Health and Wellness

My program:

The program that I created is titled Health and Wellness across the lifespan.  This is very important because I believe that we as a society need to strive to improve our overall health.  There are so many benefits that come with being in better health but most importantly is having a better quality of life.  One’s health isn’t just a physical aspect but also has to due with mental health, nutritional health, and emotional health.  By striving to improve upon each of these areas I think that overall we can all improve our overall quality of life.

My research project:

My research project which was titled, “Thief of the Mind” was about raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.  This topic is very important to be because in my current career I work on an Alzheimer’s unit in a nursing home as a nurse.  Working with this population almost everyday allows me to see the affects that this disease has on the patients and the families.  By raising awareness about this disease I believe that people that are diagnosed and their loved ones can have a better understanding about the path that is ahead of them.

My applied project: 

My applied project goes hand and hand with my research project.  I performed a seminar at the nursing facility that I work at for anyone who wanted to attend about different symptoms and how to manage them associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  I had a small crowd attend but I also video recorded the seminar and posted it online to reach a larger audience.  This video was made to help those with loved ones who are affected by the disease.

Final thoughts:

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Photo by graduation

Overall this semester I was able to work on a topic that I am genuinely interested in.  I hope that I can use this program to further my education and allow me accomplish my future goals.  This program will allow me to apply to graduate schools and continue to learn more about different health issues that our society is struggling with.

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The Thief of the Mind

What is Alzheimer’s disease?  To understand what Alzheimer’s disease is we need to start with some broader questions, what is dementia and what causes dementia?  Dementia is not just getting old, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life according to alz.org.   Alzheimer’s disease is a common type of dementia that is diagnosed in over 50% of dementia cases.  According to the National Institute of Aging  Alzheimer’s disease is “an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.”  The disease itself is considered a neurodegenerative disease that is caused by progressive brain cell death causing the brain to shrink in overall size.  There are no specific causes to the disease, but there are some risk factors to monitor for.  Dementia and Alzheimer’s are known to run in families meaning that the risk for individual to suffer from the disease increases if they have relatives that are diagnosed.  Another risk factor associated with Alzheimer’s is having a history of head injuries.  This makes sense because any type of head injury has the potential to predispose an individual to brain cell death.  The health of an individual’s heart is also associated with an increased risk factor to a future of Alzheimer’s disease.  We’ll will talk about these risk factors shortly.

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PET Scans by Neuroscience for Kids

 

This disease is especially dangerous because we are all getting older everyday and unfortunately there is no known cure for this terrible disease.  As a nurse who works on an Alzheimer’s unit I see new admissions who are diagnosed with this disease all the time.  A lot of the time it is the family that is hit hardest by this diagnosis because they don’t understand the disease and believe that it is basically a death sentence.  Thankfully that is not always the case and with early diagnosis and proper management a lot of elderly people can still lead productive lives with this disease.

In an article written by Brandon Pete he states that, “Alzheimer’s has been a thief of the mind for over a century now” (Pete, 72).  Later in the article he goes on to explain that the disease is named after Alois Alzheimer,  Alois Alzheimer was the first to notice the same symptoms that we use to diagnosis the disease today in 1906.  Since the 1970s and 1980s the government has funding various programs and agencies to help try to understand the disease and although we have yet to find a cure there have been many advancements when it comes to managing and treating this disease.  As the disease progresses the patient typically goes through 7 different phases.  The stages get significantly worse as they progress as expected, but overall go from no impairment to very mild decline to mild decline and so on until the patient reaches very severe decline.  It is very important for family members and caregivers to be able to identify the stages and understand what is happening.  This way they can best work with their loved one or client to have the best possible outcome for both parties.

The first three stages of Alzheimer’s can be categorized together (No impairment, very mild decline, and mild decline).  During these stages caregivers, most likely won’t be able to tell that the patient is suffering from the disease, but will just chop it up to the aging process.  There will be minor instances of memory loss as well as small changes in cognitive function.  It isn’t until stage four, moderate decline, do the symptoms become more noticeable.  These symptoms include more in-depth memory loss as well as loss of ability to do simple math and handle bills and finances.  Stages five and six are when most patients start to need caregivers to look after them, starting with helping with simple day to day activities and expanding to helping with toileting, bathing, mobility, and feeding.  Most patients also need constant supervision at this point due to the level of confusion and the increased risk of getting lost.  The seventh stage is unfortunately the final stage where most patients are unable to use comprehensible language and have trouble making their needs known.  Due to their condition, they need help with almost all activities and may even lose the ability to swallow food and drinks toward the end of the disease.  Due to how scary and overwhelming this disease can become it is important to diagnosis it early to try to slow the overall progression.

