I'm an occupational health nurse working in a large public hospital in Australia.
A large part of my role is case managing injured workers for workplace rehabilitation, i.e. to return to their usual role and ensure their safety and wellbeing.
In the past year I've been in this field of nursing (my history is acute med/surg nursing and I'm now acting in a higher level role), I've attended to 3 clients who've applied for stress claims, who've expressed self harm tendencies while in a one on one interview situation, in my own office. Basically they say, I've thought about killing myself, or I don't have anything to live for, but I'm ok NOW and I then have to listen, ensure their safety, sit with them for as long as it takes and make sure they're ok to go home. We can take them up to the ER or request a psychiatric liason officer to assess them if they're acutely ill but I've not done this as the client seems ok, stating they're fine, have a calm affect etc, and I send them on their way. I've looked after patients in a ward situation who've attempted suicide but a ward environment is far more controlled and there is a specific protocol so I find this much more difficult.
I personally don't think this is appropriate practice - there isn't a protocol in my work unit for assessment of clients who've expressed self harm, its kind of like we're flying by the seat of our pants in a way or working from our own professional or personal experience.
This post is a vent, as this happened today and was quite upsetting as I have no qualifications to do this and to top it all off, my colleagues who are in a similar role to me, are administrative officers, so they don't even have a health background (in saying that, they are excellent at their jobs).
I'd love some advice from people who've had similar experiences or even some good common sense advice on how to assess clients with self harm tendencies or severe depression.
Oct 6, '07
Due to the topic, this post was moved here from another forum for better visibility.....as you can see, no one has answered yet due to its getting buried in the other forum.
Who would like to start off some feedback for this member?
Last edit by Thunderwolf on Oct 6, '07