Birds of a feather - page 2

So, I'm in psych nursing now and rather enjoying my work right now. Very different than anything I've ever done before. But there is one thing on my mind a lot that..........well, read on. Some... Read More

  1. by   opalbee
    I'm just confused as to why the nurse who is bi-polar was brought up. People with mental disorders work every job out there, so why is this relevant to your comment about how "psych nurses eventually become their patients"? I don't think she just "turned" bi-polar after working in psych lol
  2. by   klone
    I can tell you that almost every single one of the nurses I work with has been pregnant at some point. So maybe you're on to something there...
  3. by   Mavrick
    Quote from AutumnApple
    So, I'm in psych nursing now and rather enjoying my work right now. Very different than anything I've ever done before. But there is one thing on my mind a lot that..........well, read on.

    Some of my coworkers are a little frightening.

    I've always heard that psych nurses eventually become the patient on their own units. Wow, the time I've spent on this unit has validated that for me. Between one nurse who is admittedly bi-polar and works three jobs to cover the credit card debt she piled up during manic shopping sprees and some other things, there is no denying how applicable that myth is.

    I called it a myth on purpose, yes. Maybe I'm just not seeing things clearly or I'm biased due to always having listened to others spread the stereotype around. I don't know what the problem is but I still think it's a myth.

    Or maybe calling it a myth is just my wishful thinking. My coworkers make me think it might be. I do plan on being in this specialty until I retire. Am I doomed to become like them?

    I can't help but think back to that movie, "The Breakfast Club" where the teens are discussing how we all grow up to become our parents no matter how hard we try not to. I feel like that working on this unit.

    So what "myths" about specialties have you validated or discredited?
    This is fully your choice, so based on that, you are not trying to become anything other than a Psych Nurse surrounded by Psych Patients and other Psych Nurses. My guess is you will succeed.

    You have an incredibly limited view of other nursing specialties as the joke about Diabetic Nurse Educators becoming diabetics illustrates.

    There is some anecdotal evidence that people with or having survived a particular disease or affliction may prefer that specialty based on having an insider's perspective. I know a burn nurse who did just that.

    However, since you are trying to have fun with another myth of nursing, I'll venture my theory that OR nurses become the way they are because they work with unconscious people.

    I'll keep reading this thread and watch the fun.
  4. by   Beldar_the_Cenobite
    Quote from AutumnApple
    Between one nurse who is admittedly bi-polar and works three jobs to cover the credit card debt she piled up during manic shopping sprees and some other things, there is no denying how applicable that myth is.
    That is not ANYBODYS fault. AT ALL. Not yours. Not mine. Not anyone, but her problem. If you're new there, you shouldn't deal with someones personal problem. I learned the hard way. VERY hard way. So hard that I won't enjoy the nicer things in life I could have had I not done the stupid stuff I did. We all learn. I'm a firm believer in that. If you're late for work, your fault, no one elses, why should those around you suffer for your mistake. Same with finances. That's why other countries don't like us. We consume to further our own ends. At least she's making the effort by working other jobs so she isn't standing in a room with an elephant.

    I contemplated about working another job as a nurse. Others on here say to just do per diem, but I would only want to work it if it were consistent like a full time job. Then again, if I were to do it my way, I'd have no life for the duration of those two jobs not to mention the increase in error.

    I don't think people will ever learn from their mistakes. If you can't afford it, either work towards it or don't buy it. Don't consume immediately where it affects those who have to deal with you.
  5. by   NotAllWhoWandeRN
    Don't worry, bipolar isn't contagious. Hats off to the nurse who has her mental illness well controlled enough that she can successfully handle multiple jobs.

    My psych nursing instructor was a little nutty herself. Couldn't concentrate to save her life, started class 15-20 minutes late most days because she didn't have her things ready and had to go print, added a lunch break, ended class early. Other students were upset because she didn't really teach the material well. Her clinical students said she would disappear to go shopping. But I did very well in my psych classes because of my personal experiences, both my own and experiences of people I love. The familiarity gave me a connection to the material, and to the people who for complex reasons didn't end up as functional as I was.

    I think it will be important to consciously look after your own mental health, but I don't think that means you can't have a long and satisfying career in psych without ending up a little off your rocker yourself.
  6. by   pixierose
    Quote from AutumnApple
    Hmph, I guess without knowing me intimately, this topic could come off as judgmental towards mental illness. I didn't think it did but, perception is reality.