Due to family history being a strong risk factor associated with Alzheimer’s it is most important for individuals who have loved ones suffering to understand the disease and its process.  If people understand the disease then the hope is that we as health care professionals and help diagnosis it early and in theory slow the progress.  The first step in early diagnosis is undergoing genetic testing.  According to the National Institute on Aging a child who has a parent with a genetic mutation associated with the Alzheimer’s gene has a 50/50 chance of inheriting that mutation.  The Alzheimer’s gene is believed to be caused by a mutation of either of chromosomes 21, 14, or 1.  Now if that mutation is inherited by the child it doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual will suffer from Alzheimer’s but it implies a strong possibility.  This strong possibility sometimes discourages people from getting tested because they do not want to know that this disease is waiting for them in the future.  As this disease can be scary, people need to understand that if Alzheimer’s is detected early the quality of that person’s life can be greatly improved as there are many ways the progression of the disease can be slowed.

To help with early diagnosis of the Alzheimer’s Disease it is important to educate individuals with what to watch for in their loved ones.  In an article written by George Grossberg, he gives ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.  These warning signs include memory loss, difficulty preforming familiar tasks, problems with language, disorientation to time and place, poor or decreased judgement, problems with abstract thinking, misplacing things, changes in mood or behavior, changes in personality, and loss of initiative (Grossberg, 198).  Now some of these may seem like part of the normal aging process but each warning sign is considered with a much more severe deficit.  These warning signs range from physical problems to psychological problems, the psychological problems hit loved ones the hardest because they start to have trouble recognizing someone who was once so dear to them.

Mind wandering is an early psychological symptom that many people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s suffer from which is exactly what it sounds like, when and individual’s mind shifts from the task at hand to a different unrelated topic.  Now I know that this is something that everyone does from time to time but through a study performed by Mate Gyurkovics, David Balota, and Jonathan Jackson evidence was obtained that show that individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease also suffer from mind-wandering at a much higher rate than healthy individuals (Gyurkovics et all, 1).  Mind wandering can lead to an increase in confusion and memory problems for the patient because they may begin to feel lost doing their own everyday activities or may even forget what they were doing altogether.

The confusion and memory loss problems are tough on all parties involved; the patient, caregiver, and family members.  As a nurse that has worked on a unit at a nursing facility that strictly cares for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s I’ve seen the disease take its toll.  I’ve been professionally trained to deal in these circumstances and understand the process of the disease but to see it progress through an individual is completely different than being trained on it.  A resident’s short-term memory is most affected by the disease because they are unable to create new memories while retaining most of their long-term memories.  This can be both good and bad.  For example, a resident may eat lunch but once lunch is all cleaned up and everything is out of view they question when lunch will be served.  As a staff member tries to redirect them and alert them they have already eaten some of the residents take it as an insult to their memory and become agitated.  As time goes on staff members can visibly a resident’s short-term memory become worse and worse.  On the other side, a lot of the resident’s long-term memory remains mostly intact.  They can usually tell you about their family members, where they grew up, elementary school friends and other memories from before the disease.

As one’s memory starts to decline many other problems can arise like behavioral issues and changes in the individual’s mood.  These are both psychological symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s which can both lead toward a major problem that many with this disease face, depression.  Depression is a well-known disease that affects many seemingly healthy individuals worldwide but when seen in the Alzheimer’s population it causes rapid decline and especially affects the quality of life of those suffering.  Thankfully there are ways to combat depression but with early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s people can plan for the future with the disease in an attempt to improve the quality of life for all.

