Reflective Journal File As I write this, it is raining. As grey as the clouds are now, so were my apprehension about this assignment when it was first handed to me. I am trying my best to pen down my thoughts about this reflective journal. It seems as though time has taken a pause as I try to fit my whole life experience into the given word limit. The sessions that I had at the Cancer Council Cottage Hospice were truly informative, educative and best of all, ENRICHING! The experience was better than what a textbook could offer and it was a real treat for me as a health care worker.

Topics that were introduced to me were palliative care in health care service, holistic assessment, team work, grief, bereavement, and mouth care and bowel management. The topic I truly felt I could most connect with was pain management. Making the decision to come to Australia was a huge step for me. Personally, I hate flying and it simply scares me. I can only attribute my fear to the string of past terrorist plane hijacks. The thought that I might be caught up in one fuels this fear.

Although I am aware of the heightened security measures taken, I am still not very much convinced. So I was forced to come out from my comfort zone. I felt suffocated as I had no control over what was to come. In relation to this palliative care unit, I realise that fears and pains that an individual faces at any point of time should be addressed. We should never brush them aside. Instead, we should nourish it with constant reassurance and guidance and together with the support of loved ones, all obstacles are conquerable or somehow seen less unbearable.

There was abundant information and screening to see what was really needed was necessary. The demanding process of it all was having to sieve through and making sense of the clutter. While researching, I got very involved and passionate about the topic. Personally, I feel as a nurse, we are sometimes too quick to brush away the pain that a patient is experiencing as insignificant. Simply because the classroom education that we have received tells us that the patient may be addicted to a specific drug or basically he/she is unable to tolerate the pain (Redmond, 1998).

What I have truly discovered during this journey is that no matter how big or small the pain is perceived, pain is pain and it should not be neglected. It is real to the person experiencing it, it causes discomfort and if it can be addressed in any way, then it should (Miaskowski, 2001). For it is the smallest of efforts that make the difference. The clinical placement for me was deja vu. The palliative care unit is a bittersweet experience as it reminded me of my grandfather who passed away due to cancer, and thus the reason why pain management was a dear topic for me.

I was able to relate to it as I was still adjusting from the sudden death of my grandfather and soon after, having to leave my grandmother alone in Singapore. The emotional scars and the memories are very much still fresh for me. I felt vulnerable and I needed some care and attention. In this sense, I could relate to the kind of special attention that should be given to palliative care patients. I have realised that everyone feels a certain type of pain in his/her own lifetime. My grandfather was battling cancer for eleven years. The plight of the patients that I saw at the palliative unit brought back painful memories.

This reflection charts my personal growth as a student, the challenges, trials and triumphs I have faced upon arriving till now. I am coping well and I enjoy my classes because I am involved in them and they encourage participation with my peers- a somewhat good distraction when I start to miss home. I enjoyed doing a research on a topic I could relate to and one that I was passionate about. I had a personal interest in the topic and personally feel that it is a pressing issue that plagues all societies and one that needs continual addressing.

This has not only been an educational experience but I have also been able to discover myself further. Reflecting on the experience I end off by asking if I would do it again given the opportunity. Definitely! References Lessons in dying and living. (2003, September 1). The Age. Miaskowski, C. (2001). Different kinds of pain. Pain Management Nursing. 2 (4), 119-120. Redmond, K. (1998). Barriers to the effective management of pain. International Journal Of Palliative Nursing. 4(6), 276-283. Taylor, B. J. (2000). Reflective practice: A guide for nurses and midwives. Australia: Allen & Unwin.

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