I Acted terribly unprofessional today...

  1. 0
    What I did today was just terrible, inconsiderate, and unprofessional. I did not think about the patient,nurses, or any other colleagues. Today I was assigned to work as a sitter ( which I don't like at all). The only thing I love about sitting is the fact that I'm able to take care of the patient. However, I go through so much as a sitter. Sitters are not treated with respect we are the at the very bottom of the health care team and treated as such. As a new grad, I'm so eager to do more... however I know thats not possible until I get licensed. Anyway, I go through alot emotionally just to sit. Sitters have to sit with the patient 12 hours and thats it. If the patient is busy then I love it, but when the patient is calm thats when it gets really boring. I'm a busy body and for me sit for 12 hours is just torture.
    Anyway, today I was called to sit 7a-7p. I walk in the staffing office receive my assignment and walk out. When I walk out, I realize that I'm to sit with a pysch patient. All of a sudden, I can feel the blood rushing to my head and I felt whoozy. Psych is just not for me. I've worked as a sitter with a psych patient before and it really affected me pyschologically. So instead of just walking back into the staffing office and requesting another patient, I just ran out the hospital and broke down in my car. A few minutes later I called my agency to let them know the horrible thing I did, and I also notified the staffing office.
    I feel very bad and I even questioned if nursing was for me. I never thought I would do something so bad and unprofessional. I believe they were able to find coverage for the patient, but I still feel terrible.
    Maybe nursing isn't for me....
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  3. 44 Comments so far...

  4. 9
    You're gonna get psych patients wherever you work. People with psychiatric conditions need medical attention, too. Can you identify what exactly it is about this patient population that is so difficult for you to deal with? That would be a start, just to identify the root of your anxiety. You can't begin to work on dealing with it until you have a clear understanding of exactly what it is that causes you so much turmoil.

    I can't tell you how many times as a nurse I have locked myself in the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and let the tears flow. Nursing is a tough profession, and we are expected to keep our cool and to be able to handle some extremely difficult situations. I don't think breaking down in the relative privacy of your car is such a horrible thing.

    As far as running from an assignment, I agree with you it was unprofessional, but at the same time, it is an opportunity for you to learn about yourself and to grow from it. Grab this opportunity! You won't regret it.

    Now, tell me what exactly is the problem with psych patients for you?
    canoehead, Sterren, pagandeva2000, and 6 others like this.
  5. 1
    Quote from Virgo_RN
    You're gonna get psych patients wherever you work. People with psychiatric conditions need medical attention, too. Can you identify what exactly it is about this patient population that is so difficult for you to deal with? That would be a start, just to identify the root of your anxiety. You can't begin to work on dealing with it until you have a clear understanding of exactly what it is that causes you so much turmoil.

    I can't tell you how many times as a nurse I have locked myself in the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and let the tears flow. Nursing is a tough profession, and we are expected to keep our cool and to be able to handle some extremely difficult situations. I don't think breaking down in the relative privacy of your car is such a horrible thing.

    As far as running from an assignment, I agree with you it was unprofessional, but at the same time, it is an opportunity for you to learn about yourself and to grow from it. Grab this opportunity! You won't regret it.

    Now, tell me what exactly is the problem with psych patients for you?
    I totally agree. I think the root is that I was once a pysch patient when I was 13 years old. I was the youngest pysch pt. there and I seen alot of things. I was there due to depression, however I was around patients with schizphrenia and other extreme psych disorders. Alot of what I seen still affects me sometimes. The last time I sat with a psych patient for that many hours I felt like I was literally going to go crazy. I was seeing things and it was just weird. I just don't like how I feel when I'm just sitting with psych patients, it really takes a hold on me. As a nurse I know I will have my days and I know I may also have some patients with psychiatric issues, but it just really gets to me to sit with a patient one on one for 12 hours.... Anyway, today I've learned from my mistakes and I don't ever want to do something like this again.
    pagandeva2000 likes this.
  6. 2
    As a sitter I'm guessing you can pick and choose your assignments but as a nurse you won't be able to and I can promise you "psych patients" are everywhere. I did 3 inpatient psych rotations in nursing school alone. Are you seeing a therapist that might be able to guide you through working on this before you start nursing school? Good luck.
    pagandeva2000 and NurseKitten like this.
  7. 22
    I lived on the streets when I was a teenager, and I met a lot of homeless mentally ill. I befriended a few. I remember my friend Danny, who one moment was walking on the beach discussing world events with Princess Diana, then the next moment would be somewhere in New Zealand observing the local fauna. I would listen to his narrative, almost able to imagine myself there with him, when he would suddenly stop and say "Where are you?", as if expecting me to be in some faroff land doing something interesting instead of just being in the same room sitting next to him. Then there was Rapunzel, who dressed in rags from head to toe, never let anyone see her eat, and when she wasn't drawing schematics for her solar powered utopian bubble, was in the bathtub taking a hot soak. Shy, quiet Vince rarely shared his thoughts with anyone, walking around with his head down and his eyes on the ground, but occasionally he would take too many of his Xanax and hallucinate the raisins sitting on the table as spiders, or that the Grateful Dead were evil spirit guides. Then there was the time I crashed in a squatter's house, where a lot of the homeless would sleep when it got cold. I must have taken Lurch's spot, because he stood over me breathing heavily, not saying a word, while I laid there pretending to sleep because I was scared, until someone else told Lurch "leave her alone".

