Why nurses don't want to talk to a ward psychologist?

  1. Hello,
    Since I often seek and get good information at this forum I had an idea I can ask you for help with my current issue.
    I am a psychologist working in a pediatric ICU. I am there mostly for parents and older children. But I am also supposed to be available for supporting staff with their professional or personal issues.
    Head nurse asked me to prepare a talk about the importance of talking to someone and receiving help after a mistake while giving medications to a patient. This I can handle. I can talk about the importance of talk support or therapy. But I am having troubles with the other part which is the fact that nurses rarely seek psychological help or advice. Head nurse encouraged me to talk about reasons for that. I do have my explanations but I would be really happy to hear what you think about that.
    So, to summarize: if you had an option to speak to a psychologist, working at your ward about your work or personal issues - would you do it? Why yes and why no?

    Regards,
    Manja
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  2. 84 Comments

  3. by   Scottishtape
    No, due to a fear (real or imagined) that it would harm my employment and/or reputation at work.
  4. by   seaofclouds21
    I agree with Scottishape. If I wanted/needed to speak with someone, I would seek someone outside of my employer (preferably in a different health care system).
  5. by   not.done.yet
    Yep. I would not want someone I see at work every day to know my weaknesses/issues. I also would have zero trust that the information would not get leaked, some how, some way. Even if I were open to seeing a psychologist there is ZERO chance I would choose one who works with me on the unit. Nada. Zip. Zero.
  6. by   pixierose
    Quote from Scottishtape
    No, due to a fear (real or imagined) that it would harm my employment and/or reputation at work.
    ^^^ This.

    When I was in my first career, my boss found out that I have bipolar disorder. I was (am) medicated, I was (am) effectively being treated, and I was a damn good teacher who was performing my job responsibilities with great reviews.

    When she found out, my career went tumbling a bit. Stigma is real, man.

    So a very enthusiastic hell no from this poster. I'm sure you mean well, but it's so not worth the risk.
  7. by   caliotter3
    In the same sense, many members of the military will see a civilian provider for medical care while attempting to keep the information from their command.
  8. by   meanmaryjean
    Agree with all above. No WAY would I open up to someone employed on my unit - I prefer to keep that stuff outside the walls of my employer.
  9. by   JKL33
    Nope. Absolutely not.

    While I appreciate the idea that some management staff do personally care about individual employees' well-being, the company/employer ultimately offers this benefit for the good of employees themselves but also for reasons that are self-serving. That in and of itself wouldn't be a deal-breaker if I thought that corporate ethics were above reproach. But I do not.
    Last edit by JKL33 on Nov 1
  10. by   KatieMI
    In hospitals, walls got ears.

    There is almost 110% possibility that whatever a nurse says will be one day used against her. I worked with clinical psychologist for years after I got PTSD as a result of being bullied in my first year, and this guy never knew and never figured out where all that happened.
  11. by   KelRN215
    The farther I've gone along in my nursing career (10 years now), the less I want my colleagues to know about my personal life.

    At my first job, my co-workers knew a lot about me. I worked in pediatric neurology and neurosurgery and they knew that I was a brain tumor survivor myself. I did at one point see someone in employee assistance when it was a particularly difficult time (a child who I took care of a lot with a diagnosis similar to mine had died and it was around the 1 year anniversary of a bad MRI) and I participated in groups that she ran on the floor though those were mostly debriefings after the floor had several deaths.

    At my second job, the only people I told about my medical problems were colleagues who had medical problems of their own that they shared with me- 1 with ulcerative colitis and 1 with lupus.

    At my current job, my coworkers know next to nothing about me. They know none of my medical history. 1 colleague knows that my mom is a teacher because his kids go to the school she teaches at and 1 knows I have 2 dogs. The most that the average colleague knows about me is that I am a big fan of our local sports teams and often travel to away games to see them. I prefer it this way. Actually, earlier this year I had to miss a meeting because I had my annual Neuro-Oncology follow-up and MRI and I was very careful not to mention where my appointment was because everyone from my city knows that this particular institution is a cancer hospital exclusively and I don't need anyone questioning to themselves why Kel is a patient as this institution.
  12. by   BCgradnurse
    No way. I keep my work and personal life separate, and if I need psychological help I would go elsewhere. Like it or not, these is still a lot of stigma attached to mental health issues.
  13. by   amoLucia
    Isn't this post such a sad commentary on the reality of the employer/employee relationship?

    NOTE: I am agreeing 110% regarding the lack of trust in the confidential nature of employee information remaining private & confidential. And then being used as a possible weapon against the employee.

    NO WAY would I ever reveal something deep.
  14. by   JKL33
    Quote from manjar
    ...nurses rarely seek psychological help or advice. Head nurse encouraged me to talk about reasons for that. I do have my explanations but I would be really happy to hear what you think about that.
    Manja,

    I'm curious what the head nurse believes the reasons are, and what s/he believes is the solution. You don't need to answer here but it would probably be a worthwhile conversation to have with him/her in light of the answers you are receiving.

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