome opportunity!!
In taking this class, I was not looking forward to the volunteer assignment at all. Though I knew in some way it would probably be a good experience for me to do, spending my precious off time working somewhere else did not appeal to me. I struggled in making myself go some days, but I can tell you that once I got there and spent time with those kids….I ended up having an absolute blast with them.
My time with them and what I taught them may not seem like the most important education that they’re going to receive. I mean, I attempted to teach them how to wash their hands. I say attempted because it really turned into a lot of play time more then actual hand washing time. Though teaching them ended up being a lot of fun. They may know something about germs now and they may have learned something about washing hands, but I do know that they enjoyed learning about it and ended up having a good time.
I did spend majority of my time handing out food to a bunch of different kids each night. I went to different locations at times and would end up meeting a lot of different kids. There was one location I ended up going to the most where I got to know the kids and the families that frequently came for food. After handing out food was done-I would run around with the kids on the playground, spend time talking to them, and be a friend to some of them. It ended up being a lot more then simply giving them a dinner each night. It seemed like some of those kids just needed a person to talk to who wasn’t going to judge them, who wasn’t going to talk down to them-they needed someone who was just going to listen to them.
It was interesting for me, what happened when the moms found out I was a nurse. I don’t think I’ve ever been attacked with so many different medical questions at one time. I have no problem with answering questions that i can, but some of them were pretty difficult! I had to keep reminding them that I’m not a doctor and some of their questions, I had to bring back to some of my surgeons and ask them. For some of these families, they can’t always afford to go to the doctor. I guess they saw me as a convenient link they could use at the moment.
I thought this was going to be simple. I expected it to be me going to these places, handing out food, and going on with my day. I did’t expect to make such a personal connection with some of the kids and their families. I wasn’t expecting to really gain anything from this volunteer experience besides some points for this class. It was a pretty good experience and I’m glad I ended up doing it.