Barbara T. has been in the field of nursing for more than 20 years. For most of those years, she has worked with the elderly. Geriatric nursing has been a major part of her nursing career, and she has found joy and contentment within this specialization.
"People will often ask me which field of nursing I am in once I tell them what I do for a living," Barbara stated. "When I reply that I am a nurse, they will then ask me where I work. Their eyes light up, and I am not sure what they are expecting to hear, but once I tell them that I am in the field of geriatric nursing, their excited expression suddenly fades away. It is almost as if they are disappointed." Barbara often hears the question, "Aren't you bored?" to which she replies "Absolutely not." Barbara noted the following: "People do not realize the magnitude of intelligence that is behind that elderly face. The elderly are absolutely amazing, and I have learned so much from them. It is a joy and an honor to care for them."
Barbara T. knew when she was young that someday she would become a nurse. "I was the little mother in the neighborhood. I was always taking care of someone. I thrived on it." When she finished nursing school, she accepted the first job offer she received from a nursing home. "It was the floor that nobody wanted, the one that people transferred out of often." It was tough work and very physical. Barbara stayed there for six years, but then decided to look for a job closer to home. "I never had trouble getting a job. That is one of the nice things about being a nurse." This time the job was within an assisted living facility. This was new to her, and she loved it. The individuals that she cared for were still elderly, but they could do more for themselves, and the conversation was even more spectacular. "It was like having many grandmas and grandpas around you all day. It was great!"
Barbara T. cut down to part-time status after another six years and accepted a geriatric nursing job at the local hospital nursing home. "The benefits were so much better, and it was a great opportunity to get my foot in the door." This type of elderly care was even more intriguing to Barbara. This was an establishment that followed the Eden Alternative. They believe that the elders should have a more "home-like" environment. "It was beautiful. I was able to do things that I have never done before in nursing. I was also able to spend more time with them doing things that you would do at home, such as cooking, singing and reading to them."
Barbara T. stated that she has had some very memorable moments in her lifetime of geriatric nursing. She hopes that everyone will give geriatric nursing a chance, as they too will discover how much this age group has to offer.
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