I am currently a member of the Somerset County Conversation of Your Life task force. I was invited to be a guest panelist at the April 11, 2018 “Have you had the Conversation?” at the Franklin Township Public Library. This event was part of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute’s Conversation of Your Life program, which encourages New Jersey adults to discuss their end of life wishes early, in creative community events. The panel consisted of myself, representing healthcare providers, an elder law attorney, and a hospital chaplain. Approximately 20 people attended.
I enjoyed being part of this program for several reasons. First, the community members who attended were genuinely seeking information they were afraid to discuss or ask questions about. As the medical representative, I was able to educate the audience, in laymen’s terms, what different medical terms were (i.e. “G-tube”), provide information and improved understanding about different invasive procedures, and offer insight into the need to have an advance directive. Second, I was out of my “silo” and gained a greater awareness of other community partners and future collaborators and expanded my own network of influence. Lastly, I felt valued as a knowledgeable nurse who can add more to the health and wellness of the community than doing blood pressures during a health fair.
I loved doing something different that I had never done before that included using my healthcare knowledge in the community.