My thoughts on Mental Health Nursing - page 3

by Elladora 15,901 Views | 34 Comments

I posted this on my facebook wall a while back and thought I would share it here... When I tell people I work in mental health, I almost always get a negative reaction. I get asked if there was nothing else left, am I... Read More


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    Yes, I am soo sick of people asking me are you afraid of losing your skills??... I have to say that I do get scared sometimes, not right away but have had a few aggressive/agitated/psychotic AVH patients who were escalating fast..and without proper staffing or no security.gets me a little worried in those moments.but I love psych! wouldn't do any other nursing!
    deleern likes this.
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    Every time I tell people I want to do psych I get the same reactions. People usually ask me 'why do you want to work with "crazies"? or they say "You need to be careful because they can be dangerous." It just amazes me that after all the advances in psychiatry people still feel this way. Any nursing job can be dangerous. When I was coming to from surgery I almost punched someone in the face. I feel like the hardest part of the job is not with patients but with society trying to accept the mentally ill.
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    You make a good point! All nursing jobs can be dangerous. For the most part my mental health patients are able to maintain boundaries and are not aggressive and very thankful for treatment..but there have been some incidents of situations with aggressive agitated patients. Other times I see someone irritable, and pacing.. and think "Here we go" but then when they don't lose it I am like thank you god! Being aware of what's going on the unit and who is escalating if anything you can do BEFORE they get out of control is always better.
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    I have to say, I've only been a nurse for a little less than a year and I feel that my experience in psych LTC has enabled me to use my skills and be extremely resourceful. I have up to 50 patients by myself (sometimes they give me a second nurse if staffing allows) and not only do I have to manage to medicate all of these people, I'm making phone calls to doctors to relay labs or report any acute illness as well as any treatments that I have to do during the day. Sure, none of my patients get IV meds round the clock, but there have been times where I've inserted IV's for rehydration purposes. I have a patient that, until recently, I was straight cath-ing every day for post void residual. I have quite a few patients with wounds and pressure ulcers. A few of my friends that have gotten nursing jobs in acute care give me the "poor you" look when I talk about work, but these people have Med Surg AND psychiatric illnesses and I have to be able to recognize and articulate both to physicians over the phone, because these docs come to the facility once per month.

    The skills we can always pick up. But today one of my patients who has schizophrenia and bipolar d/o who has been institutionalized for 40 + years and whose family lives states away told me today "You're everything that I have in this world" with a huge smile on her face. That made my day...and I think that's what real nursing is all about.
    VivaLasViejas and sleepdeprived1 like this.
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    Quote from sleepdeprived1
    Yes, I am soo sick of people asking me are you afraid of losing your skills??... I have to say that I do get scared sometimes, not right away but have had a few aggressive/agitated/psychotic AVH patients who were escalating fast..and without proper staffing or no security.gets me a little worried in those moments.but I love psych! wouldn't do any other nursing!
    I am really torn right now. I LOVE psych nursing, and even though I don't graduate until December, I've been offered a job at a state psych facility when I graduate. I think I would absolutely love working there, and I think I deserve to have a job that I love considering I've put so much time in to jobs that I pretty much hate. The thought of spending one more day doing something I don't love is painful!

    On the other hand, I agreed to go in for an interview at a hospital for a med/surg position. Med/surg is on my list of jobs that I'm pretty sure I would hate. However, every time I'm looking through job postings, I come across post after post of jobs (that pay WELL) who want a nurse with 1 or 2 years med/surg experience. I think...what if I get tired of psych or just that particular hospital after awhile? What if circumstances beyond my control (family, health, etc) force me to look for another job? Will I be able to go back to a hospital or med/surg setting after being out of practice for so long? I feel like I can always go back to my first love which is psych. I don't know how easy it would be to go back to med/surg.

    It really sucks having to choose between taking a job that you really want right now and taking a job that you really don't want, but would probably be beneficial to your overall career. I don't know what I'm going to do. It's such a tough call!
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    Yep, I pretty much always knew I wanted to be a psych nurse and I always got looked at like I had 5 heads when I told people that. I still get it now LOL. I took my first job out of nursing school on an ACT team and I love it, love working with our clients. And losing skills, nahhhh. Just did a dressing change on the most *awesome* chronic wound I have ever seen today.
  7. 1
    Quote from wanna b
    You love your job and you're making a difference in someone's life, isn't that what nursing is about? I give you a .
    Unfortunately, a nurse also has to think about his or her own best interests and survival, too. Unless one enters Nursing via a religious Order and has his or her expenses paid by the Order, a nurse is going to have bills, retirement financing, and so forth.
    ChristineN likes this.
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    Quote from TerpGal02
    Yep, I pretty much always knew I wanted to be a psych nurse and I always got looked at like I had 5 heads when I told people that. I still get it now LOL. I took my first job out of nursing school on an ACT team and I love it, love working with our clients. And losing skills, nahhhh. Just did a dressing change on the most *awesome* chronic wound I have ever seen today.
    How about IV's, vents, titrating drips, knowing the latest emergency techniques and the newest M/S meds? It is hard to keep up with all of that while working Psych.
  9. 0
    Quote from Ntheboat2
    I am really torn right now. I LOVE psych nursing, and even though I don't graduate until December, I've been offered a job at a state psych facility when I graduate. I think I would absolutely love working there, and I think I deserve to have a job that I love considering I've put so much time in to jobs that I pretty much hate. The thought of spending one more day doing something I don't love is painful!

    On the other hand, I agreed to go in for an interview at a hospital for a med/surg position. Med/surg is on my list of jobs that I'm pretty sure I would hate. However, every time I'm looking through job postings, I come across post after post of jobs (that pay WELL) who want a nurse with 1 or 2 years med/surg experience. I think...what if I get tired of psych or just that particular hospital after awhile? What if circumstances beyond my control (family, health, etc) force me to look for another job? Will I be able to go back to a hospital or med/surg setting after being out of practice for so long? I feel like I can always go back to my first love which is psych. I don't know how easy it would be to go back to med/surg.

    It really sucks having to choose between taking a job that you really want right now and taking a job that you really don't want, but would probably be beneficial to your overall career. I don't know what I'm going to do. It's such a tough call!
    Keep your M/S skills up. With the glut of excess nurses looking for work these days, no facility will update out-of-date RN's to come work for them. Work an occasional shift on Med/Surg - even 4 per year will help.
  10. 0
    Quote from lmd06
    I have to say, I've only been a nurse for a little less than a year and I feel that my experience in psych LTC has enabled me to use my skills and be extremely resourceful. I have up to 50 patients by myself (sometimes they give me a second nurse if staffing allows) and not only do I have to manage to medicate all of these people, I'm making phone calls to doctors to relay labs or report any acute illness as well as any treatments that I have to do during the day. Sure, none of my patients get IV meds round the clock, but there have been times where I've inserted IV's for rehydration purposes. I have a patient that, until recently, I was straight cath-ing every day for post void residual. I have quite a few patients with wounds and pressure ulcers. A few of my friends that have gotten nursing jobs in acute care give me the "poor you" look when I talk about work, but these people have Med Surg AND psychiatric illnesses and I have to be able to recognize and articulate both to physicians over the phone, because these docs come to the facility once per month.

    The skills we can always pick up. But today one of my patients who has schizophrenia and bipolar d/o who has been institutionalized for 40 + years and whose family lives states away told me today "You're everything that I have in this world" with a huge smile on her face. That made my day...and I think that's what real nursing is all about.
    Love this comment!!! I work in LTC as an lpn, and I feel the same. It's a satisfying career!


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