    I'm not down on the bipolar nurse. I'm done on where the illness took her.

    I've talked much on this site about some bad bends in the road I've traveled so, no, I don't see myself *over here* and those with mental illness *over there*. The only stigma going on here is: That could be me.

    Hence, albeit in a bit of a round about way, I asked "Do you believe in the myth that psych nurses eventually end up being much like their patients?".

    Yes, it's a reflection on whether I can handle Psych nursing or not. It's not being "a little scared" of the, as you put it, mentally unstable. It's being a little scared that the environment might affect me as it seems to have affected more than a few of my coworkers.

    I was actually going to work one day wondering "Are you being a little too bold working here?". I was wondering if I was perhaps not a bit like........someone in recovery from alcohol/drug abuse working in a bar or something to that effect.

    So, that's the rational behind my post. Just wanted to open up the convo about some of the myths in nursing and how we avoid them becoming a "self willed prophecy". I just chose to do it in the way I did in my post, but apparently it might have come off wrong. So I've put it out better here hopefully.
    My former coworkers were the most amazing people that I was lucky enough to work with. I know some of them had personal experience with mental illness, either with a close family member or even themselves ... but like me kept it close. Patient satisfaction scores were surprisingly high for a psych floor, and a large part was due to nursing.

    My new job, a neuro surgical ICU ... while everyone has been nice to me ... I might go on to say that, damn. I've never met a more bitter, nuttier group. I'm actually a little concerned.

    I get that you're bringing up the myths about nursing and various specialties. I think the manner of which you did so was pretty offensive -- for example, doomed to be like someone who is actually trying to better themselves.

    Society does so much damage to the myths of mental health already; why as nurses do we perpetuate it? Even the majority of posts following yours do you see people using the mental health examples (and not in a flattering way) - not many are using other specialties.
  7. by   Julius Seizure
    If you are going to have a psych problem, you are going to have one. Its not contagious and working there isn't going to make it more likely. MAYBE people with mental health issues sometimes are inspired/drawn to working with that population, and therefore there is a perception that nurses become like their psych patients. But I think that, if anything, its the other way around.

    So fear not! You will be just as likely to become a psych patient no matter where you work! You won't be able to escape it by deciding to be an ICU nurse instead.
  8. by   Lil Nel
    The original post was one of the most ridiculous things I have read on this Web Site.

    First of all, why on earth would the OP think that nurses, or more specifically psychiatric nurses would be any less, or more prone to mental illness than the general population?

    Nurses, no matter which specialty they work in represent the general population. They smoke, abuse alcohol and drugs, drive over the speed limit, consume fast food, exercise, don't exercise, etc.

    And dare I point out the obvious; we all experience some form of mental illness.

    How does anybody work in healthcare today and not have some form of PTSD?

    Look at the high number of doctors and medical students who commit suicide each year.

    My mental illness, as far as I can self-diagnosis, is OCD types of behavior.

    Yes, I have worked as a psychiatric nurse. Did I think as a middle-aged woman I would suddenly become bi-polar? No!

    If the OP enjoys being a psychiatric nurse, than continue to do your job. Trust me, you will find BPD and folks with depression in every profession.
  9. by   klone
    I don't know that she was implying that psych nurses are more prone to mental illness, but maybe wondering if nurses with mental illness are more drawn to psych nursing than nurses who do not have mental illness (and no, I don't agree that everyone has some type of mental illness).

    Chicken/egg
  10. by   Crush
    Quote from pixierose
    Society does so much damage to the myths of mental health already; why as nurses do we perpetuate it? Even the majority of posts following yours do you see people using the mental health examples (and not in a flattering way) - not many are using other specialties.
    Exactly.

    When I worked mental health one of the things that a patient said really tugged at my heart. The person said, " I wanted to get help sooner but there is such a stigma attached to asking for help and coming inpatient for my mental health. " So why are we critical of a co-worker in any setting having a mental health diagnosis? And to top it off, she is dealing with it appropriately from what you have described. Such as aware of her diagnosis, knows she goes on spending sprees and takes responsibility for it such as working more than one job. I don't think there is reason to fear her. And for sure you cannot catch someone else's disorder just by working with them.

