One has chosen to focus on the substance abuse patients as the vulnerable population for the project. Frequently one has identified and seen stigmatization, prejudgments, and poor care given to this population in the workplace. Many patients are discharged each day with no plan of care, no education on resources and no instructions for follow up care. The outcomes and possibilities for the patient’s recovery have shown to be slim by the frequent return of the patient in the emergency room.
The patients return within hours of discharge from the ER and seem to be in the same condition as when they left. One has created an action plan and a teaching brochure for health care providers to help facilitate a better system and care process for this population. The first step of overcoming this issue is to start from the base of it, which are the providers and their beliefs. The focus will be on educating the health care providers to stop stigmatization, develop self-awareness, and learn to be culturally competent and to be the best advocate for the patient.
In the emergency room there are frequent patients via ambulance, walk-in’s, which are intoxicated and requesting, detox. Typically when the patient arrives he or she are intoxicated, wheatear it is drugs or alcohol. The patient is registered and triaged. Depending on their condition or level of intoxication, they are either immediately brought in or are placed on a stretcher and wait to be evaluated by a physician. Because of the large population of substance abusers in New York City, these patients tend to have a stigma attached to them.
The stigma is the patients will not follow up with his or her detox programs, they will return to the ER with-in hours of discharge, they are seeking food and shelter for the night, and they are not serious in their treatment to recover. Therefore, many of the providers and nurses in the ER tend not to take the patient or his or her care seriously. They often wait to see if the patient will walk out and leave after a few hours of warmth and food. If the patient is in the waiting area and waiting to come in, many charge nurses will continue to skip over the patient to bring in others.
If the patient is in the department the providers tend not to pick-up their charts in assumption the patient will just leave to continue his or her addiction. One has created a teaching brochure to help identify three concepts, which may lead and assist in caring for the substance abuse patient. The concepts will help providers to be empathetic, trustworthy, and intelligent to the patient’s backgrounds and beliefs. The brochure speaks of the concepts and reasons it will aid in the patient success in recovery.
If these patients are seen as a lost cause and providers do not listen or rectify the problem the population of the substance abuser will grow and increase the death rate and increase dangers to others as well. Substance abuse does not only endanger the patient but the people around him or her. For example, a person who is drinking and driving can hit a pedestrian walking and cause fatal danger to that person. One has learned through lessons in this class how to identify a vulnerable population, how self-awareness cultural competence, and advocacy can help treat these patients and provide the best care needed to have the best outcome.
The first step as a provider is to have self –awareness. It is only possible for one to relate to others when they know whom one is and what one will or will not accept from others (Jack, Kristen, Smith, & Anne, 2007,para. 1). In the treatment of others it is important for the provider to be aware of their own personal beliefs and identity. To truly understand what one believes in is to have self –awareness. “Being self-aware enables us to identify our strengths and also those areas that can be developed.
If we do not know our good and bad points then we are less likely to be able to help others (Burnard 1992). Nurses can use the self to therapeutic effect when working with patients, for example, when empathizing or advocating (Jack, et al 2007,para. 2). Cultural competence is also important for the health care team to incorporate in accurate care for substance abuse patients. Cultural competence is not only about ethnic background, religion, race, or spirituality. It is also about the environment in which one lives.
“ The layers of culturally competent practice do not solely address race and ethnicity. A comprehensive culturally competent practice encompasses issues related to language, migration and acculturation, family history, religious practices, as well as social trust and community attachment” (Mallow & Cameron-Kelly, 2006, para. 11). The staff needs to learn the importance of empathy and pre-judgmental thoughts toward the culture of the substance abuse patient. They live and survive in a different environment. To provide care for them is to understand and keep biased opinions out of the treatment.
Providers should analyze and try to learn of their culture and struggles they see and handle each day. The third concept implemented in this learning tool would be advocacy. Nurses and doctors are essentially the patient’s voice. Patients relay on the health care provider to help them and guide them through care and also to represent them in the hospital or within the community. The nurse and physician are the main identifiers of the recurring problem. The providers can help to implement new policies or create outpatient programs to keep the patient on a positive track.
Identifying the flaws and implementing new systems can help the patient have a better health outcome. “The knowledge and expertise of a nurse regarding the care and concerns of a patient are vast. Overlay that knowledge and expertise with a sense of community, and the nurse advocate is born. Whether teaching proper car-seat installation to parents, advocating for primary seatbelt laws at the state house, or testifying at a congressional committee hearing, each nurse should be aware of the importance of political advocacy.
Health care is in an evolving state, and nursing is at the table; every nurse should be aware and supportive of this advocacy” (Philips, 2012, para. 10). In conclusion one believes substance abuse patients would benefit greatly and outcome goal would improve if he or she were cared for and handled by a provider who was empathetic and knowledgeable to his or her cultural needs, ethnic background, and beliefs, whether they were spiritual or not. Each person or patient is unique and should receive treatment in a way, which suits him or her uniquely.
In order for a provider to do so, they should be knowledgeable to self-awareness, cultural competence, and advocacy. Knowing oneself, possessing knowledge of others and motivation to be a trustworthy advocate will help the substance abuse patient feel support and allow him or her to recognize the provider as a trustworthy person. Building trust and creating a stable health climate with the patient will paint a road to recovery for the substance abuse patient.
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