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Photo by Virtual Medical Centre

 

Physical symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and also very important to notice in caring for loved ones.  An article published by Joan Monin, Richard Schulz, and Trace Kershaw describe some physical symptoms as “confusion, pain, nausea, shortness of breath, dry mouth, and lack of appetite” (Monin et al. pg. 511).  These are all minor physical symptoms that take close monitoring to notice but this article goes on to explain that if these symptoms are cared for then both the caregiver and recipient of care have more positive outcomes.  This obviously improves the physical health of the patient but also helps with their mental health because there is an understanding that their needs will be cared for even if they can’t make their needs known.  All of these symptoms above can be contributed to the disease itself for example, lack of appetite and dry mouth could possibility be due to unaware of need.  If the caregiver helps with feeding and offering drinks occasionally then these symptoms seem to disappear.  It is important for caregivers to understand all that is required of them when it comes to this disease.

 

Although this disease seems like a long and treacherous way toward the end there are many ways to manage the disease to improve your quality of life.  As we go from day to day in our lives we must try to set a foundation for our elderly selves to benefit.  We all know the idea of saving money over time so when we retire we can enjoy the life we worked hard for.  This idea should be the same when pertaining to our health.  If people take time to care for themselves throughout their life then the quality of life in their future will be exponentially better.  There is no way to read the future and prepare for any awaiting problems but by taking care of oneself they can be ready to deal with these problems.  Alzheimer’s is a disease that can be tracked through genetics to prepare some people but with others it’s a disease that just comes along unfortunately.  There are many different ways to plan for and manage this disease in order to decrease some of the problems associated with it.

 

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Photo by McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation

As we know physical activity can help with all aspects of a person’s wellbeing and can greatly benefit people as the aging process takes its toll.  One study stated, “At a 5-year follow up, participants, who performed some level of exercise had less risk of cognitive impairment, AD, and dementia of any kind compared with participants with no regular exercise (Laurin, Verreault, Lindsay, MacPherson, & Rockwood, 2001).  Physical activity and staying active is especially beneficial to those who may suffer from neurodegenerative disorders.  By staying active individuals strengthen their muscles and this includes a person’s brain.  Physical activity can be associated with strengthening the heart which as we know supplies blood throughout the body.  An important recipient of that blood is the brain so if the heart isn’t at its strongest it can have problems getting the amount of blood necessary to the brain.  If the brain is not receiving the amount of blood needed there will be unnecessary brain cell death.  Through exercise and proper nutrition this unnecessary brain cell death can be avoided and quality of life in the early stages of the disease can be greatly improved.  As it is important to strengthen the physical muscles let’s not forget about another important muscle, the brain.  Brain plasticity is used to describe the brains ability to change when challenged.  This is very important when the brain is dealing the Alzheimer’s Disease because of how it effects the brain.  According to Le Carret et al, “evidence supports the concept that mental stimulation may increase cognitive reserve and decrease the rate of age related cognitive decline (Le Carret, Auriacombe, Letenneur, Bergua, Dartigues, and Fabrigoule, 2005).  The article goes on to describe mental stimulation as an array of different activities that work an individual’s mind.  A history of head injuries can also be a cause of premature brain cell death.  If individuals care for their brain properly (e.g. wearing a helmet when necessary) then even though Alzheimer’s can’t be cured the effects of the disease are not expedited.  Unfortunately, even by taking these precautions and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle the disease can’t always be stopped.

 

Individuals who are diagnosed with this disease can still reap the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  By having improved muscle strength through staying active, patient’s that are diagnosed greatly reduce their risk for falls.  This is so important because falls have been known to expedite the process of the disease.  Falls not only cause physical injuries that are difficult for people of the elderly population to heal from but also can cause an increase in confusion for the patient.  Each fall that an individual suffers from causes more and more damage making it tougher and tougher for an individual to return to their baseline.

 

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Alzheimer’s disease by Micheal Pekker

Thankfully patients have help from many different sources when trying to return to their baseline.  At the nursing facility that I work at we have a policy that after a resident has a fall they are to be evaluated by physical and occupational therapy.  Working with these different therapies help Alzheimer’s patient improve their strength to help them try to recover.  One article describes patients with Alzheimer’s as enjoying their exercise sessions, and showing signs of positive personal involvement.  The researchers also describe these participant’s moods improving and associates that to the improved personal image (Lancioni, Singh, O’Reilly, Sigafoos, D’Amico, Addante, and Pinto, 2017).  So, this is saying that when patients participate in exercise programs they not only improve their overall physical condition but also their mental wellbeing.  As the disease progresses different disciplines must work together in order to provide the best quality of life for the patients.

