Berman & Kozier (2008) wrote that the first measure in caring for the post-anesthesia unit (PACU) patient is to ensure that the patient’s room is located close to the operating room. This enables immediate access to vital services, such as blood bank, medical laboratory, and emergency gas. Upon the arrival of the patient in the PACU, I requested a reevaluation of the patient by a member of the anesthesia care team and obtained a formal report about the patient. Consequently, I was expected to constantly evaluate the patient. It was my duty to attend carefully to his post-surgical wounds and drainage catheters to ensure they were not infected. During my routine checks, I was expected to assess the following, pain levels of the patient, nausea, intake of fluid, respiratory conditions, and range of his intracranial pressure. I also administered over 30-40 % of supplement oxygen to the patient during emergencies, such as exceeded cranial pain. I did manage the patient’s pain by administering analgesics to enable immediate pain relief. Apart from my medical duties, I also provided personal comfort to the patient through constant engagement in form of conversations and by assuring the patient of his quick recovery.
Arguing from the perspective of a nurse, critical thinking skills have equipped me with relevant knowledge, competence, and appropriate judgment skills, which are essential when caring for patients with complex disorders. According to Berman & Kozier (2008), patients diagnosed with complex disorders are characterized by complex patient care demands that require the application of various modes of thinking, which include critical reflection, reasoning, and timely judgment. Through critical thinking, I have been able to determine accurately the prevailing health status of my patient. I had the opportunity of caring for a patient in the post-anesthesia unit (PACU) after undergoing brain surgery to rectify his disorder of consciousness. The nature of my patient’s condition presented an unprecedented outcome, which could have not been adequately managed were it not for my application of critical thinking knowledge. According to Claudia et al (2012), patients who have severe brain injuries present social, economic, and nursing challenges to medical teams. I could only assess my patient’s condition, communicate with him through appropriate analysis of his bodily movement, and further proceed to judge independently whether the patient was in pain, relaxed, or needed intensive care. At one instance, I had to make a judgment call after detecting signs of discomfort, which were frequently exhibited by the patient whenever he remained in a single posture for a longer period. It occurred to me that the patient was probably experiencing pressure ulcers, so I opted to reposition the patient’s posture after a given period to redistribute the pressure from his vital and vulnerable organs. My action ultimately proved to be a life-saving measure.
Patient and Parent Education Strategies
Berman & Kozier (2008) asserted that the primary goal of patient and family education is to facilitate effective and comprehensive health communication channels. According to Jacobson et al (2005), effective health communication is a prerequisite for the attainment of quality patient care delivery. As a nurse, I am obligated to ensure the free flow of health information to patients and their families concerning their health status. Based on prior knowledge that I had acquired from my nursing course, I employed a myriad of patient and family education strategies to pass on relevant health information to my post-anesthesia unit (PACU) patient and his family members.
The first strategy that I was able to employ was the use of verbal communication. Although the majority of professionals reckon that it is an outdated education strategy, I was able to explain effectively to my patient’s parents what to expect and how they were expected to manage and adapt to their son’s situation. Although Bush (1968) argued that verbal communications do tend to appear complex when explaining medical terms to ordinary patients and family members, I was able to successfully practice effective verbal communication skills. Whenever I was speaking to the parents, I ensured that I talked slowly, encouraged questions in order to assess parents’ understanding, and whenever possible I strived to explain concepts in plain language. In addition, I was always cautious to avoid unnecessary statistics when talking to patients or their family members. I did also apply the teach-back strategy to both my patient and his parents. This is a strategy where I asked simple questions about what I had explained or on general knowledge and assessed the given answer to confirm if the patient had understood whatever spoken. If the patient had not understood, I repeated my explanation.
Due to my patient’s post-anesthesia state and consciousness disorder, it was pragmatic to use visual materials as education tools. I specifically focused on action-oriented visuals, which were intended to show my PACU patient what was intended of them. I used to nod my head as an indication of assertion whenever I administered oral medications and he would promptly take them. According to Jacobson et al (2005), research has indicated that people tend to remember 10% of what they read, 20% of whatever they have heard, 30% of those things which had been seen, and consequently 70% of what they heard and saw. In light of this new knowledge, I combined speech and visual aids in my educative approach with my patient. I also provided the patient with pictographs and posters, which had the elaborate pictorial narration of various topics such as which medications to take in the morning and in the evening.
Advancement in communication technology presented me with modern forms of patient and family education approaches. This involved computer-based tools and practices. Computer technology applications necessitated communicating with patients and educating family members using touch screen devices, advanced interactive media, website, and email. Before my patient could speak, I used to let him use my touch screen iPad to write down how he was feeling and also address any queries that he had to the medical team. I also noted that the patient constantly browsed the Internet for articles that related to mental disorders.
The outcome of the Various Education Strategies that were applied
The use of verbal communication had emotional and psychological effects on the patient’s parents. My previous talk with the parents had effectively underpinned their expected roles in the recovery process of their son. The parents seemed to have gained an in-depth understanding of their son’s condition. As time progressed, the parents were constantly beside their son’s bedside showing him his childhood pictures. The use of the visual aid also indicated positive outcomes with time. My patient was able to relate pictographs with the intended message. Through his conceptualization of brochures, he was able to learn numerous tasks by himself. He managed to adjust the elevation of his bed after reading a manual that was placed on every patient’s room. The patient soon substituted nodding his head with a mellow yes voice whenever I asked a question. To highlight the outcome of the computed-based technology, it was astonishingly effective. The use of the touch screen device provided the medical team with precise feedback from the patient, which was highly critical in the evaluation of the patient’s progress. Computer technology somehow revolutionized communication between the patient and the medical team, as I could even catch up with my patient on common social platforms.
Berman, A., & Kozier, B. (2008). Kozier & Erb’s fundamentals of nursing: Concepts, process, and practice. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Bush, J. B. (1968). Communication and Patient Education. The Dental Assistant, 37, 2.
Claudia A. Julia M., Schnakers C. and Laureys S. (2012). Nursing Care Of Patients With Disorders Of Consciousness. Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 45 (5): 260-269
Jacobson K., Cucchi P. and Morton F. (2005).Clear and Effective Patient Education: A Guide for Improving Health Care Communications in Hospital Setting. 9-17