    I think 13 is awfully young to have been exposed to serious mental health issues, and I'm sorry that happened to you. It really shouldn't have.

    Maybe when you're sitting, it's a feeling of being trapped in a scary situation with a scary person, like when you were 13?

    I'm wondering if there is a way you can transform your traumatic experience into something powerful that you can use in your life in a positive way?
    Last edit by Virgo_RN on Aug 15, '09
    Otessa, Jerlick, geekgolightly, and 19 others like this.
  8. 2
    I hope you will be able to work through your issues well. I am afraid to reiterate that psych patients are ALL patients because many regress or intensify their idiosyncracies under the most stressful of situations. They are UNAVOIDABLE.

    Good luck.
    NurseKitten and Jules A like this.
  9. 10
    Quote from Virgo_RN
    I lived on the streets when I was a teenager, and I met a lot of homeless mentally ill. I befriended a few. I remember my friend Danny, who one moment was walking on the beach discussing world events with Princess Diana, then the next moment would be somewhere in New Zealand observing the local fauna. I would listen to his narrative, almost able to imagine myself there with him, when he would suddenly stop and say "Where are you?", as if expecting me to be in some faroff land doing something interesting instead of just being in the same room sitting next to him. Then there was Rapunzel, who dressed in rags from head to toe, never let anyone see her eat, and when she wasn't drawing schematics for her solar powered utopian bubble, was in the bathtub taking a hot soak. Shy, quiet Vince rarely shared his thoughts with anyone, walking around with his head down and his eyes on the ground, but occasionally he would take too many of his Xanax and hallucinate the raisins sitting on the table as spiders, or that the Grateful Dead were evil spirit guides. Then there was the time I crashed in a squatter's house, where a lot of the homeless would sleep when it got cold. I must have taken Lurch's spot, because he stood over me breathing heavily, not saying a word, while I laid there pretending to sleep because I was scared, until someone else told Lurch "leave her alone".

    I think 13 is awfully young to have been exposed to serious mental health issues, and I'm sorry that happened to you. It really shouldn't have.

    Maybe when you're sitting, it's a feeling of being trapped in a scary situation with a scary person, like when you were 13?

    I'm wondering if there is a way you can transform your traumatic experience into something powerful that you can use in your life in a positive way?
    Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and kudos for finding your way to an education and a great career. Many of my beloved psych patients are like you have described and underneath it all they are only human just like the rest of us.
    pagandeva2000, Jarnaes, sissiesmama, and 7 others like this.
  10. 6
    you really need to confront your issues, because you are going to be assigned all sorts of pts in your nsg career.

    no, it really wasn't too cool what you did.
    i hope you can work this out.

    leslie
  11. 4
    Quote from leslie :-D
    you really need to confront your issues, because you are going to be assigned all sorts of pts in your nsg career.
    I agree. I think this was a wake-up call, and has the potential to be incredibly powerful and liberating depending on how you choose to handle it. Don't sweep this under the rug!
    AllSmiles225, leslie :-D, CathyLew, and 1 other like this.
  12. 3
    try not to be so hard on yourself. You had a bad experience before with a psych patient and it seems the negative of it all came rushing back. It happens to us all at times. I have PTSD from my time in Iraq. I try not to talk about it much, but there are some days that are harder than others and I feel like I go into a daze especially when I would take my nursing assistant students into the VA nursing facility where we did our clinicals, but I made it through class after class.

    Just remember that as a nurse you will always have psych patients. I remember my psych instructor telling us that we rub shoulders with psych patients everyday at the store, we just don't realize it. Keep your chin up and if it gets to be too much I would make an appointment with a psychiatrist. I have one through the VA and she is the greatest.

    I wish you the best of luck


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