Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thoughts on Dying and Upholding the RN Image

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/facing-death/

Watching the Frontline video titled "Facing Death" has brought about questions regarding morality and ethics: How far will you go to sustain the life of someone you love or even your life? Dying is a normal part of the life cycle, but no one wants to die. The program has showcased how modern  medicine can keep a human body functioning for years but the poor quality of life of someone who is on life support sometimes outweighs being alive. Prolonging someone's life could actually be more harm especially if someone is always suffering from excruciating pain or worst, brain dead. But again I always believe that the right to live belongs to everyone, therefore it is also their right to decide what happens to them. This is why I think it is important for everyone to have personal directive, so that one's wishes will be respected during an event that someone loses the ability to choose. The video didn't talk about euthanasia, or assisted death, but this will always be a topic of controversy around end of life care. No one wants to be in excruciating agony, therefore making sure that someone is comfortable during the last hours of their life is important. Again if we look back on the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence, letting people die with dignity and peace seems to be the right thing to do. Also, if treatment will only cause more pain and suffering for a patient with little to no chance of surviving, that treatment plan should be revised or all out discontinued. Morality will always have a grey area and much discussions about this topic should be pursued for improvements in end of life care to occur. I also find it important for a nurse to be aware of the process of grieving (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) so that a nurse can find the right timing to talk about options left for the patient.

For the journal that I have read regarding the impressions we leave, I find it important for nurses to always be professional with their interactions with their patients. This is especially true for registered nurses as they now have to prove their contribution to health care as licensed practical nurses are able to do what they do and are paid significantly less. Registered nurses should always let their patients know that they are registered nurses, and by informing their patient's this, nurses should definitely need to leave a good impression. As I have seen in clinical, socializing and chatting at the nursing station should be only done when one has made sure that absolutely everything is done for the patient and that one actually spent time to know the patient so that one will have the necessary information to plan competent and compassionate care. Excellent communication skill is really highlighted as this determines the majority of the patient's first impression for the nurse.

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