Know your resources!

This has been a HUGE aspect of my Chronic II class.  Throughout this quarter, my instructors reiterate the importance of being an advocate for our patients.  Part of advocacy involves knowing our resources in the community that we work in.

During lecture, for instance, we discuss case studies of real life scenarios of chronically ill patients.  The majority of our questions on these lengthy assignments include: what are the available resources to this particular client and how would you go about setting the client up with these services? We research our respective communities, the state of Oregon, and also inquire about federal services provided for chronically ill patients.  In spite of these tedious assignments, we uncover a multitude of resources for our case study patients.

The beauty of lecture, as most students know, is taking the information studied and answering the long-time question of “how can I apply this in the real world?”  One of my classmates shared with me a great example the other day.  She was caring for her patient in the hospital, and lo and behold, the physician wrote orders for discharge.  Part of a nurse’s duties for discharge is to share with the patient at-home care instructions and which medications to continue taking.  My classmate shared with her patient, and her patient began to get a very worried look upon their face.  Taking initiative, my classmate shared with the patient the community resources available, including reduced cost medications and how to acquire them, where to go for reduced or free continuing medical care, and support in their community.  In sharing this information, the patient immediately felt relief, and left the hospital with a wealth of knowledge of services available to them.  My classmate exemplified the transition from absorbing information covered in lecture, to real life application.

So, the biggest lesson learned this quarter: spend the extra time getting to know the resources available in your surrounding area (and share them generously)!!