As the process continues to unfold for the patient and their loved one’s health care professionals always continue to work to slow the progression.  Once the patient starts to progress through the seven stages health care professional begin to focus less long-term prevention and more on slowing the day to day progression.  This usually consists of working to reduce the symptoms that can cause the most harm to the patient as in depression, agitation, and anxiety.  There are two basic types of management that help alleviate most of these problems which are nonpharmacological management and pharmacological management.  Though these are just two basic methods there are many methods that extend from them.

 

Nonpharmacological management is a method used to alleviate symptoms without the use of drug treatment.  This is the preferred method by most healthcare workers and can work well in many situations.  At the facility that I work at we work with activities personnel to plan different activities that will help reduce agitation, anxiety, and depression that our patients are suffering from.  The activities include art and aromatherapy, music therapy, massage therapy, having therapy animals come to the floor, among other activities.  These activities also include memory games and physical activities that not only help improve the mood of patients but also works to strengthen important muscles that they use.  An article by Amber Staedtler and Diane Nunez evaluates different types of nonpharmacological therapies and the effectiveness of these types of activities (Staedtler and Nunez, 114).  The article goes into detail explaining all the benefits but also details how these therapies are difficult for nurse’s due to poor staff to resident ratios and poor funding.  I am thankful that in the facility that I work at we have separate activities departments who help perform these types of therapies.  If we didn’t have a separate activities department I believe that the residents would suffer due to inadequate staffing.  Although nonpharmacological therapies are not always enough they can have many benefits for patients.

 

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Photos by Satyakam Mohaparta

 

Another way that we try to reduce the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s is through pharmacological therapy which includes the use of medications.  There are many different medications that a doctor may prescribe for a patient dealing with Alzheimer’s.  Some of the medications may be prescribed to slow the overall progress of the disease while others may be to directly treat the symptoms that a resident may suffer from.  One of the first medications that are usually prescribed after diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is Donepezil.  Donepezil is used to slow the progression of the disease by slowing the uptake of a particular neurotransmitter in the brain.  An article titled New agents in the management of Alzheimer’s disease: a case study states, “the use of donepezil is not without risks.  However, allied with patient and family involvement in decision-making, can result in an optimum outcome to the treatment” (Grainger and Keegan, 17).  This medication is more effective in slowing the progression when started earlier in the disease process.  Unfortunately, the medication doesn’t cure the disease so patients will still be at risk for suffering from anxiety and agitation throughout the disease process.  These symptoms can also be managed with the use of drug therapy ranging from the use of antipsychotic medication to antianxiety medications.   Antipsychotic medication is usually prescribed to be given on a scheduled basis to help reduce the instances of anxiety and agitation.  Sometimes these instances are unavoidable so antianxiety medications can be ordered for patients to be given on an as needed basis.  This would mean that if a patient is suffering from an episode of extreme anxiety then the caregiver could give a medication to help reduce some of that anxiety.  Although medication also can’t always completely help with treating symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, using pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapies can work together to greatly reduce the instances of symptoms.

 

Although Alzheimer’s Disease has no cure there are ways to manage and slow the progression of the disease.  This is not a disease that an individual should have to face alone and with the help of family members and many other disciplines the disease can become a lot less terrifying.  Through the teamwork across many different disciplines we can find the best route for each patient to process and fight the disease.  These disciplines include nursing, social work, pharmacists, doctors, politics, and administration.  It’s easy to see the healthcare disciplines affect patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s but it is also controlled by politics and administration.  Through administration due to the staffing that they provide for caring for the patients in the nursing home.  Without adequate staff less individual care can be given to each patient.  This affects a lot of the nonpharmacological therapies that help with management of the disease.  Administration can also only do so much based on the funding provided by the government which is where we run into politics.  It wasn’t until the 1980s when the first foundation for the disease was created called the Alzheimer’s Association (Pete, 73).  Although the government does provide funding toward caring for patients many believe they don’t provide enough, which is surprising since we will all one day face old age and possibly this disease.

