Old age is sensitive, and that’s why it requires the most particular care. A geriatric nurse is a special kind of nurse particularly trained to take care of senior citizens. These nurses specialize in working with elderly patients and are trained to understand their needs better than regular nurses. Geriatric nurses are also called “caregivers” as not only do they perform clinical-based tasks for a patient, but they also assist their patients in everyday chores like using the bathroom, changing clothes, and having timely meals.
Due to the increase in the aging population, geriatric nurses are in high demand. Thus, a lot of people are looking for ways in which they can hire the perfect nurse for their senior loved ones. Realistically speaking, looking for the perfect nurse can be highly overwhelming, but it is not completely impossible. While there is no such thing as a perfect nurse, you can still find one that is the best suited for the needs of the elderly. Here are certain guidelines you can follow to find the best caregiver for you and your loved ones.
- Confirm Their Eligibility
Before hiring a nurse, ensure that you confirm their credibility. It means that you should carefully review their application and make sure of whether their claims are legitimate. Request for their documents and check for signatures and stamps to see if the transcripts are genuine. While doing the security check, make sure you keep your behavior professional instead of being offensive. Also, ensure they have an RN license and a nursing degree like DNP online programs or the likes from a well-known nursing institute. These courses are made to equip nurses with useful skills. These skills include leadership, emergency management, and technology implementation, which can be highly useful for you and your patient. In general, the higher the education a nurse has, the better they will be at managing the patient.
After gathering essential documents like degrees, certificates, and ID documents, you can also call up the nurse’s previous places of employment to confirm their respective work histories. Before doing so, schedule a video call and tell the applicant to run checks on them. Ask the candidate to present referrals as well. It can be in the form of recommendation letters or approval of clients they have previously worked with. The more recommendations a nurse has, the more likely they are skilled at their job.
- Run Background Checks
It is essential to run background checks on your nurse. After all, this is someone you’re trusting your loved one with. You can either go to an office or hire an investigator to learn about their history from the hospitals they’ve worked in. Hospitals have databases of each employee that has worked in the unit. With written consent, you can access the nurse’s history.
The history involves every kind of clinical case the nurse has worked on, any drug use they’ve monitored, or any form of surgery they’ve scrubbed in. It can be helpful to rule out nurses that have mostly worked with senior citizens. However, it is important to note that you can only access these details once you have full-fledged permission from the applicant; otherwise, you may be in trouble for the breach of their privacy.
- Address Your Expectations
You must be 100% transparent while hiring a nurse. Talk about what expectations you have, in all honesty. Be upfront about what kind of challenges the applicant might face. If there are any behavioral/psychological concerns that the senior citizen might have, communicate them with the nurse and ask if they can manage them. By being completely honest and transparent, you will be able to find the best-suited nurse for your family member.
Don’t present the patient as someone easy to deal with if you know they’re not. You want the nurse to stick around for what the job they were told about and not some false claim. Also, talk about any benefits, pay, or consequences the caregiver may have upon being late or absent. You can also offer incentives like greater pay for coming on the weekend or sick/vacation leaves. Remember to make payment guidelines clear and inform the nurse about any emergency procedures that may be required.
- Assess Performance
If you think you’ve found the perfect caregiver, don’t permanently hire them just yet. Give them a trial period of two weeks at least. Tell the nurse their required duties like medication timings, bathing times, eating schedule, recording specific vitals, etc. Provide them with essentials like your contact number or the doctor’s contact number and observe them while on duty.
An important trait to assess is the emotional intelligence of the nurse. More than often, senior citizens tend to be angry and irritable due to the pain of the disease or the feeling of being a “burden” to their family. A good nurse should be able to cope with this by maintaining a cheerful attitude at all times. Ensure the nurse you’re about to work with keeps you updated with everything in regards to the patient. It indicates a heightened sense of duty- something you’d want in the perfect nurse. Also, look for traits like punctuality and commitment to the role. Is the nurse arriving on time? Are they ensuring that the patient is in the best state both mentally and physically? And most importantly, is the patient comfortable with the hired nurse?
Hiring the perfect nurse can be challenging. However, it can be much more manageable once appropriate steps are taken. Some key steps you can take are confirming the credentials of the potential caregiver, seeking out recommendations, and doing your research. Other methods include assessing the performance of the nurse and seeing if you’re satisfied. Remember to address realistic expectations and not portray false images. Also, ensure that your patient is happy with their nurse as ultimately a good nurse is the one who can communicate well with their patients and keeps all their needs in check.