One presentation that I found particularly beneficial from this course came from Dr. Gugliucci. She was able to call out assumptions and stereotypes that the class had previously accepted more or less as truths about the older adult population. It was really eye-opening for me. I think some of us generalize what we have seen in clinicals or other settings to the entire population, which is simply not true. What we see in the hospital of this population is not in fact generalizable and should not be considered the normal process of aging/age-related changes. Many older adults remain highly active and keep the same interests that they had during their earlier years. Working with this population, it is important to remember they are people outside of the hospital, outside of whatever condition they may have.
Another important takeaway from this course was the education about elder abuse. Being able to recognize red flags from the caregivers, family, and the patient themselves is important in maintaining their safety. Abuse comes in many forms, including sexual, emotional, physical, and financial. I learned how to appropriately document, report, and assess signs of abuse. It was also great to specifically learn things such as the difference between ecchymosis, hematomas, and bruises to aid in accurate assessment and documentation. I hope to be able to catch all red flags of abuse in my patients to be the best advocate I can be for them.
Throughout this course, I have learned a lot about the older adult population. Many classes challenged my previous views. I am thankful for this course in opening my eyes to misconceptions and stereotypes about the aging adult population that I used to subconsciously participate in. I believe I will be a better nurse in the future when working with the older adult population, and a better human in general. Thank you for a great semester!