The course on human growth and development was an excellent opportunity to enhance my knowledge of various issues connected to growing up and aging. I believe that a solid understanding of the various developmental stages can help me in my future work as a nurse, as it will enable me to provide age-specific care to patients. Age-specific care is essential to promote better health outcomes because it allows ensuring that the treatment and care plan is appropriate to the person’s developmental stage.
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The particular part of the course that I found to be the most enjoyable was “Describe the Dying and Death Issues Across the Life Span: Defining Death, Causes, and Reactions”. This part of the course was focused on how death is perceived at different stages of life, as well as on its causes. Examining the causes of death by age was important, as it can help me to prevent patient deaths in my future practice. For example, according to CDC (2017), malignant neoplasms are the leading cause of death in people aged 45-64. Therefore, recognizing the early signs of cancer and encouraging patients from this age group to undergo cancer screening could allow me to save lives.
Studying the definition of death was also interesting, as it showed me how death is a complex term that cannot be defined easily. As indicated by Nogrady (2013), the concept of death has evolved over time. Whereas in the times of Shakespeare’s death was perceived as the cessation of breathing, today, there are technologies that allow sustaining essential life functions, such as breathing and blood circulation, even after brain death (Nogrady, 2013).
The definition of death is thus a surprisingly complex issue that has a significant impact on nursing practice and care. For instance, it evokes questions regarding the decisions to stop life-sustaining treatment, which can be difficult both for health practitioners and the patient’s relatives.
Another problem that was addressed as part of this course was people’s reactions to death at various stages of life. Here, the relationship between age and death works in two separate ways: our reaction to a person’s death depends both on his or her age, as well as on ours.
For example, Hughes (2013) states that children’s idea of death has been widely studied by psychologists and other medical professionals. A 1975 study confirmed that at the age of three, only ten percent of children understand that death is irreversible; by the age of four, however, this share rises to 58 percent (Hughes, 2013). We also react to death differently based on the patient’s age: children’s deaths are usually viewed as tragic and untimely, whereas deaths of elderly people are somewhat easier to accept.
Despite the fact that death is a difficult topic, I enjoyed studying this part of the course, and I believe the knowledge obtained will allow me to be more effective in my future clinical practice. For instance, understanding the causes of death can help to prevent it, whereas learning about reactions to death at different stages of life will allow me to provide age-specific help and advice to dying patients and their families. In my opinion, a thorough understanding of death, its causes, and reactions to it are crucial for any nurse, as it enhances the quality of care provided to patients and allows supporting their families during the copying process.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2017). Ten leading causes of death and injury. Web.
Hughes, V. (2013). When do kids understand death? National Geographic Phenomena. Web.
Nogrady, B. (2013). Defining death: When exactly do we die? ABC Health & Wellbeing. Web.