Co-worker is former patient - page 2

Would you be concerned if you discovered that one of your co-workers was a former(2 yrs. ago) patient on your unit? This nurse was hospitalized with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, and stayed in... Read More

  1. by   margnurse
    Maybe I am a little sensitive to this issue but I think you should try to be understanding. My sister has been mentally ill since she was 17 and I have been trying trying to deal with it for many years. (I was 10 or 11 when she had her first episode). If you or a loved one has a mental illness, you may understand the stigma that is associated with that. Maybe this is part of the reason that I chose psych (because of my history). Even though it is difficult (frustrating) to cope with my sister at times, I try to be empathetic to her feelings. The co-worker maybe chose this setting because she felt comfortable there. Just my opinion.
  2. by   sunnygirl272
    bigbird took the words right offa my keyboard,....
  3. by   sanakruz
    Let me try to answer your question with another question or two. Would you be concerned if one of your coworkers had an ex- boyfriend who was stalking her and had threatened to shoot her(As everyone knows she needs to get a restraining order...) Would you be concerned if another co-worker smoked too much and was over weight and was headed for a early grave?As everyone knows you should not smoke and be skinny...) Sure you should be concerned but how much control do you ultimately have? How would you deal with these other imaginary but cold-be co-workers?
    This woman is a nurse, right? Not a "psych pt" People do recover from mental illness. At least they do from where I stand. Cuz if they didnt I think I'd reconsider what I do for a living
  4. by   slinkeecat
    I have to comment and it may not be the popular thing to say.... I am a psych nurse and I have had the experience of watching my patients deal with their issues... THERE IS A FINE LINE BETWEEN MENTAL ILLNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH. I applaud this woman who became a nurse and defied the odds in managing her "illness". I am sure YOU... Georgi... have told your patients there is hope... there is healing.... and wish them the best when they are discharged... You should try to befriend this nurse rather than try to tear her down... Any one can go postal in a newyork minute, so I think you might want to place a different spin on this.
    Perhaps she chose to come there and work because she found her salvation there. I am so sick of people who have no tolerance for the mentally ill. Perhaps you might want to rethink your field of nursing.... Shame on you and your Coworkers.... Right On Pyschnurse.com .... you rock...
  5. by   Orca
    With managed care, this is a situation more and more likely to come up. On the first mental health unit I worked on, we had at least five hospital employees as inpatients at one time or another. Since our hospital offered the service, any other facility was considered out of network. Employees had to make the choice of either avoiding potential embarrassment and scrutiny from coworkers, or being able to afford the treatment they needed. It was a sticky dilemma. Even if nothing is said between hospital employees, a number of people (x-ray, lab, EKG, etc.) work with these patients and know they are on the floor.

    It is a situation I would not want to be in.
  6. by   researchrabbit
    She is well enough to be hired. She was well enough to get through nursing school. If you have a concern, take it up with your supervisor, NOT your co-workers. And if THEY bring it up, deflect it and suggest THEY talk to the supervisor. Otherwise, it's like a bunch of chickens pecking the different one to death.

    Although she may be a former psych patient, she is not one NOW. And two years is a lot of water under the bridge.

    If you are uncomfortable with her, talk to HER about it, one on one. Buy her lunch or bring her a coffee and gently tell her how you feel (remember that a gift of food or drink sure helps lessen feelings of rejection). I am sure she picks up on your discomfort (and that would make many people guarded).

    It is really not cool to discuss people's confidential information behind their backs. Some of my former psych patients live in my neighborhood, go to my church and my grocery store. What happened when they were patients is another life. What happened to your co-worker when she was a patient is another life. This is now. That was then. Give her a chance.
  7. by   live4today
    Duckie......I like your response to this situation. (((((hugs to the nurse being talked about by the staff for seeking help for what ailed her, and not being ashamed to do so)))))) :kiss I say, support her, befriend her, be professional about it just as you would anyone else who has suffered from any type of illness, be that illness physical or mental.
  8. by   maureeno
    hmmm...wonder why she is guarded, maybe because she knows people have been talking about her? There are already many excellent responses on this thread with the theme talk TO her, she will have lots to offer.
  9. by   sjoe
    research--excellent advice, as usual.
  10. by   2amigos
    It seems to me that you have a wonderful opportunity here. If you can, go out for coffee with this woman and talk. Talk honestly, but talk. What she's gone through must have been tough, and what she's going through now takes guts! We've all been on the outside looking in at one point or another in our life and it sucks! You have the chance to make a difference here and I hope you make the effort to do so. It's understandable that you're uncomfortable working with her, most of what you know about her is what others have said. (Shame on them)
    Maybe if you think how you'd feel if people were talking about you and no one would ask you directly, it might make it easier to approach her.
    Congrats to you for thinking about her and being honest in your own assessment.
    I would imagine that you'll be surprised at the outcome of reaching out to her. Please let us all know what you decide to do and how it goes. Best of luck!
    Cheryl Moore
  11. by   Orca
    I ran into another extreme on these same lines. A nursing colleague was bragging about having been a patient in a psychatric facility I had been employed with in the past (I do not recall having her as a patient, but it's possible). She rambled on and on about having bipolar disorder and how she didn't need her Lithium anymore because "I have it under control." Her actions on the floor proved that she didn't, and she was terminated soon afterward for erratic behavior, failure to complete tasks properly and inconsistent treatment of patients.

    Every morning, when all the other nurses were on the floor giving morning meds, this nurse would be sitting at the desk reading a magazine. We later found out that she was finishing long before the rest of us by skipping the step of verifying the medication on her MARs with the new orders, "because I'm sure they're OK".

    I suppose this is an example of the "invincible nurse", the opposite extreme.

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