I am the worst psych nurse in the world. Only semester of nursing school
where I pulled straight "A"s without much studying, but the clinicals? Yeah, I sucked.
I still think back to a student interview I did with a chronic schizophrenic patient (in a room with a loud black-and-white checkered floor that seemed designed
to drive you insane!). When he started telling me about how the laser beams from outer space were controlling him, I remember thinking, "Oh, come on
!! You cannot POSSIBLY believe that! Do you hear
yourself?" I came out of that interview frustrated as hell and wanting to find the nearest wall and pound my head against it.
My psych nursing instructor, who to this day is one of the coolest instructors I ever had, told me gently in my end-of-semester review that I "needed more practice" working with acutely psychotic pts. "You're too logical for them." She was fond of pointing out studies to us in class that showed a large percentage of nurses were "nurturers" and had "rescue fantasies" about their pts. During this review she pointed out that I seemed to want to "drag pts into good mental health through the sheer force of my logic" and that it just doesn't work like that. She was absolutely right.
The other reason? While on this same rotation, one of the RNs mentoring me took a liking to me and started trying to recruit me to come work for the facility after graduation. I had already learned enough about myself as a nurse and as a person to realize that I would become incredibly frustrated working with any kind of chronic patient. I need to see that some progress is being made, that pts are improving, that I accomplished something, at the end of the day.
With that in mind, I asked her, "Tell me something. Do any of these pts ever really get better?" To her credit, she thought about it for a minute, and then answered honestly, "With the exception of some of the depressives--no, not really."
That was enough for me. My subsequent exposures to psych pts haven't done a thing to change my mind.
Hope that helped!