    I do think we need to be better advocates for those who do have a mental health diagnosis and provide them with better support, dispelling the myths that surround having a mental health diagnosis, normalizing their feelings and educating the public.
  11. by   Munch
    I understand what the OP is asking. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Does psych nursing cause nurses to become the psych patient OR do psych patients choose to go into psych nursing? I think its fairly obvious the latter statement is more likely than the former.

    I work the Neuro floor and I am a Neuro patient myself...had a craniotomy, suffer chronic headaches the whole nine. But it was because of that experience that I wanted to work on the Neuro floor. Before that I worked oncology..this is because I lost my father and a few other family members to the awful disease of cancer...and actually because of my experience with my sick family members I left my oncology nursing job as it was too close to home. My sister is a social worker in a city hospital and no doubt she choose to become a social worker because she spent time in a psych ward and had a great experience with the social workers that helped her..my sister is definitely kooky(nothing wrong with that) and it definitely works to her advantage..she serves her patients well and relates well to them and they know she really understands them because she's been right where most of them are. But she was like that before the job..the job didn't turn her that way.
  12. by   pixierose
    Quote from Crush
    Exactly.

    When I worked mental health one of the things that a patient said really tugged at my heart. The person said, " I wanted to get help sooner but there is such a stigma attached to asking for help and coming inpatient for my mental health. " So why are we critical of a co-worker in any setting having a mental health diagnosis? And to top it off, she is dealing with it appropriately from what you have described. Such as aware of her diagnosis, knows she goes on spending sprees and takes responsibility for it such as working more than one job. I don't think there is reason to fear her. And for sure you cannot catch someone else's disorder just by working with them.

    I do think we need to be better advocates for those who do have a mental health diagnosis and provide them with better support, dispelling the myths that surround having a mental health diagnosis, normalizing their feelings and educating the public.
    Nicely stated.

    (Not so) Interestingly enough, many descriptors attached to this thread r/t psych nursing (or related careers such as the social worker sister above) are "frightening," "kooky," and "nutty." You wouldn't see these descriptors attached to the "myth" of an ICU nurse (even though my new coworkers seem to fit it perfectly) or oncology. Just psych.

    I think it's overall a reflection of how society views those with mental health issues. Even if some of us mean it endearingly (such as the SW sister), many truly do not. We're an educated bunch. It's heartbreaking.
  13. by   AutumnApple
    Quote from opalbee
    I'm just confused as to why the nurse who is bi-polar was brought up. People with mental disorders work every job out there, so why is this relevant to your comment about how "psych nurses eventually become their patients"? I don't think she just "turned" bi-polar after working in psych lol
    Quote from klone
    I don't know that she was implying that psych nurses are more prone to mental illness, but maybe wondering if nurses with mental illness are more drawn to psych nursing than nurses who do not have mental illness (and no, I don't agree that everyone has some type of mental illness).

    Chicken/egg
    I'm more asking than implying about the myth. Like I said, I call it a myth for a reason.

    I'm wondering if it's a good idea for someone who has been prone to depression........to work on a psych unit. I do read posts in the psych nursing section on this site, and frequently the nurses are saying that it has a quality of mental stress that is unique. Working on a psych unit unit is referred to as "mentally draining" a lot it seems. I see not attack on mentally ill people or psych nurses here. Other than to address that it might.........push us further into our problems if we aren't careful. Yes, I do believe it's possible there is some validity to saying "Swimming in the mental illness of others makes it harder to deal with our own problems."

    And that is why the bipolar nurse came up. Having my own concerns on my mind, I can't help but wonder if working on the psych unit didn't intensify her shopping sprees and such. Would she perhaps have done better with that problem if working in a different setting?

    I feel some, driven by defensiveness, are purposefully missing the point here. Seriously, "she didn't suddenly turn bipolar after working psych" is the perfect example. Really!? Is there are new Captain Obvious reward on the site or something? There are more.

    I'm going to revert to one of my favorite sayings here. "Never try to reason with someone whose primary purpose is to misinterpret you." I was looking for some input into whether it's wise for someone with a history like my own to be working in psych, or not. I even opened up to giving a little of my background to express that better since the OP came off wrong. Yet still I'm only getting defensive babble for responses. So, I'll look elsewhere for advice is all. We can let the thread run it's course with the usual grandstanding that comes from someone who wants to make a point but hasn't realized..........they've missed the point. Eventually the thread will get buried and we'll all move on. I am anyway.

    Thank you to the one or two people who gave intelligent responses.

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