In 2017, around 36 million people were estimated to have contracted HIV, and more than 2 million people had died from complications of AIDS. As a result, 10 million children were orphaned after losing one or both of their parents to AIDS. Most of these disturbing statistics exist due to the lack of nursing diagnosis for HIV/AIDS patients. 42% of the people down with AIDS do not receive care, and several others do not even know that they are infected with the virus. This is where nursing management for HIV/AIDS comes into the picture.
Nursing students who are under HIV/AIDS nursing diagnosis training are taught to reduce morbidity, prolong life, improve the quality of life, and restore immune function. A huge wave of change has been brought in the form of medications that has broken the age-old myth about the incurability of HIV infection. With nursing in HIV/AIDS getting its due importance, even antiretroviral therapy has been introduced to treat opportunistic diseases associated with HIV. To keep the fatal infection in check, HIV/AIDS nursing management has cut the ribbon for primary care services such as vaccinations, routine health screenings, and early treatment for threatening infections.
Thanks to nursing in HIVAIDS, there has been a 37% decrease in HIV/AIDS-related deaths in the last few years. With Nursing and HIV/AIDS going hand in hand, the number of infants infected through natal transmission has gone down considerably too.
Nowadays, HIV/AIDS nursing is ubiquitous. From checking pregnant women for HIV to take the families of the HIV-affected patients into account – nursing management in HIV/AIDS has been successful in bringing about a positive impact.
HIV/AIDS nursing and the core duties: chief areas that HIV nurses look into
The nurses who are trained to take care of HIV/AIDS patients work towards one goal – to reduce the rate of mortality and increase the quality of life of the patients affected by HIV. HIV/AIDS nursing students are trained to raise issues related to patient care and consult with other team members in difficult cases. They monitor health and keep a check on the symptoms shown by the patients. HIV/AIDS nursing students are also taught how to monitor medication use. This involves knowing the reason for consuming a drug and the action that the drug has. They are made aware of the dosage, the schedule and the possible side effects after the consumption of the drugs.
HIV/AIDS nursing training goes beyond the ambit of acute physical care and they are also supposed to support the patients mentally. Since the patients are in a vulnerable state, HIV/AIDS nursing trains caregivers to take care of the mental health of the patients placed under their supervision. There are several symptoms that an HIV-infected patient may exhibit which cannot be treated with drugs. Symptoms like anorexia, weight loss, night sweats, emotional distress, and dizziness are common and nurses are trained to assist the patients as and when needed and intervene to help. Under HIV/AIDS nursing, nurses are trained to provide alternative or local therapies for insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
HIV/AIDS nursing diagnosis also covers care given to the families of HIV infected patients since AIDS is a contractible disease. They are trained to identify possible risks for HIV infection and convince the family members of the patient to get tested. HIV/AIDS nursing management students are also vested with the responsibility to educate people for risk reduction.
Challenges with HIV/AIDS Nursing| Societal shackles that the disease comes with
To this day, HIV is treated as a taboo and people who know that they are HIV positive do not want others to know. 64.6% of nurses working under HIV/AIDS nursing units indicated that patients have denied sharing information about being HIV-infected and this has posed as the biggest challenge to them in their work. Most HIV/AIDS nurses consider alternative employment and are ready to give up their HIV/AIDS nursing jobs due to the tendency of maintaining secrecy among HIV/AIDS patients.
Secrecy has also led to an increase in the workload of nurses. Since the status of most HIV patients remains unknown, record keeping had become an insurmountable task. Due to inadequacy in records of HIV test results, patients often have to be taken to different HIV testing facilities, thus adding up to the workload.
Moreover, due to the lack of participation of families in most cases, HIV/AIDS nursing jobs comes with immense pressure. Nurses are required to give in a lot of time due to the lack of family support and longer recovery time. Also, since the patients do not permit to inform their families about their HIV status, caregivers working under the HIV/AIDS nursing management wings are unable to educate the family members about the precautionary measures to protect themselves from the disease and to avoid it from spreading any further.
