It is news we have been hoping for, waiting for, and praying for.
Our daughter LauraRN will soon be having new letters and a title with her name!
All of us need to rejoice!
This will effect hundreds, nay, THOUSANDS of people's lives!
It could even effect YOU personally!While we are cheering for other young people right now who are putting their lives into learning how to best slide down mountains and dance on ice...
While we pay millions to see other people play act in movies, and to read all about their lives in magazines...
While we set aside time and money to pursue and participate in traveling, ceremonies, and pleasures...
This young woman, my daughter, is choosing to put years of her life into learning all that she can about things that will matter to all of us who expect to grow old.
While the world celebrates the baby, the child and the beautiful young adults with adorable pictures and stories, the elderly life phase is being quietly re-examined and re-considered by geriatric experts.
There are questions that they are asking that we all should be asking ourselves:
How shall it be to be old?
How shall it be to be old and frail?
How shall it be to be old and needing care?
What will be done for (or about!) you and for me when we become old.
If we as women live to be 90...should we still have our yearly mammograms?
And what if cancer is found....would it be best for us to undergo chemo, radiation, or surgery?
What if we are experiencing age related dementia...will we be OK with the procedures that are needed for a mammogram?
If we are 90, and have a stroke, and are unable to speak or eat, and our heart stops, will administrating CPR still make sense to us?
(Not CPR as portrayed on television...CPR as it is in real life; with the smell of burning electrocuted flesh, the sound of ribs being broken, and needles being punched into a naked and exposed body surrounded by a host of people? And if the heart begins to beat again, each breath will be taken with the hideous pain from the expansion of ribs that will take take months to heal).
Would we rather be pain free and unaware of family that flies in for a final farewell, or awake, and in agony?
When we are old, will our goals be honored? Will we be allowed to die at home if we wish, instead of undergoing another round of treatment in a hospital?
What is "old" anyway? Is it a number, or a state of being? Can you be old at 50? Can you not be old at 85?
Will decisions by us concerning quality of life and quanity of life be honored?
Will our decisions be trumped by the decisions made by others who do not know us?
Who will we be able to trust to help guide us and our families in making decisions concerning final days?
What of those who have no family who cares about them? What of those who gradually lost kin to due to time or distance or family dysfunctions?
I listen to the health care debate, and shudder at the mention of "death panels".
I also shudder at the mention of treatments given to terminally sick elderly who wish to die gracefully, yet endure last ditch efforts to sooth the conscience of family members who want "everything done" when they themselves couldn't be bothered to even call or write or visit in the prior years.
These situations play out all around us. We want to look away...we want to hope that all will be just fine...and we don't really want to think about all this...until the moment that we have to.
As I said at the beginning of this post: Rejoice.
There are people, not many, but a few, who are willing to take up the task of gaining knowledge about these matters, and who will gain wisdom to share, who are willing to pray and hug and listen, and more importantly, are willing to spend time and money to get some letters and a title added to their name that will grant them the right and priviledge to speak out.
Laura will be one of those people.
She has been accepted into a Master's Degree program at Pt. Loma Nazarean University. She will be studying for her Master of Science in Nursing, concentrating on Geriatrics and Pallative Care.
She has worked in America's finest hospitals in ICU units, Oncology wards, and Bone Marrow transplant units. She has participated in delivering the most cutting edge life saving measures.
Now she works in Hospice, seeking to provide what is most important when the life saving measures will not save, when "treatment" can not deliver the "outcome" of cure or relief.
She has always been there for me when I needed a nurse. I am in awe that she will know what I will need as I and those I love age.
There will be at least two years of schooling ahead for her, done while working full time as a Hospice intake nurse, paying her own way, hopefully with scholarships easing the financial burden. (If only she was able to ski or dance well on ice...then she would be getting paid by some corporate sponsor as she learns, instead of paying for her studies herself. Ah well...society's values often defy reason).
Right now she is the person getting paid to be with patients and family as they confront an inevitable truth: Death is certain, yet life remains; goals can be set and comfort can be achieved.
She is paid to be in the room with those adjusting to their new reality.
Those in the room with her are lucky to have her there. For them the moment will pass, but for her there is always another such moment to come. She is ready each time, for each family, for each person.
And because she cares, she is willing to spend some of her life to prepare to know how nurses can care better for all of us in the future.
That's my idea of fantastic news.
That's my idea of cause for rejoicing.
Mammogram/elderly demetia blog post-love this one!
Last years of life needs. of the oldest of the old.
Quote about Geriatric Advance Practice Needs:
The need for geriatric advanced practice nurses (APN) is growing as our nation's older adult population continues to expand with baby boomers nearing retirement age. Geriatric APNs are expert nurses prepared at the master's degree level who provide, direct, and influence the care of older adults and their families in a variety of settings. These nurses are uniquely prepared to improve outcomes of care, promote quality of life, and provide comprehensive care for older adults.
Though the need for geriatric nurses has been identified, the number of students pursuing this field of expertise has not expanded sufficiently, nor been distributed appropriately to various geographic regions and health care settings. The reasons behind the lack of student interest include a limited number of master's programs in this area, few scholarship opportunities, and the lack of visible leadership to attract new students to this career path. If we are not successful in recruiting new students into geriatric nursing, we will limit the access to and quality of care available to our aging population.