Nursing is defined by compassion and caring. Nurses live and witness caring deeds on a daily basis. The following are examples of a reflection experience that enhanced the meaning of the content of my discipline:
The following is a journal I wrote after attending a veteran's community care center. This was my favorite clincal day in NURS 4560
Veteran’s Community Care Center
I really enjoyed my day at the Veteran’s Community Care Center (VCC). I especially benefited from spending time and talking with the veterans. They were very welcoming and seemed to be very happy to have students there with them. The VCC is a great opportunity for these men to venture out of their normal setting and learn how to socialize and reintegrate into the community. The environment of the VCC was very inviting and the staff members were informative and supporting. All of the veterans were diagnosed with some type of chronic schizophrenia, including; paranoid, residual, undifferentiated, or disorganized. A few of the men were diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. All of the men seemed to be coping with their disease well and were very knowledgeable and shared their experiences and struggles with all of us students.
To start the day off we were introduced to the staff and participated in the eight o’clock daily staff meeting. At the meeting we went over the agenda for the day, which was led by program coordinator, Joe Andrews. Next, we went through a quick orientation and toured the new facility. The veterans came in around ten o’clock. Most of them were picked up from their homes by the transportation team from VCC, which is just one of the services the VCC offers. Once all the veterans arrived, they called a community meeting that was led by president of patient consumer government, which was one of the veterans. During the community meeting the attendance was taken, the veterans asked numerous questions, and the staff talked a little about the new facility. After the meeting was over the veterans were free to find “their spot” or participate in one of the activities offered. Some of the possible activity options include: shooting pool, playing cards, piecing puzzles, watching movies, and many arts and crafts, such as; model cars and boats, painting, and drawing. During free time, I spent time with two veterans from the Vietnam War. We played Rummy, a card game they both perfected during down time at war and on base. It was interesting to me to watch the veterans interact with each other. I was amazed at how supportive and helpful they were to each other. For instance, one of the older men of the group, that had lost one of his eyes to cancer, was having trouble putting his dollar in the vending machine to get a snack. It was not long before two others were right at his side offering a helping hand. I thought it was awesome that there is such a wonderful place that these men, all of which have similar life experiences, can gather to support one another and promote independence. After lunch, we all loaded in the vans and rode to the VA hospital where they were hosting a car show. The veterans really seemed to love this activity. A lot of them were reminded of their past and started talking about their first cars. We all had a really good time.
It was amazing to be able to give back a little to these men that once fought for our country. I enjoyed seeing these men, all of which have a mental illness, fight their diseases and make an effort to be active in the community. If it were not for the VCC, these men would rarely get the chance to leave their homes, and maybe even end up back in the hospital. Through this clinical activity I got to see what a major impact a mental illness can haves on a person’s life and the adaptive coping skills needed to overcome and fight the disease. Overall, I really enjoyed my day at VCC and would love to go back.