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Treating Patients with Chronic Conditions

Chronic conditions are a major issue that many patients are facing and the numbers seem to be on the rise. These ongoing ailments can be painful, frustrating and frightening. As a student in an LVN to RN school, what can you do to help ease the stress of these patients?

About 15 years ago I had a major car accident. I was sitting in the back middle seat of an old SUV that did not come equipped with a seatbelt. I was young and in college and stupidly thought “We’re only going a couple of miles away. What could happen?” Well, what happened was the driver turned to talk to those of us in the backseat and didn’t see the cars in front of us stop. We crashed into three cars at 35 miles per hour. I flew into the dashboard and scalped myself… yep, peeled it back like a too ripe peach (not to mention the impact to my spine, plus a minor concussion, and everything else that comes with head injuries…)

So what’s the point of my story? I completely understand where these chronic pain patients are coming from. As grateful as I am to be alive, each day I struggle to put my discomfort aside to take care of my family. According to NurseZone.com contributor Megan M. Krischke, I’m not alone. Nearly half of all adults in the United States suffer from chronic conditions.

Dawn M. James, MSN, RN, CNS, CDE, deputy director of public health for Kit Carson County Health and Human Services (KCCHHS) in Burlington, Colorado advises “The most important thing for any nurse to understand is that prevention strategies are much more powerful than trying to treat an existing disease. The more savvy and knowledgeable a nurse is about disease risk factors and prevention, the more he or she has to offer their community.”

There are also different nurse led programs to help patients and their caregivers deal with their health difficulties. James leads one such program that is “a peer- or nurse-led, six-week course that uses a research-based model to teach people how to self-manage their chronic conditions so that they do not get worse and can even improve their health.” James states “The program teaches people to do good self-management through diet, exercise, medication administration and knowing how to talk to health care providers.”

Chronic conditions are certainly a challenge that no one wants to face. However, caring and competent nurses and doctors are worth their weight in gold. Students in an RN college have my appreciation; as a patient, you make a huge difference!

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