People always say that giving one’s time to others is the most rewarding gift you can give. Behind each volunteer are valuable stories and purposes. In this reflection, I will be sharing all the things I have experienced during my forty hours of service in St. Peter’s Residence. I am grateful to learn the purpose of my service, enhance my personal qualities, test my strength in handling challenges, and improve my practice.
St. Peters Residence is well known for handling a gross amount of elderly that have advanced Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and behaviors. Out of two hundred eleven residents in the facility, eighty percent have mental issues. There are no issues with lack of staffing, but our service is needed when it comes to recreational activities and companionship. As a service provider, it is a must to be aware of the mission, vision, and values to maintain the patient’s centered care. These strategies of engaging the patient in activities improve their physical and mental abilities. On the other hand, the number of residents can be difficult for all the staff to handle, but with the help of the volunteers, it becomes easier. One of the helper’s tasks is to porter clients from the six different sections of the building to the recreation area. I remember listening to this lady who was expressing her feelings and being thankful for giving her a reason to wake up in the morning with a big smile. This statement from her made me realize that my service impacts their daily lives. Another amazing experience was doing friendly visits, which improved my communication skills. It enabled me to apply the things I have learned from school, such as performing the therapeutic technique, when to be assertive, showing compassion, and maintain professionalism. Lastly, there is a huge number of residents that are unable to feed themselves independently. This is one of the reasons why there is a need for service from volunteers so that Personal support workers can do their job faster.
Improved Personal Qualities through Service-Learning
In this section, the improved qualities of a nurse will be discussed. Leadership, compassion, and communication skills strengthening my traits as practicing the role of being a care provider. There were some limits to what we could do, but I was able to experience being a leader when conducting games and trying to get others to play along. I remember one time, there was a misunderstanding between two residents, and I was able to resolve the issue by making things clear and fair. It was in my mind that I am there to promote healthy living and build relationships, therefore, I have to be confident in handling these situations. In connection to this, I was able to communicate with them professionally by asking open-ended questions with no judgment. The lesson that I have learned when solving an issue is to listen carefully, identify the problem, and come up with the best solution. Throughout my time in the nursing home, my compassion builds for every client I have interacted with. In the future, I am sure that it will be my natural ability to instill positivity.
Challenges have become part of life for every individual. As an advocate, one characteristic that must be learned is to be able to know how to empathize with other’s feelings or challenges in their life. Dealing with people that have dementia can be stressful for the care providers, but no one knows how these people feel about their condition. In my practice, I admit that speaking and understanding the English language is my weakness. On my third week of service, I encountered this struggle with one resident asking for help. She was mumbling and kept repeating herself. I could not understand what she was asking for and that made me feel incompetent. According to CNO in the professional responsibility and accountability section in nursing competencies, a nurse must ‘select communication techniques that are appropriate for the client’s circumstances and needs’ (2209). In this case, I should have given the client a pen and paper to write down what she needs. Learning English takes time, but to become a resourceful nurse with good clinical judgment is a requirement in entering the profession. Another challenge is when a resident does not want to eat when feeding them. This was a great experience because it tested my encouragement skills in being able to redirect them when necessary.
In conclusion, every minute I spent at St. Peters Residence caused improvement upon not only my practice but also my personality as a whole. It enlightened my mind that a truly competent nurse is not just about being good in providing care and medication but also having the ability to build an effective therapeutic relationship with their clients. The courage, determination, compassion, and kindness are the perfect ingredients in meeting patient-centered care.
- Downs, M., & Bowers, B. (2014). Excellence In Dementia Care: Research Into Practice: Vol.2nd ed. McGraw-Hill Education.