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Photo by Michigan House Republican

Through raising awareness about this disease, I hope that more people will take the initiative to get tested for the Alzheimer’s gene.  This can start the process of early diagnosis, early treatment.  Through early management of the disease we can provide a much better quality of life for those who are affected and we can also be more knowledgeable about the disease in general.  My hope for those of you who have stuck with me through this post is that you understand how to lower your risk of being diagnosis and also how to fight the disease if you are diagnosed.  Remember it’s not the end but the beginning of a new journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited:

Grainger, M., & Keegan, K. (2011). New agents in the management of Alzheimer’s disease: a case study. Nurse                  Prescribing9(1), 12-18.

Grossberg, G. T. (2010). Recognizing the Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease in Long-Term Care. Best           Practices, 196-205.

Gyurkovics, M., Balota, D. A., & Jackson, J. D. (2017). Mind-Wandering in Healthy Aging and Early Stage Alzheimer’s         Disease. Neuropsychology, doi:10.1037/neu0000385

Lancioni, G. E., Singh, N. N., O’Reilly, M. F., Sigafoos, J., D’Amico, F., Addante, L. M., & Pinto, K. (2017). Persons With           Advanced Alzheimer’s Disease Engage in Mild Leg Exercise Supported by Technology-Aided Stimulation and               Prompts. Behavior Modification41(1), 3-20. doi:10.1 177/0145445516649581

Laurin, D., Verreault, R., Lindsay, J., MacPherson, K., & Rockwood, K. (2001) Physical activity and risk of cognitive               impairment and dementia in elderly persons. Archives of Neurology, 58, 498-504

Le Carret, N., Auriacombe, S., Letenneur, L., Bergua, V., Dartigues, J.F., & Fabrigoule, C. (2005). Influence of education      on the pattern of cognitive deterioration in AD patients: The cognitive reserve hypothesis. Brain and Cognition, 57,      120-126.

Monin, J. K., Schulz, R., & Kershaw, T. S. (2013). Caregiving spouses’ attachment orientations and the physical and            psychological health of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Aging & Mental Health17(4), 508-516.                            doi:10.1080/13607863.2012.747080

Pete, B. J. (2016). Alzheimer’s Disease. AMT Events33(2), 72-74

Staedtler, A. V., & Nunez, D. (2015). Nonpharmacological therapy for the management of neuropsychiatric                      symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: linking evidence to practice. Worldviews On Evidence-Based Nursing12(2),              108- 115. doi:10.1111/wvn.12086

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What I learned in Interdisciplinary Studies is…

Interdisciplinary studies to me was a major where I could put the classes that I’ve taken over my time at Plymouth State together and form a viable degree to graduate with.  I knew very little about the program in general and whenever people asked me about it, it seemed like I was speaking a different language.  I honestly didn’t know what interdisciplinary studies meant but thought of it along the lines of putting together different topics that connect with each other.  Through the intro course and the seminar course I came to find out that it was much more than that.  It isn’t just putting together topics that are similar, it’s putting together two or more disciplines and pulling different ideas and concepts from the disciplines to form your own individual idea.  Interdisciplinary studies has taught me much more than just how to graduate.

This program gave also allowed me to understand that there are many different ways that students learn material and also there are many different ways that teachers can teach material.  Through the ideas of to publicly post students work so it just doesn’t “disappear” at the end of the semester.  This idea also allows student a larger voice and to broadcast to a larger audience, which may form different opinions that can also be shared back to the student.  Also, the ideas that education should be for everyone and not just those who can afford it.  As said by David Wiley and Cable Green, “Education is sharing” and as said by many people sharing is caring.  Education should be made available to everyone so we can all move forward as a society.  I believe that this is similar to healthcare, where healthcare should be available for everyone even those who can’t afford it.

Overall, I believe that more universities should incorporate Interdisciplinary Studies into their curriculum because of that positive effect it has on most students.  It forces students to become more well round and more educated in regard to other disciplines instead of just being an expert in their one field.  It has also pushed me as a student to become more self-motivated when it comes different projects and that may have to do with being able to pick topics that the student actually finds interesting.  By being an Interdisciplinary Studies major with a focus in the health field, I personally have a broad background with knowledge in many different fields and also experiences that others don’t have.  I believe that this makes me a unique individual when it comes to applying to graduate schools and also shaping overall future.

