Honestly I’m feeling completely dejected. Today we were each paired to other nursing assistants to shadow around the facility and we are supposed to be able to practice giving care with the resident with our mentor there and get a feel for the general day because next week we will be assigned a resident each and we have to take care of just them for the entire day; without our mentor.
Shadowing my mentor didn’t really help me because even though I did what my professor said and really jumped in head first and put my shy personality on the back burner my mentor didn’t really let me try any of my skills. That and most of her residents were independent care. So even though I did everything I could to get in and really learn some hands on experience, I feel less confident and less able to take care of anyone… let alone be on my own next week. It’s not to say that I didn’t do any of my skills, I did peri-care a few times, hand-washing, and assisting to the dining room. But for the most part I could only assist my mentor in dressing, ambulating, etc. Even then all I succeeded in was getting in her way. I never actually got to do what my classmates did. They got to use tons of the skills that we learned in lab on their mentor’s residents. I was hoping that this experience with my mentor would give me a chance to know what to expect when I became suddenly on my own next week. But I never got to show that I could do the skills I learned nor did I get to have any experience with any skills except peri-care and assisting someone else to assist a resident.
By the time I got done on the floor and finished post conference I feel dejected and less confident then I think I should have let myself become…even with all my questions that I asked my mentor. How am I going to give safe care to anyone next week? With my head swimming and my emotions practically drowning me I just sat in my car for the longest time. I wish I could say I didn’t cry, that I just bucked up and handled it like a strong woman should… but I’d be lying. I did cry…a lot…I broke down. I couldn’t help thinking of all the things I could have done differently, of whether or not I was making the right choice of even trying to go for nursing. I mean if I can’t be a nursing assistant then what use is it going for my RN?
As I sat in my car, I realized that It’s not just that my mentor didn’t let me get my hands on experience because I could tell she was trying, she had her own system of doing things and she is shy. She honestly didn’t have a ton to do, but I wished she’d at least let me do the little she had. I’d never used a gait belt on a person who wasn’t a classmate (face it classmates cheat in the sense that they really help you when standing up, they aren’t shaky, they aren’t fragile… it’s different in lab versus the nursing home.) I wanted experiences and all I saw was incorrect use of a gait belt (not just by my mentor but all the NAC’s in the facility), I even shrugged off my shyness, asked tons of questions (but didn’t get very many answers), and jumped at any and all chances even if it meant I had to take the peri-cloths from her so I could do it myself. I wasn’t going to and I didn’t ask her, “Hey can I do that?” and “you’re not using the gait belt right” in front of the resident though. In MY mind, that seemed like a bad idea. The resident’s probably a bit unnerved with a newbie in the room, I’m not going to embarrass or act like she isn’t in the room, and I’m not going to tell my mentor that she is using her equipment incorrectly. Is it my place to say so? Everyone knows that all nursing homes are understaffed and that some NAC’s cut corners a bit because it’s basically up to their moral code. I let my professor know what I’d seen but I left the ball in her court. Still crying I also realized that I could have spoken up a bit more, “Hey, could I try?” instead I choose to say, “Would you like any help/assistance?” I’d never worked in this situation before and trying to be kind and polite I probably ended up screwing myself over instead. You’d think I’d feel better but no… I cried harder.
Don’t think that I’m giving up, I’m not. I’ll be there next week…Even if I fail miserably and breakdown I’m still going to finish what I started. But the feeling is still there… it’s unmistakable and while my classmates have a growing sense of confidence I’m pretty sure mine got flushed down the toilet… However, I must keep remembering that though I may feel less confident and overwhelmed the Lord would never give me something he knew I couldn’t handle.