My Story as a DME Nurse (Department of Medicine for the Elderly)

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

Caring for the Elderly can be one of the most challenging roles for a healthcare professional. Aside from addressing patient’s complex health needs, their quality of life must be at the forefront of their care plans.

I am Melissa and I work in one of the NHS Trusts in the East of England. I work in a DME (Department of Medicine for the Elderly) ward ever since I moved in the UK. In this ward, we usually handle patients with dementia, Parkinson’s and patients who need palliative treatment/care. It was not something I chose before coming here, but I would definitely say that it is an experience worth going through.

My Typical Day as a DME Nurse

Like any other wards, my typical day starts with the handover and patient allocation. Once allocated to a group of patients (usually 6-7 patients during the day, and 9-10 patients during night shift), our routine juggles in between medication rounds, reading notes of doctors, and hands-on patient care. In this field, hygiene care and turning patients are big parts of my role as a DME nurse because this is when my cephalocaudal assessment happens. I see hygiene care as a critical task in my day to day job as I am able to properly assess my patients and plan ahead what their needs are during my 12-hour shift. This includes assessing my patient’s cognition including the use of their senses. Questions like - Are they confused? Do they need glasses? Do they need hearing aids? Would they need feeding? Would they need extra help turning or walking to the toilet? All these go through my head as I assess them. I would also check for pressure sores and wounds as they are more fragile than younger patients. By mid-day, families come in the ward to visit, so we make sure that everyone has been washed and dressed before that time. This is also the time to answer queries from