My training and practice as a professional nurse most certainly gave me the confidence to choose to care for my mother’s complex needs at home, but it wasn’t my training and experience that qualified me.
I learned from my work in hemodialysis that people without any medical experience can be taught the skills needed to provide in-home hemodialysis treatments for others. The requirements included a desire to learn, the responsibility to practically apply each skill as they had been taught, and the maturity to ask for help when they needed it. I’ve come to believe that is true of many other non-intensive care treatments, as well.
Shortly after mother was moved into our home, despite my training, I realized that I lacked many of the skills needed to care for her. Because home health nurses and a physical therapist were ordered initially, I was able to learn from them how to properly care for mother’s bed sores and how to do her range-of-motion exercises. Over time I learned how to provide a variety of treatments I had never used in my nursing practice to meet mother’s increasing needs.
Though my confidence may have waned a bit initially, I remembered my hemodialysis experience and knew that I could learn what ever skill was needed to provide the loving and personal home care that I so desired for my mother.