What is a Psych-Tech?

  1. 0
    Started my psych rotation yesterday and the home we were assigned to was staffed by one RN and six Psych-Techs. The staff seemed very unprofessional and untheraputic towards how it treated its patients. One even got argumentative with a patient over his delusions. Although the experience did start to solidify my thoughts of becoming a psych nurse.

    But I was wondering what exactly a psych tech was and what their qualifications were. Needless to say they didn't seem that knowledgeable (most had been in employement for 5+ yrs) and while we were dressed in business causal (per clinical requirements) they were in jeans and hole ridden t-shirts yet they expect their residents to be dressed appropriately and were making comments when one resident had a stain on their shirt.

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  2. 30 Comments...

  3. 0
    When I did my psych rotation, the psych techs employed there did 1:1 sitting with residents, walked residents to meals, assisted RN's and were involved in resident take-downs as needed. I'm sure they have more duties but these were the ones I actually saw them involved in.
  4. 0
    I believe it is a 2-year program.....my friend was a psych tech for several years before she went back to school to get her RN and now works in the psych field as an RN.

    And I guarantee you she is NOT working where you went!! UGH!
  5. 0
    I just started psych rotation also and have noticed some unprofessional behavior as well. The techs on our floor are strong, large men who are intimidating as far as their presence (not their personality). I have not asked specifically, but it seems their main function is to keep the peace and keep everyone safe. One patient was delusional, did not speak, psychotic and happened also to be diabetic. He ate his lunch then tried to go get another tray off the cart and the tech yelled at him across the room "No, you sit down". Sounded like a conversation I had with my puppy this morning, not one I would have with a patient. The pt. tried several other times and was met with the same response. The tech seemed too busy sitting at a table reading the paper and eating his own lunch to get up and try to settle the patient. A different tech had a conversation with a female patient that was not outwardly flirting or overtly inappropriate, but not really professional either. The pt was basically well and was about to be discharged, not acutely psychotic, and she seemed to have an interest in the tech. I guess what bothered me was that he did not discourage it, even though he did not outwardly encourage it. I was also unimpressed with one of the nurses who is very cranky and often downright MEAN to the patients. The other nurses are great, but overall I was disappointed with the staff. Sorry for the rant, those things have been bothering me and I saw an opportunity to get them off my chest!!! Thanks for indulging me!
  6. 0
    I worked as a psych tech for 3 years on an inpatient behavioral health unit while I got by BS in psychology. Now I am working as a case manager on the same unit. Basically my job was just keeping the pt.s calm and occupied. I ran groups, did activity therapy, 1:1 interaction, usually I SOAP charted on 5-6 pt's a night. I also did v\s and accuchecks when needed. We have a special care area that requires us to be 1:1 with extremley violent or dangerous people and we would monitor their progress and chart on them every 15 min. I loved working a psych tech and I think it was a great experience for when I finally become a psych nurse. To get hired at the facility you had to be a psych or social work major at the local college with at least 2 years of classes in. We did get to wear regular clothes and I probably went to work many days at 7 am not looking as "professional" as possible. What you have to understand is that when you have to wrestle with confused and psychotic (and I've had tons of clothes torn up during restraints) that you don't want you clothes ruined or to uncomfortable to move around in. I always tried to be at least presentable though.
    I would really look into employment as a tech though if you really want to be a psych nurse. You gain so much insight in to pt. bx's. Good luck in all you do!
  7. 0
    I work PRN at a psychiatric hospital and no education is required to be hired as a mental health technician or psychiatric technician. All of our psych techs were hired off the street without any formal education and are being paid $11 per hour.
  8. 0
    Quote from fleur-de-lis
    I just started psych rotation also and have noticed some unprofessional behavior as well. The techs on our floor are strong, large men who are intimidating as far as their presence (not their personality). I have not asked specifically, but it seems their main function is to keep the peace and keep everyone safe. One patient was delusional, did not speak, psychotic and happened also to be diabetic. He ate his lunch then tried to go get another tray off the cart and the tech yelled at him across the room "No, you sit down". Sounded like a conversation I had with my puppy this morning, not one I would have with a patient. The pt. tried several other times and was met with the same response. The tech seemed too busy sitting at a table reading the paper and eating his own lunch to get up and try to settle the patient. A different tech had a conversation with a female patient that was not outwardly flirting or overtly inappropriate, but not really professional either. The pt was basically well and was about to be discharged, not acutely psychotic, and she seemed to have an interest in the tech. I guess what bothered me was that he did not discourage it, even though he did not outwardly encourage it. I was also unimpressed with one of the nurses who is very cranky and often downright MEAN to the patients. The other nurses are great, but overall I was disappointed with the staff. Sorry for the rant, those things have been bothering me and I saw an opportunity to get them off my chest!!! Thanks for indulging me!
    Does this facility happen to be located in Denton?
  9. 0
    The requirements for being a psych tech vary from state to state and facility to facility. At one of the places I used to work, psych techs had to have four year degrees, although not necessarily in psych. We had high standards regarding professional dress and demeanor, and there was great emphasis placed on therapeutic interaction. Our psych techs could lead groups and conducted much of the business on the unit. Most of ours were top notch.

    At other places, psych techs may have minimal training and not much in the way of standards or structure to guide their professional behavior. Sometimes they are little more than traffic cops keeping a lid on the chaos or cowpokes riding herd on the patients. This is sad, as they have so much opportunity to influence and teach.

    In my state, psych tech is a job title, not a licensed or certified specialty. It's like home health worker--a designation that could mean just about anything. This leads to a wide variation in duties and in the quality of the individual workers, a situation that is a recipe for problems for everyone involved.
  10. 0
    I can tell you the formal way to become a P.T. PSYCHIATRIC TECHNICIAN.
    You have to have completed FORMAL training as a Certified Nuirsing Assistant.
    You cant just walk in off the street at least you shouldn't be able to and get hired with a team just like that unless the place is run by a public assistance program they can hire you but theterm should not be used so loosley just to glorify the name CNA. The setting is not at all what a geriatric CNA does . You are assisting more than just Dr and nursing staff you as a Psych Tech work
    with a whole community of resources for each individual you are working with per request and follow up of the instructions of the staff which coul dbe counselors, therapists, social workers and Psychiatrists.

    Though I have been away from Psych Tech work for a number of years I am
    returning to this an dreading about what kind of people are hired, how they dress etc etc makes me think I need to apply
    for a position as a Psych Tech Supervisor!

    After all why should anyone have to work
    with unprofessional beings with a title an dno knowledge?
    Hire me ! I may cost $50,000 a yea rbut at least
    the patients will get the kind of care
    that they truly need. I am against anyone who is in treatment to be staffed
    as a psych tech just because "they have been there "

    I would hope that 5 yrs sobriety would be manditory and that
    psychological testing be enforced
    before hire.I'll be back to share some stories about my surroundings
    in the psych work force world . Stay Tuned!
  11. 0
    When I did my Psych rotation in June I thought the techs at our hospital were at least CNA's. They were very good- they ran groups, interacted with pt's etc.

    I liked Psych anyhow. And I'm thinking about possibly becoming a Psych nurse............

    Cheryl


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