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Applied Project

My applied project consisted of me performing a seminar about Alzheimer’s disease at the nursing home that I work at.  This topic is important because it is a disease that unfortunately has no cure and is also a disease that all of us are at risk for.  The disease itself can be seen throughout family histories going from generation to generation and that is why it was important to me to have this seminar at my nursing home.  I was able to reach out to families who have loved ones who are suffering from the disease so they can have a better overall understanding of what Alzheimer’s is.  My current job is being a licensed practical nurse and caring for Alzheimer’s patients on a day to day basis and I really hope to continue to work in raising awareness for the care needed for the elderly population.

Overall for this project I did a lot of research in finding warning signs and ways to manage symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s.  I obtained my information through researching scholarly articles and also applied my own experiences from my work on the Alzheimer’s unit at work.  I posted fliers around my nursing home to try to get as much people to attend as possible and made it open to the public.  Unfortunately the direct audience was small than expected at about 15 people but I hope to reach a wider audience by posting this here and sharing it on other platforms.  I believe that being able to post the video that I took is a great strength in allowing me to reach more people.  One aspect that I would change would be having 2 different devices filming the video.  If you watch the video you can see that 75% of the way through the video suddenly changes because storage became full on my phone but thankfully my assistant was there to continue the filming on her phone.  Also through editing the video and listening to myself over and over I definitely need to work on my public speaking  Overall I believe that my seminar has reached some folks on a small scale and I hope to reach a wider audience through the internet.  If you care to watch my seminar about Alzheimer’s you can watch it here.

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Virtual Reality

Virtual reality seems to be the new craze that can be done with many different ideas.  I had my first experience with virtual reality around Halloween when I went to a haunted factory with some friends and they had a virtual reality situation set up on the side.  I definitely didn’t expect the program to feel as real as it did and it was definitely something I would try to experience again.  Through my personal learning network I have been reading more and more about the uses of virtual reality in the healthcare field.  These ideas revolve around things like helping to manage pain in patients that have chronic pain and also doing what can be described as a practice surgery.  This idea has fascinated me because it can lead to better outcomes with most patients that are about to have surgery.  It allows the surgeon to practice the surgery first without the consequences.  Now the other night while my girlfriend and I were watching one of our shows The Good Doctorprior to doing a near impossible procedure they used virtual reality to see how the surgery would go.  After many attempts using the virtual reality they were finally able to get the outcome that they had hoped for and were able to successfully do the surgery.  Now I know that this is only a TV show but it just shows how technology is transforming the medical field and allowing us to do things that we never thought possible.  And for the TV show, I would definitely recommend watching it!

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The PLN portfolio

What is a PLN?  Well first off PLN stands for Personal Learning Network and it is something where you can broadcast your ideas and opinions for others to see.  There is a lot of give and take that goes on within my PLN.  This was through using twitter to see new ideas and thoughts that experts in my field were bringing forward.  By reading these opinions of the experts in my field I was able to expand my knowledge in regards to what is happening in the health field.  I was also able to broadcast my own opinions for others to see which was different because through one retweet my opinion would be broadcasted to that persons followers giving me a much larger audience.  My PLN was built with the health field as its backbone and by forming my own opinions based off of articles that were written by the experts in my field.

Through my PLN I have added to my knowledge of the health field and have also been able to shape my own learning.  As of now I believe that my future will be focused on the ideas around raising awareness about diseases the affect the elderly like dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Through my PLN I have and will continue to learn from articles published by experts in this field and will hopefully gather my own set of follower to interact with regarding this topic.  Without my PLN I would not have access to this sea of information that is readily available to me to access at any time. Below you will find a link to my ‘storify’ which has a summary of the information that I have read about this past semester as well as my own opinion on the topics.

https://storify.com/mcsherrybrandon/my-pln

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Applied project outline

My plan for my applied project is to hold a seminar this Sunday at my nursing facility about early diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s Disease.  I have posted flyers around my nursing facility to let people know that this seminar will be taking place.  It is important to me to do this around my nursing facility so I can educate some of the family members of the patients that I care for about what to monitor for.  This is important because a lot of time Alzheimer’s runs in families.  I plan on videotaping the seminar then posting it to my ePort and sharing it through twitter.  Below is a sample outline of the topics I will talk about during the seminar.

