Journals from NURS 298 PA Health Care in New Zealand
2010-01-18 Nelson Hospital
At the Nelson Hospital!
Although Nelson is a smaller rural town in comparison to Auckland, it happens to be the geological center of New Zealand. Nelson is a cute rural town on the south island of New Zealand. It has a comforting feeling about it, and it is apparent that it is a tight knit community. One of our health care visits within Nelson was to the Nelson hospital; upon arrival we were greeted by Elaine, a rehabilitation nurse. The Nelson hospital is smaller in size in comparison to what we have seen in Auckland and Rotorua, but the hospital is proficient in offering a wide range of services in a small space. This can be seen in the rehabilitation unit as it is a 20-bed unit, which is the unit we primarily viewed because of Elaines specialty. One of the many interesting things Elaine shared with us is that the Nelson health care professionals as a whole focus on providing great basic care with a multidisciplinary approach. When extensive care is needed, such as a major surgery, patients must go to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.
Aside from a quick peak at the physical therapy area in Rotorua hospital, this was my first rehab unit experience. Elaine explained that the age group most often seen is 65 and older, although the age is dropping and they are starting to see more and more patients at a younger age. Cardiovascular accidents (strokes) are among the highest reasons for persons to be admitted to this unit and much of their therapy is directed towards individuals and their families.
Because I lack the experience to compare this rehabilitation center to its equivalent in the U.S., I talked with some of the nursing students that had a bit more experience. They shared with me that the Good Samaritan Medical Center has a unit that is very similar to what we viewed, the biggest difference being that the therapies are located on a different ward. This being that the patients all slept and were cared for in one unit, but when needing to undergo physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc., they traveled to a different portion of the hospital. It was nice to see in Nelson that the various therapies were located close to the patients, including the pool, which was located on the same unit, making recovery extremely accessible for the patients.
Some of the highlights of this unit included the dining room, which was within walking distance, giving patients an opportunity to walk and practice. I found it fascinating that visitors were not allowed in the dining room due to the fact that some patients might be embarrassed by their change in eating style; this also gives patients an opportunity to socialize and leave their room. The garden outside was beautiful and patients were encouraged to travel out to the garden to get fresh air and enjoy the sunlight. The garden was unique in the fact that it provided various different types of surfaces for the patients to practice walking on.
What stood out to me the most in the Nelson hospital was the kitchen and living area provided for those patients who are almost ready to go home. When a patient is almost ready to be sent home, they stay in a different area of the unit; this living area gives them an opportunity to make breakfast for themselves and have their own living space, providing the patient with independence, and preparing them for their travel home.
Although this was a new experience for me, it was wonderful to see the physical therapies first hand. Talking with the patients and their feelings about the nurses was nothing but positive, the patients were appreciative towards their nurses and didnt mind being in the hospital under these conditions. Some of our visits are more first hand than other ones, and this visit allowed much informal contact and conversation with the patients. We were able to ask questions about their therapies and how they felt about being in the hospital. One woman I specifically spoke with while she practiced her balance and proprioception, explained how happy she was to be there, how much she loved the nursing staff and how she feels better than she has in years. Because I am still on the pre-nursing course and dont know exactly what field I will pursue within nursing, this experience helps me to further understand myself, what I enjoy and what I can see myself doing in the future.