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I was not looking forward to a rotation in a locked psychiatric ward during my BSN training, it was merely something to be endured in order to reach my goal of becoming a midwife. I found the ward to be a disturbing environment but was filled with sympathy for the patients and curious about them as individuals, the causes of their conditions and the treatments being provided. I knew that these people once had dreams and goals and had families and friends who loved them and who were desperate to have them find a way out of the mental maze in which they were living their unhappy lives. I wanted to help people such as these and my unexpected vocation was formed.
My particular interests are dementia and depression. Soon after graduating, I started work for a non-profit agency that specialized in providing and coordinating care for the elderly with the aim of extending their independent lives. As a Spanish speaker, I work mainly with the aged Latino population and love doing so but have witnessed how the lack of qualified bilingual/bicultural providers can leave very vulnerable patients undertreated or even effectively abandoned. One smart, articulate but difficult 89 year old patient requested psychiatric and counseling care but the only Spanish speaking provider was overwhelmed with referrals and access to help involving a translator would involve a long wait. He was ultimately placed in a locked psychiatric ward and the courts sought guardianship to have him permanently institutionalized. It is heartbreaking to see how the shortage of suitably qualified and bilingual providers adversely affect the lives of elderly patients and this situation has impelled me to seek the specialist skills and knowledge that the program provides in order to be part of the solution to such problems.
The aging of the population will increase the problems that I have witnessed and there will be an increasing need for healthcare providers and the community in general to identify and implement ways of extending the independence and quality of life of the elderly. It is my hope to assist in research into neurotransmitters and cognitive disorders and specifically dementia, which will assist in these goals.
Although I hope to work mainly or exclusively with Latino patients, I am aware that this may not always be the case. I have happily studied, worked with and treated people of many cultural and social backgrounds and consider myself culturally aware and sensitive. I have worked as a volunteer with the Boston Reserve Medical Corps in immunization clinics.
I am aware that the program will be very demanding. I undertake to participate fully, wholeheartedly and enthusiastically in the program and am determined to successfully complete it. I know that the program will attract many well qualified applicants. However, I do consider myself to be an exceptional candidate. I have substantial experience in interacting with the elderly who are facing the mental effects of aging and I am fully aware of the role that MSN qualified nurses fulfill when working with the elderly. Most importantly, I am passionately committed to providing culturally sensitive care to the underserved elderly in the Latino community as a specialist nurse.