psych clinical-what to expect??

  1. Next semester we will be doing psychiatric clinicals and I am just wondering what to expect. If you've done psych clinicals could you share your experiences? I guess out of all the areas of nursing, I'm least confident about these clinicals... what kinds of things will I do?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   twarlik
    Quote from earthflower
    Next semester we will be doing psychiatric clinicals and I am just wondering what to expect. If you've done psych clinicals could you share your experiences? I guess out of all the areas of nursing, I'm least confident about these clinicals... what kinds of things will I do?
    I just did my psych clinical last semester. We basically just spent our time talking to patients. We also led some group sessions. We did not pass meds while we were there. I was kind of nervous about the whole thing at first, but most of the patients were very friendly and were just happy to have someone to talk to. I ended up really enjoying psych. It was a good opportunity to practice all those therapeutic communication techniques they teach you in class.

    Have fun!
  4. by   Carolanne
    It's a very different kind of clinical. No treatments or dressing changes, etc. We even wore street clothes and just our school name badge. We passed meds and took some vitals, followed patients on the Ativan detox protocol and checked their vitals, assessed for tremors, etc. Most of our time was spent talking with the patients, getting them to open up a little by using open ended statements to encourage them to express their feelings. We also attended groups on things like anger management and healthy choices. I too found that the patients enjoyed the interaction with the students and appreciated our genuine concern and nonjudgmental attitude. Psych wards have a lot of stigma about them which I too was a little leary about, but it wasn't like that at all. They're just people. I really enjoyed it, it was a nice break to veer off into a different area for awhile. Hope you enjoy yours too.
    Last edit by Carolanne on May 27, '04
  5. by   EMTtoRN
    I used to work on a psych ward as a patient sitter and you just need to remember, like previously said, that they are just people with problems. Alot of them are depressed and just havent been heard. Once in a while there are patients that are loud and rowdy, but not as often as you think. Alot of them are detoxing or just need help dealing with their families. Go in their with a n open mind.
  6. by   Brickman
    I did my clinical at the state hospital and hated it. The unit I was assigned to was where all new femal admits came to. Even the staff were complaining that it was a zoo because there were to many women whose meds hadn't kicked in. By the end of that clinical you couldn't pay me enough to ever go back to that place.
  7. by   suzy253
    Thanks for this post and the replies. I'll be starting psych rotation when I return to school in August.
  8. by   ChrisA
    I've just spent several years in a relationship with a bipolar woman, so I think I'll survive a psych rotation. I'll expect it to be draining, of course, but maybe my boundaries will be better then.
  9. by   Nurse-o-Matic
    My psych clinicals were interesting. We took vitals, taked with patients, went to AA/group meetings with patients and passed some meds. Most of the patients were depressed and it could get depressing sometimes listening to their stories. Overall, I found the time passed quickly during these clinics. Of course the dreaded 30-page careplans sucked the life out of me!!!
  10. by   PCGrad06
    They have saved this class for the last semester for me
  11. by   JudithL_in_NH
    We also wore street clothes with just a name tag. I found it very slow paced. Often the clients could take stimulation in only small doses, so you'd chat with someone x5 minutes, then need to leave them alone x2-3 hours. Especially if we were assigned only one pt, there was a lot of down time, though we could always chat in the day room with another pt who wasn't our own. By the end of the rotation we were assigned 2-3 pts/day.

    It was a lock-down unit, but the pts were more sad than scary (though a few were a bit scary--but we were generally not assigned those). If the pt required it, we did do medical procedures: VS when required for certain meds, dressing changes (self-mutilator), injections (for migraine or whatever), feeding and personal care (catonic or manic). We shadowed the med nurse but did not dispense daily meds. Spent one day in the ED with the crisis intervention team, and a couple of days at a partial-hospitalization plan (sort of a step-down unit from the locked unit). Attended AA and NAMI (national alliance for the mentally ill) meetings.

    We were required to lead one group, which most of us, while very nervous, actually found was fun.

    Big emphasis on therapeutic communication, with a process recording due every day. Generally a lot of paperwork; I did about 15 pages typed every week. Some of the pts could be on 10-15 different meds and we did the same kind of clinical planning we would do on a med-surg unit.

    I worried a lot about his rotation and really didn't feel psych was my cup of tea. It helped me to keep in mind that I wasn't there to be anyone's mini-analyst; I was there to help my pt get through one more day by either letting him vent about his problems, or helping distract him from his problems. It wasn't my favorite rotation, but, as others have said, go in with an open mind, go in prepared, and you'll do fine!
  12. by   purplemania
    Remember, these clients have KNOWN psych issues and are medicated, not like the unknowns in public. Pay attention to your therapeutic communications as that will come in handy every day that you work as a nurse. The group I was assigned to were excited to have visitors and displayed their best behavior.
  13. by   MandyInMS
    what to expect?....the unexpected...lol
    We did our psych rotation at the State hospital...it was a trip..I drove up to our meeting area the first day to see a pt pooping on the sidewalk...lol..I was like okkkkkk, this is gonna be unique It was overall very interesting and I learned a lot.
    p.s.- If you smoke don't let the pts know or they'll bug you to death for cigs...lol
  14. by   Chaya
    I found it awkward after being so task-oriented on all the other clinicals. In Psych, your big task is to initiate conversation/ theraputic interaction. However, you WILL use your psych training more than you ever expect on the units of every kind when you start to practice.

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