I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a few days when it came up on myuvm transcript officially, but due to lack of time and inconsistent Internet connection, I haven’t posted.
The second to last day before college students everywhere, generally, including myself, packed up and left their schools, dorms, and temporary new homes, I decided to take a plunge and add a minor. CNHS students are told that it is very difficult to add a minor, and if one decides to take a minor, it should theoretically be related to the major, because there isn’t a lot of room in a nursing student, or a CNHS student’s, schedule to encompass the extra credits a minor requires. Who knows? I might be declaring it and eventually drop it. My purpose behind adding the minor of gerontology had two roots:
First, I am interested in the material. Specifically, the discussion of active and passive euthanasia is becoming a large aspect of the field, and therefore the minor. As an active supporter of both passive and active, I look forward to learning more medical information about both, in order to pursue some activism regarding the legalization of both. Currently in the United States, only passive euthanasia is legal in ONE state, Oregon. Many other states have tried to pass legislation, but it has failed. Currently, there is no state in the United States in which active euthanasia is legal. More on this later.
Second, my resume. I am absolutely set on being a nurse practitioner, not “just” a nurse. Being a nurse itself is an amazing profession. I just don’t see myself as a nurse for the rest of my life. I really want to be able to write prescriptions, preform minor surgeries, and I don’t think I’m ready to end my education after four years. I am anxious to take the nursing profession to the next level. Being a nurse practitioner offers me more options post-graduate. I can open up my own practice, or practice with doctors in private clinics. Adding a minor like gerontology to my transcript shows that I am academically motivated, and medically astute. Gerontology is the fastest growing field in medicine currently, with obvious reasons as the baby-boomer generation has begun to enter into old age. And many more are coming.
The United States needs to prepare it’s medical system to accommodate the imminent influx of old-age care needed in the future. As medicine is advancing, the average age of the human life has been increasing. However, the psychological care of this is lacking. While there has been a lot of physical advancements in medicine (what I mean is that people are physically kept alive longer now), I believe there has been a lacking advancement in the psychological avancement of elders. Those who are kept alive are often done without regard to their psychological well-being, and often not even psychologically there. What’s the point of being physically there if you’re not actually there?
People’s views on euthanasia fascinate me. Many wouldn’t even consider ending someone’s life, whether it be because of religion, personal beliefs, or something in between. Or maybe a mix of the two. Some accept passive euthanasia, which is when a person is kept alive by a breathing machine, or a feeding tube, to be kept alive. passive euthanasia basically just shuts off the machines and people die. These patients are often called, “vegetables”, because they cannot react to external stimuli, and mentally, they are generally checked out. Or in theory anyway. No one knows how they’ll react if it’s their husband, their daughter, or their sibling hooked up to a machine.
Even fewer accept active euthansia, which is when a doctor prescribes things like poison gas, or a lethal injection to give a patient if they are declared “terminally” ill. The patient is mentally there (generally), and physically not kept alive by machines. They make the choice to get the injections, or gas, because they don’t want to suffer, or be kept alive to eventually become a vegetable, or worse, suffer through a slow, painful death. Many people don’t accept this form of euthanasia because it is essentially killing yourself - but with a cause. However, my opinion, and that of many other supporters, is that who says you can’t? Why should someone be told they can’t end their own life. Shouldn’t everyone at least have the right to decide whether they keep on living or dying? if you were terminally ill, who has the right to stand over you and say, “no. you need to stay alive through all this pain…and die anyway”.
Recently in the past century, death has become such a taboo topic. A scary outcome, lurking around, waiting to happen. People often forget that death is always going to happen, at least for now anyway. It’s not something you can escape, it’s just a manner of when. The whole basis around the medical system is just to stall death, not cure it. Why would you not want to die on your own terms if you were terminally ill, with dignity and without pain?
As the elder demographic is headed for an explosion, not only with health-care bills become a political pundit, but so will this argument of euthanasia. Hopefully the country will continue to keep moving forward.