Discussion Post- Gerontology Clinical Experience

Describe your clinical experience for this week at a family health clinic caring for Geriatric patients 65+ as a student advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

  • Did you face any challenges, any success? If so, what were they?
  • Describe the assessment of a patient, detailing the signs and symptoms (S&S), assessment, plan of care, and at least 3 possible differential diagnosis with rationales.
  • Mention the health promotion intervention for this patient.
  • What did you learn from this week’s clinical experience that can beneficial for you as an advanced practice nurse?
  • Support your plan of care with the current peer-reviewed research guideline.

Submission Instructions:

  • Post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources

Answers

As an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) student at a family health clinic, my clinical experience for this week focused on caring for geriatric patients aged 65 and above. Throughout the week, I encountered both challenges and successes in providing comprehensive care to this population.

One of the challenges I faced was the complexity of managing multiple chronic conditions in geriatric patients. Many of the elderly patients I encountered had a combination of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and osteoarthritis, which required careful assessment and coordination of care. It was crucial to gather a thorough medical history, review medication lists, and assess for any potential drug interactions or contraindications. Additionally, coordinating care with other healthcare providers and specialists was essential to ensure a holistic approach to managing their health.

On the other hand, one of the successes I experienced was improving patient education and promoting preventive care. Geriatric patients often have unique healthcare needs, including falls prevention, vaccination updates, and medication management. I had the opportunity to conduct health promotion interventions such as providing educational materials, discussing lifestyle modifications, and recommending appropriate screenings and vaccinations. Empowering patients with knowledge and helping them make informed decisions about their health was a rewarding aspect of my clinical experience.

During the week, I encountered a patient, Mr. Johnson, who presented with several signs and symptoms (S&S) that required a comprehensive assessment. Mr. Johnson, an 80-year-old male, complained of increasing fatigue, shortness of breath, and swollen ankles. Upon physical examination, I observed jugular venous distension, bilateral crackles in the lung bases, and pitting edema in the lower extremities. Based on these findings, a potential diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF) was considered. However, it was important to explore other possible differential diagnoses.

  1. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): COPD can present with symptoms of fatigue, dyspnea, and crackles on lung auscultation. However, the absence of a smoking history and the presence of bilateral edema suggested a less likely diagnosis. A spirometry test and pulmonary function tests would be necessary to confirm or rule out COPD.
  2. Chronic kidney disease (CKD): CKD can cause fluid retention, leading to peripheral edema and fatigue. The presence of bilateral edema raised the suspicion of CKD. A comprehensive metabolic panel and urinalysis would be necessary to evaluate kidney function and assess for the presence of proteinuria.
  3. Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism can present with symptoms of fatigue and fluid retention. A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level would be required to assess thyroid function and rule out this differential diagnosis.

To determine the most accurate diagnosis, a detailed history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests would be needed. Collaborating with the healthcare team, including a cardiologist, nephrologist, and endocrinologist, would be crucial in managing Mr. Johnson’s complex health condition.

For Mr. Johnson’s plan of care, the immediate focus would be on stabilizing his symptoms and addressing his CHF. Based on current peer-reviewed research guidelines, treatment would include diuretics to reduce fluid overload, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) to improve cardiac function, and beta-blockers to reduce symptoms and improve long-term outcomes in CHF patients.

In terms of health promotion intervention, educating Mr. Johnson about lifestyle modifications such as a low-sodium diet, regular physical activity within his functional capacity, and monitoring daily weights to assess for fluid retention would be important. Additionally, ensuring that Mr. Johnson is up to date with his vaccinations, including influenza and pneumonia vaccines, would be crucial in preventing respiratory infections and exacerbations of his underlying conditions.

From this week’s clinical experience, I learned several valuable lessons that can benefit me as an advanced practice nurse. Firstly, I gained a deeper understanding of the complexity and challenges associated with managing multiple chronic conditions in geriatric patients. This experience reinforced the importance of thorough assessment, interdisciplinary collaboration, and patient education in providing optimal care.

Secondly, I realized the significance of tailoring healthcare interventions to the specific needs of the geriatric population. Geriatric patients often have unique physiological and psychosocial considerations, and addressing these factors is crucial for successful outcomes. Taking a holistic approach to care, including comprehensive geriatric assessments and health promotion interventions, can improve the overall well-being of elderly patients.

In conclusion, my clinical experience this week at a family health clinic caring for geriatric patients was both challenging and rewarding. I encountered the complexity of managing multiple chronic conditions in this population, but also had the opportunity to improve patient education and promote preventive care. Through a comprehensive assessment of a patient with signs and symptoms, I explored possible differential diagnoses and developed a plan of care based on current peer-reviewed research guidelines. This experience provided valuable insights and knowledge that will be beneficial as I progress in my journey as an advanced practice nurse.

 

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