I just landed a new job in Mental Health. I was a little wary at first, because of my own stigmas about the whole "mental health" thing. But since completing the Mental Health Orientation, I have a whole new understanding and appreciation of people suffering from mental disorders and the Nurses who take care of them, and am looking forward to going back to the unit armed with new knowledge and compassion.
My unit is Acute Care Mental Health, so we receive people who just had their first episode of psychosis, or who are in a really really bad state. These people did not choose to be sick this way, just like someone with cancer didn't choose to get their illness either. There are TONS of factors, emotional, biological, environmentally, etc., that were out of their control.
But what makes me SO angry is that when someone asks me where I work and I tell them Mental Health, 9 out of 10 give me a sideways look and say "Oh. You work with THEM" or, "Why do you want to work there?" as if there's something wrong with me to want to work with these people
The people I work with are people too. I work with an age range of young adults to older generations. It makes me upset to think that people still have the mindset that existed way back in the 1700's. The people I treat need care, compassion, understanding, and an openess and willingess to just listen to them.
"THEY" are people like us, and people need to realize this. It's unfair and just downright wrong to treat these pt's as anything less than human. SO many people suffer from a form of mental illness or disorders, and are afraid to tell their friends and family, or refuse treatment in case someone finds out.
And realize too, that Mental Health Nurses are Nurses too! Just because we don't work on a "medicine" floor doesn't mean we aren't providing a level of care that is therapeutic and helpful to our pt's. I may not change dressings anymore or work as I did in my previous Medicine job, but I'm still nursing, still providing compassion and a level of care to these people.
More people and even other nurses who don't work in this field need to realize this.