|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Discrimination Nursing care Emotional intelligence Human services|
When I am providing healthcare services to an individual, I always tend to be empathetic to their situation. This is a human instinct that I have had since I joined the nursing profession. I always tend to relate the condition of the patients to their environments, mental states, and other systems that influence the health and well-being of individuals. I always find myself conversing with the patients I am caring for, and sometimes I tend to develop personal or rather emotional relationships with some of my patients. I acknowledge that the relationship between a nursing practitioner and a patient plays a crucial role in their recovery journey. I also understand that creating trust with patients improves their psychological perception of the healthcare services and the system, which is essential to their well-being. However, there are times when I feel uncomfortable when providing healthcare services to some patients. For instance, when I am caring for people with mental health disorders or people suspected or convicted of serious crimes, I always feel tense. This hampers my ability to provide quality care to them. However, I always try my best to ensure my perception of such individuals does not affect my ability to discharge my duties as a nurse. I have been working on a program that will enable me to relate better with mentally ill patients and also felons or convicts.
Several ageism or age bias-related issues can be seen after reading the discussion post. Ageism is a term used in medicine or healthcare services to refer to the discrimination of people who are more advanced in their age (Chopik & Giasson, 2017). Age bias differs from one culture to the other or from one nursing practitioner to the other. There has been an increasing trend in life expectancy in the global population. This has led to a corresponding increase in the percentage of older adults in the worldwide community. Older adults have become an enormous burden weighing not only on their families but to healthcare systems across the world. The pressure exerted by the rising percentage of older adults on healthcare systems comes from the utilization of medical resources, the establishment of funding of specialized care services, support from the society, and government, among other sources. From the discussion post, one learns that the student does not particularly enjo6y dealing with elderly patients. He/she feels that they are inactive members of society who lack the desire or ability to take good care of their bodies. The fact that the student feels fascinated or rather enjoys providing healthcare services to teenagers, young adults, and adults and feels that dealing with older adults is not his/her passion is an exhibition of age bias. Age bias is mostly caused by social factors such as childhood relations with older people with involved health complications (Williams et al., 2017). Life experiences with older people in society greatly influence the way professionals to provide services to them. Most members of the modern western community consider older adults as inactive, skeptical, and conservative people who have minimal impacts on development. This is contrary to the eastern society's perspective of older adults as a source of wisdom, authority, guidance, and experience. This cements the statement that age bias against older people is influenced by the past experiences of an individual, his/her beliefs, values, or education experience. Healthcare professionals may also develop age bias through their interactions with patients with chronic illnesses or fragile medical conditions, some of whom may be near the end of their lives (Toygar & Kardakovan, 2020).
Discrimination against older adults in the provision of healthcare services or ageism could be one of the forms of bias in society (Demir et al., 2016). Practicing nurses and nursing students have portrayed negative attitudes to elderly patients, with most of them believing that mental illness was a normal stage in the aging process. Most of the nursing practitioners and nursing students find that elderly patients are challenging to deal with, especially when they have reached a stage where they need psychotherapy, which is not available for elderly patients. The nursing student who wrote the discussion post acknowledges that his/her negative perception or age bias against older adults affects her ability to communicate, relate, or provide healthcare services to them. Nursing students find it difficult to relate to younger patients who have mental health disorders. This is because they are not in a situation to provide them with sufficient help they need.
I have not only witnessed but also perpetrated several age bias behaviors throughout the time I have been a nursing student. I remember a scene vividly when an older patient was dismissed from the ER with a pathology that was dismissed by the physician as a feature of old age. Another ageism scenario that I witnessed is the denial of screening services to older adults. Most healthcare providers insist that screening services are available only under invitation. Another example of age bias that is highly prevalent is secondary referral. Some healthcare services providers aim at reducing the number of patients who are admitted. Age bias plays a crucial in the dismissal of older patients from being admitted, with most of healthcare service providers dismissing some of the conditions as age-related.
The only form of age bias I perpetrated as a nursing student is when I chose to attend only to young patients when I was doing my nursing practice. We were asked to select three patients to attend to from a group of 15 patients. I decided to choose younger patients because of my perception that older people were slow and would take much of my time to get their personal information. I was also of the impression that it would take me longer to explain the prognosis, diagnosis, and prescription to older patients.
It is essential to establish community-based educational models to fight age bias not only in healthcare services but in all sectors of the economy. Education models should mostly focus on social interaction and engagement. Firstly, ageism should be integrated into the curriculum of the united states. From the early stages of education, children should learners should be educated on the various aspects related to different ages; discrimination against older people should be given a particular focus, as it is the most prevalent form of age bias in the united states. Nursing should also focus more on age bias as access to quality healthcare services is greatly affected by the rampant cases of age bias. Nursing students should be educated about the negative impacts of age bias on the trust of the healthcare system by the public. Including that people of all ages have access to information regarding the adverse effects of age bias is the key to ensuring that prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination against people based on their age has no place in American society.
Oversight organizations to work in collaboration with medical schools and healthcare service providers to ensure that a culture that is non-tolerant to age bias is developed in such institutions should be established. The organizations would also work with community-based bodies to ensure that society understands the negative impacts of age bias. Collaborative measures such as art fairs that are inclusive of community members of all ages should be initiated and held on a regular basis to ensure social participation and engagement. This would go a long way in cementing a tolerant culture that does not discriminate against others based on their age.]
The establishment of models of living for the elderly will also have a positive effect on the perception that older people are a burden to society. Cohousing, villages, and livable communities make it easier to provide older adults with specialized healthcare services and also provide them with a chance to interact with each other as they age. Such communities would also act as areas of learning for student nursing practitioners to relate to different issues associated with old age directly. This could help change the age bias in some of the nursing practitioners and nursing students. Nursing practitioners or individuals who could have developed negative attitudes towards the elderly due to past life experiences could also use such settings for therapeutic purposes.
Chopik, W. J., & Giasson, H. L. (2017). Age differences in explicit and implicit age attitudes across the life span. The Gerontologist, 57(suppl_2), S169-S177.
Demir, G., Bicer, S., Bulucu-Boyuksoy, G. D., & Ozen, B. (2016). Attitudes of nursing students about ageism and the related factors. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 9(3), 900-908.
Toygar, I., & Kardakovan, A. (2020). Factors affecting the attitudes of nursing students toward ageism. Nursing Practice Today.
Williams, K., Shaw, C., Lee, A., Kim, S., Dinneen, E., Turk, M., ... & Liu, W. (2017). Voicing ageism in nursing home dementia care. Journal of gerontological nursing, 43(9), 16-20.
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