  • Introduce Alzheimer’s disease
  • Talk about risk factors for disease
  • Give reasons why early diagnosis of disease is essential
  • Talk about visual warning signs of disease
  • Talk about different ways to manage disease
    • Nonpharmacological
    • Pharmacological
  • Talk about different Alzheimer’s organizations and association
  • Q & A
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New experiences and new skills

Though my semester has been different than those by other student because I am only taking two classes while working full time I feel as if I have obtained a vast knowledge through my job.  My current job is as a Licensed Practical Nurse at a nursing facility.  I spend a lot of time on a unit that is dedicated to patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease but I also take time to float to other floors.  Every day brings about new experiences and new learning opportunities.  Over the time that I have worked that I have done different dementia training exercises, hands on skills, as well as many other types of training.

Through the facility we must complete yearly training on dealing with patients who suffer from dementia.  I took a lot away from this exercise because it gave my specific idea when it comes to ways to redirect patients or how to reduce their anxiety level in certain situations.  I think that as a whole the staff members benefitted greatly from the exercise because we all work together as a team when dealing with problems so some staff members may know how deal with problems in different ways that are effective.  I also think that the training benefits the patients because I allowed us insight to what is going on with the patients during troublesome times and how we can best react to these situations.

Mark Holloway, Nurses, 2017

Over the past couple of months of working at my facility I have tried to become more independent with my work.  By independent I mean that I still seek out valuable advice and opinions from the other nurses who I work with but I try to go out of my way to figure out different nursing skills that I believe that I should work on.  These skills include things like inserting catheters, changing wound vacuum dressings, working with gastrostomy tubes, and many other things.  I try to look at the treatments that will be performed on other units and ask the other nurses if I can either do the treatments or at least observe them doing the treatments.  Over the time that I have been doing this I have become much or confident in doing these treatments and I also feel that I wouldn’t feel as timid if a treatment arose that I hadn’t done before.

I am continuing to gain new experiences every day that I’m on the job and will continue to expand my skill set with each treatment that I perform.  These will both be very important in the future because I believe that I will have a much different background than many in my field.  Through different trainings and through more time doing hands on skills I’ll be able to become an expert in caring for the elderly population which is a category that no matter who are, you will fall into it eventually.  That is one huge reason why I believe that caring for the elderly population should be better advertised than it unfortunately is.

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Professional Interdisciplinarians

This article that I found talks about the Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale and how it is used to assess how someone views their own professions relationship with another profession.  This interested me because before entering this program I didn’t really think too much into this topic but just continued to work with different disciplines when necessary.  At this point when I work with other professionals from other disciplines I try to think of solutions to problems that can benefit both parties.  I believe that a lot of people still think in ways that don’t benefit both parties, not on purpose but just because they realize that there are solutions that can help both parties.

This article by Vaughan did a study using questionnaires to see if different professions realized that they were participating in interdisciplinary collaboration.  Though the results of this study ended up being inconclusive I believe that the idea behind the study is important.  I believe that if more professionals understood what interdisciplinary collaboration was about then most professions would progress more efficiently through their problems and find solutions that appease more parties.

Crash Symbols, Teamwork, 2016

 

Work Cited:

Vaughan B, Macfarlane C, Dentry T, Mendoza G. The Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS): which factor structure?. Education In Medicine Journal[serial online]. September 2014;6(3):e67-e71. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 20, 2017.

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Telemedicine

Over the past week I read an article that talked about different ways that telemedicine is expanding.  The is a topic that I love to read about because I think that it is a great way to allow a larger population of people to have appropriate healthcare. The article itself just gives basic information about telemedicine and the different ways it can be used but what was nice to see was that others shared the same opinion.  I originally retweeted the link to the article and gave my two cents about the topic and afterwards I saw that three people (with much more followers than me) had retweeted my opinion as well as a couple of favorites.  It was nice to see that others agree with my opinion and like it enough that they shared it for their followers to see.  It was especially nice seeing as though it’s a topic that I find very important and something that will continue to expand in

Kendrick Meek, Viewing a telemedicine machine, 2010

the future.

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