2017 Membership Assembly: Understanding the changing community

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ANA Membership Assembly 2016 Representative Report

It was yet another blissful experience to attend the American Nurse Association 2016 Membership Assembly in Washington, D.C. There were three full intense yet exciting day of education, ideas, and networking. With endless information to share one would not know where to begin. However there are some key points that nursing needs to consider addressing as it pertains to this changing community and the world outside.

The nursing assessment consists of a head to toe assessment of the male and female. It is inclusive of the physical, mental, developmental, psychosocial, etc. But, have we realized that over the years such is no longer the case. People are now comfortable and happy with the changes/difference in their physical anatomy. As one ponders in thoughts they might say, what exactly is she talking about? I am referencing those whose sexual organs are of concern or not based on the human anatomy; term called transvesdite. How do we do physically assess these clients? Do we select the obvious? Or select the client’s preference. What exactly do we do? With all these thoughts to consider, is there such an option in the assessment of that type of client? Is there or are there education provided for nurses, to be knowledgeable and ready to expect the unexpected? Nurses need to be prepared and have the basic education of what it means to provide adequate nursing care to those clients.

Let’s not forget the assessment of the family. A family consists of a traditional male, female and child. Well not anymore, laws were passed and we now have legalization of the LGBT community. What do you do or say when an obvious male person tells you this is his husband, or two females say we are his parents. Would you drop your mouth in awe, shake your head or turn up your face as if “what has this world come to,” “Jesus take the wheel,” or “Lord help us.” The family dynamics have changed. Is it included in the psychosocial assessment?  Is there such an option? How does the nurse ask these pertinent questions without fear of appearing bias, or insensitive?  Preparation through education gives the nurse enough time for assessment of self, understanding not acceptance, and the ability to detach from personal thoughts and feelings.  The nurse needs to be able to provide proper professional care to these individuals, because after all nursing is indeed a caring profession.

The culture of healthcare is changing.  Therefore the way nursing care is provided will change whether prepared or not. Nursing is indeed a professional practice and with the changing culture around us we must change, yet remain professional. With all these changes let us not forget to include our total health. Take part in a health initiative, whether its physical exercise, proper nutrition or quality of life.  Become a role model of health. Healthy nurses results in a healthy nation. Thank you.

Prepared by:
Alexandria Bradley, RN