Problems experienced by professional nurses caring for HIV/AIDS people
Did you know that the salary package for HIV/AIDS nursing jobs in the USA is more than an average of $75,000? And yet, there is a dearth of candidates for nursing posts in the HIV/AIDS care departments. Ever wondered why?
Posing a massive threat in the field of HIV/AIDS nursing jobs is the possibility of becoming infected with HIV. This is precisely why nursing in HIV/AIDS environment has seen such slow progress. Despite paying generously for HIV/AIDS nursing jobs, nursing students think twice to pursue this branch due to their fear of becoming infected in the course of their professional duties. Since the amount of contact that nurses have to maintain with the patients under HIV/AIDS nursing units is a lot, nurses fear of being infected by the virus even more. And the catatonia does not end here. Several nurses feel afraid that they might end up infecting their partners and children due to continuous exposure to HIV/AIDS at work. Many nurses under the department of nursing management for HIV/AIDS have resigned from their HIV/AIDS nursing jobs due to objections raised by their families who were concerned about their being in close contact with patients suffering from an infectious disease like HIV. And the risk isn’t fictional altogether.
A study has confirmed that health workers and the members of HIV/AIDS nursing staff run a risk of getting a hospital-acquired transmission because of the lack of reliable sterilizing equipment and infection control programs. And not just physically, but nurses also found that nursing in HIV/AIDS environment has proved to be mentally taxing too. There are several patients who are critically ill and supporting them can get emotionally stressful. The very thought that the patients under the nurses would eventually succumb to the disease and yet giving them a false hope often brings the HIV/AIDS nursing staff to the edge of their sanity.
Moreover, due to poor record keeping, nurses have to deal with a lot of workload with patients increasing by the hour and an acute shortage of nursing staff in the HIV/AIDS department. Add to these woes, very few of the health facilities around the world have an adequate supply of sterilizing equipment. To this day, these problems are not addressed appropriately, and that is precisely why nursing and HIV/AIDS has not seen a remarkable change in the field.
Risk assessment for HIV/AIDS Nursing: how to overcome the hurdles?
There are many ways to prevent the hazards of working in an HIV environment. To start with, HIV/AIDS nursing workers should assume all body fluids to be infected and take precautions. They should use protective covering like gloves, goggles and face masks. Proper measures should be taken for handling and disposing of needles and surgical instruments used on HIV/AIDS patients. Also, HIV/AIDS nursing workers must strive to get the infected person’s information which includes name, address, phone number, and HIV status.
Here are some of the questions that a nurse must ask when dealing with an HIV/AIDS patient:
In case of a skin puncture
- How shallow or deep is it?
- What was it caused by?
- Was there any blood on the surface of the instrument?
- Was the object in prior contact with an infected person?
- Were you wearing a protective covering while dealing with it?
In case of skin or mucous splash
- What type of body fluid were you exposed to?
- How much body fluid did you get in touch with?
- Which part of the body was exposed?
- For how long a time was the fluid in contact with your flesh?
- Was there a cut in your skin?
- Was there an open wound?
Information about the infected person
- How long is the window period or seroconversion?
- Is the HIV positive patient AIDS-infected?
- What are the medicines used to treat the source?
- Is the patient in the final stages of the disease?
- Is the patient an intravenous drug user?
Questionnaire for the HIV/AIDS nursing care unit staff about themselves:
- Have you been exposed to HIV before?
- How and when have you been exposed to the virus?
- What were the results?
- Are you sexually active?
- Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What are the additional health problems that you have?
- What medicines are you taking currently?
- Are you allergic to anything?
Nurses played a crucial role in curing HIV/AIDS patients. With HIV/AIDS nursing management in the scene, hospice and palliative were introduced to facilitate HIV/AIDS nursing techniques. Nurses can provide comfort and mental support apart from symptom management to patients infected with HIV/AIDS. Unlike ages ago, HIV/AIDS is not treated as an incurable disease anymore.
Today, healthcare advances have transformed HIV infection from a death sentence to a chronic condition through HIV/AIDS nursing management. Nurses providing nursing management for HIV/AIDS have played a critical role in paving the way of improvement in the care structure of the disease, thus making HIV/AIDS nursing jobs a highly honorable profession.
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