Saint John’s Hospice, a Catholic Men’s Social Services shelter, is located at the Center of Philadelphia City. Saint John’s provides essential life-sustaining services with compassion, respect and dignity to Philadelphia’s homeless men (Saint John’s Hospice, 2022). The organization’s mission is to be grounded in service and faith community whereby homeless men find nourishment, respect, dignity and more opportunities for novel beginnings. This organization offers residence to more than 250 homeless men yearly and meals to more than 3000 needy and homeless men weekly (Saint John’s Hospice, 2022). In addition, it also provides 160 showers coupled with shoes, underwear, and clean clothing every week. Its services also incorporate mailroom-related services for more than 900 homeless men and emergency shelters for about 27 unceasingly homeless men (Saint John’s Hospice, 2022). The role of a nurse in this organization is to offer medical assistance for all guests and residents who can exceed 375 men daily.
When checking the vitals of homeless men at this site, we noticed that most of them suffered from hypertension but never took any medication. This demonstrates that even though these individuals get food and shelter from this organization, their medical needs are not sufficiently met. During this time, I also noticed that none of them ate bread, but I did not understand why. This organization enhances the health of its guests and residents by offering counseling, medical assistance, and case management to all of them. The case managers here offer brief one-on-one referrals to medical services and counselling. However, I noticed two primary challenges in this organization that significantly face nursing here. Inadequate resources form one of the significant issues facing nursing at this site. Nursing resources on this site are in short supply as they are global. According to Lai et al. (2021), as the demand for chronic and acute diseases patients’ needs is increasing, nursing resources to meet these needs are in shortage in many nations around the globe. Another challenge impacting nursing at St John’s Hospice is the lack of nurses. Inadequate staffing makes offering on-site nursing services a challenge. As such, most of these homeless men’s medical needs are left unattended. In their article, Lai et al. (2021) also recognize inadequate staffing is among the primary challenges facing the nursing practice. After the case managers offer referrals to medical services, most of them are unable to seek the needed care due to a lack of income to provide the necessary financing to cater to the needed care. Moreover, lack of social support hinders most of them from pursuing the needed care. As mentioned earlier, we noticed that most of the residents at this organization had hypertension but never took any medication. After investigation, we found that lack of income and social support were the main issues hindering these individuals from seeking the needed care. The nurse advocates for the aggregate population of this site by assisting them in making informed decisions in regard to their health and translating medical terms as well as making ethical decisions. The organization contributes to community health by offering counseling, medical assistance, and case management services to all guests and residents who exceed 375 men daily.
The most valuable lesson I learned from this clinical experience at St John’s Hospice is how to properly check the vitals of homeless people while being encouraged by the staff next to me (Saint John’s Hospice, 2022). I learned various time management skills and understood that clinical practice requires great communication and listening skills. The community clinical experience was indeed what I expected. This is because I was expecting to interact with and assess the medical needs of homeless individuals to pinpoint the primary medical issue common to this population group. This is what exactly transpired during this experience. I will use the knowledge gained from these experiences to improve my existing skills, pinpoint areas where I need to improve, and focus on improving such areas to enhance my professional growth.
I effectively checked the vitals of the homeless people, communicated their preferences and values, and appropriately expressed their medical necessities to other site members as planned. I could also function competently within my scope of practice and as a healthcare team member. I could communicate appropriately and effectively with others in written, verbal and nonverbal forms. According to Lai et al. (2021), “the nursing profession is highly practical” and therefore requires pursuing clinical practice to acquire competencies that can enable one to advance their professional growth.
Lai, W., Jin, R., He, R., & Ding, X. (2021). Current situation and influencing factors of the nursing practice environment in five tertiary general hospitals in Shenzhen: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Public Health, 1-8.
Saint John’s Hospice. (2022). Saint John’s Hospice Information. https://saintjohnshospice.org/get-info/information/