My thoughts on Mental Health Nursing - page 2

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... Read More

  1. by   lilmoongoddess
    Thank you for sharing this I have accepted a new graduate position in an in-patient mental health unit and I'm looking forward to starting my career here

    I have been discouraged by some fellow classmates negative comments about mental health nursing, but the important thing is that I love psychiatric nursing and helping people cope with their mental illness
  2. by   giantumbrella
    I am a nursing student and just accepted my first medical related job as a care partner on a medical psych unit. I'm really excited about it, but everyone else seems to think I'm crazy ( no pun intended) I'm so glad to read this and see that you enjoy it, because I find psych nursing to be fascinating! On my unit we have portable panic buttons and security close by, so just that alone gives me peace of mind! Thank you for your thoughts, I don't care what anyone says, psych is interesting!
  3. by   deleern
    My Psychiatrist/MD has told me that I have saved his license on many occasion, because of my Medical back round. I have 5 years as a Care manager for a 68 bed Nursing home ( I did all the rounds with all the Md's). I have been working on the In Patient setting for a year and I love it. I do Groups, Pass meds. (piece of cake compared to LTC) I do Admission, and Discharges when as I work as a Staff nurse.

    As Charge nurse I assess the phone calls From the ER's from all over the state of MN. to review appropriateness for admission. That involves getting HX and reviewing labs results, then consult with MD. I go to team meeting each morning we meet with 4 of the 10 psychologists, the Psychiatrist, 2 social workers. we review each Pt. It is so different than LTC So much more rewarding.

    I do not care what the public preception is. I know what I do is life changing for the people I work with. We save lives not Like an ER nurse. We get someone in there darkest hour. and in 3 days to a week they are back home and feeling better. It can be as simple as a Med change to getting the right services for some one.
  4. by   Feistn
    I'm a nursing student, and I work at a Psychiatric Board and Care in Minneapolis. I've had older nurses tell me that psychiatry is a "dead end" of medicine. I've witnessed burnt-out nurses, who would try and pass off as much of their work and only do "real nursing things," and when they got a bad review, would declare that it was "time to move into a more challenging job." No, time to stop being a jerk to your coworkers and look in the mirror. I've had many fellow students say "I could NEVER handle it." Well, yes, you could handle it. And like the OP said, there are plenty of acute health concerns. Like you said, it's different every day. I have a bachelors in a very unrelated field, and I think it takes everything I've ever learned ever to do my job. It's not as sexy as running around and saying I want to work in NICU or whatever, but it IS medicine, and it is vital.
  5. by   BaileyC
    I started work a couple months ago as a CNA on a geriatric psych unit and on a chemical dependency unit....and I really like both so far! I ALWAYS come home with a funny/crazy story. Some days are tough, (and yes, some of those geriatric patients have some MUSCLE, so be careful) but I still love it. It's really rewarding and humbling to spend time with people who are mentally handicapped, or are putting themselves through treatment and trying to fix their own substance abuse problems. I'm still deciding if I want to be a Psych RN once I graduate, only because I really like pediatrics, OR, and critical care nursing, too.
  6. by   giantumbrella
    I just recently started working on a medical psych unit as a care partner and honestly, I love it so far. The patients are interesting, the staff is nice and caring, and there's always something interesting going on. I'm also unsure about whether I'll become a psych nurse after I graduate, but i'm thinking about it. Nothing bothers me more than when people say that psych nursing either breeds lazy or crazy, it is so not true! I love love love my unit, and I don't feel crazy OR lazy!
  7. by   Elladora
    I feel crazy some days! But as for lazy, no. I daresay anyone that says psych nurses are lazy has never worked as a psych nurse.
  8. by   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!
  9. by   nursedanny614
    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.
  10. by   sleepdeprived1
    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.
  11. by   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.
  12. by   Ntheboat2
    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!
  13. by   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.