Clinical Experience as a Student Nurse Practitioner Caring for Geriatric Patients at a Family Health Clinic
As a student nurse practitioner, I got the opportunity to care for senior patients during this week’s practical experience in a family health clinic. This experience taught me a lot about the particular problems and triumphs that come with maintaining the health of the elderly. I spent the week conducting assessments, developing care plans, and implementing health promotion programs customized to the specific needs of elderly patients. This reflection will cover the difficulties encountered, accomplishments, a patient assessment scenario, health promotion interventions, and the significant lessons learnt from this clinical experience.
Successes and Setbacks
The complexity of managing various comorbidities in older patients was one of the problems I experienced during this week’s clinical experience. Addressing these issues while considering potential pharmaceutical interactions and ensuring patient safety necessitated meticulous attention and coordination with the healthcare team. Furthermore, developing appropriate communication skills and relationships with senior patients, some of whom may have cognitive impairments or sensory deficiencies, proved difficult yet necessary for providing complete care.
Witnessing the incredible impact of health promotion interventions on geriatric patients was a huge success during this week’s clinical experience. I noticed patients actively engaged in their health management by emphasizing preventive care, health education, and lifestyle changes. This empowerment and improved understanding of their health requirements led to better adherence to treatment programs, which resulted in improved health outcomes and general well-being.
Patient Evaluation and Care Plan
Mrs Johnson, an 80-year-old female, complains of overall weakness, weariness, and increased shortness of breath when performing daily chores.
S&S (Signs and Symptoms):
1. Generalized ailment
3. Excessive shortness of breath
– Examine the medical history, including previous medical issues, current medications, and allergies.
– Physical examination, including vital signs, cardiopulmonary evaluation, and oxygen saturation levels assessment.
– Complete geriatric evaluation, including cognitive function, nutritional state, and functional ability.
– Laboratory testing includes a complete blood count, metabolic panel, and lipid panel.
– An EKG is used to evaluate heart function.
– A chest X-ray to assess pulmonary health.
Differential Diagnosis Possibilities:
1. Congestive heart failure (CHF): Given the patient’s symptoms of exhaustion, widespread weakness, and shortness of breath, CHF could be a possibility. Further diagnostic testing, including echocardiography and BNP level, could assist in confirming the diagnosis.
2. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Given the patient’s complaints of exhaustion, shortness of breath, and the possibility of a smoking history, COPD is a plausible differential diagnosis. Spirometry and chest X-ray findings can help confirm this diagnosis.
3. Anemia may contribute to the patient’s weariness and weakening symptoms. Laboratory tests, such as a complete blood count, will aid in determining haemoglobin and hematocrit levels.
Rationales for Differential Diagnoses: The differential diagnoses listed below are widespread in the geriatric population and correspond to the patient’s presenting symptoms. Additional diagnostic testing and coordination with other healthcare professionals will be required to ensure proper assessment and suitable therapy to confirm the diagnosis.
Health Promotion Intervention: Geriatric patients must incorporate health promotion therapies. A health promotion intervention for Mrs Johnson could include providing education on the importance of regular physical activity tailored to her abilities, promoting a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and emphasizing the importance of medication adherence to managing her chronic conditions effectively.
Research Guideline Support and Lessons Learned
I learned the value of comprehensive geriatric assessments and tailored treatment plans for senior patients through this clinical experience. Understanding the complexities of their health needs, treating comorbidities, and encouraging active patient participation in self-care is critical for successful outcomes.
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) publishes evidence-based guidelines for the care of older individuals to supplement the plan of care. The AGS recommends regular examinations of functional status, cognition, and social support, as is prioritizing preventative treatment and health promotion programs customized to individual needs (AGS, 2019). This recommendation is consistent with the approach taken during the clinical experience, emphasizing the need for comprehensive assessments and health promotion treatments in optimizing senior patients’ well-being.
The clinical experience gained while caring for senior patients at a family health clinic provides significant insights into the problems and triumphs experienced while managing the health of the elderly. The goal was to address the unique needs of geriatric patients through patient assessments, the development of tailored care plans, and the implementation of health promotion programs. The lessons learnt were comprehensive assessments, excellent communication, and empowering patients via health education and involvement. Advanced practice nurses can provide optimal care for geriatric patients and support their overall well-being by following evidence-based guidelines, such as those published by the AGS.
AGS (American et al.) (2019). AGS Beers Criteria® for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults, 2019 Update. The American Geriatrics Society Journal, 67(4), 674-694. doi:10.1111/jgs.15767
Describe your clinical experience for this week at a family health clinic as a student nurse practitioner caring for geriatric patients.
Did you face any challenges, any success? If so, what were they?
Describe the assessment of a patient, detailing the signs and symptoms (S&S), assessment, plan of care, and at least 3 possible differential diagnosis with rationales.
Mention the health promotion intervention for this patient.
What did you learn from this week’s clinical experience that can beneficial for you as an advanced practice nurse?
Support your plan of care with the current peer-reviewed research guideline.
Post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources.