Psych nurses all have a mental illness - page 2

Now don't get me wrong, I've copped a lot of psych nurse jokes/digs but tonight amongst a group of old aged care (LTC) colleagues, the same person made the same comment 'I always say, psych nurses... Read More

  1. by   ms.shellie
    ...hmmm. We in the psych field must chuckle when we hear these type of comments, full well knowing that judgemental statements are just a revelation of the speakers own mental status. . .
  2. by   elkpark
    Quote from ms.shellie
    ...hmmm. We in the psych field must chuckle when we hear these type of comments, full well knowing that judgemental statements are just a revelation of the speakers own mental status. . .
    I know that I do ...
  3. by   TerpGal02
    I have heard this a number of times, too. I tend to agree with some other posters where nurses often end up in specialties they feel a personal connection with, thus there are a certain number of psych nurses that have struggled with mental illness themselves or watched a family member struggle with one. On my unit, we have both. One of my closest friends at work (who is an awesome psych nurse too, btw) doesnt have any history herself of mental illness and she does amazing with the patients. I myself do have a history of a mood disorder and PTSD and I work very hard to take care of myself and keep myself stable. I think as a nurse with a mental illness, you wouldnt last very long in psych if you did not have VERY keen insight into your own illness and had it under very good control because psych nursing, if one is doing it right, is very difficult. Its not as hysically demanding as other specialties and not as task oriented but it is mentally, emotionally, and spiritfually (if you let it) draining. We have had a few techs that I am quite sure had an unstable mental illness and they did not last long. If you are unstable working on a psych unit, you bring the whole unit down and then you start having safety issues.

    But really, its nurses that make comments like "all psych nurses must be crazy" that could never handle this job. I think people say things like this out of fear really. There is still a large amount of fear out there surrounding mental illness. Its sad really. Its funny watching ancillary hospital staff come onto our unit sometimes.......they act like they are walking into a war zone. Our unit is probably the most calm in the whole hospital LOL. It does make me sad for the patients that have to witness those attitudes though. They're not stupid and totally pick up on stuff like that. They are human beings, too.
  4. by   traverpen
    If they are crazy its not from interacting with the clients. Charting that much could drive anyone crazy, it seems like 99% of the time they are charting. So they're either predisposed and the charting pushed them over the top, or they were crazy in the first place for choosing a path with all that charting. In my psych rotation I don't believe I saw a nurse have 5 uninterrupted minutes with a client. The usual interaction consisted of clients shuffling up to the nurses station, nurse asking what they wanted, giving them a snack or meds and then going back to charting. I think the time a client was restrained was the longest patient/nurse interaction I ever saw. I guess they did follow clients to the gym, but still, what were they charting about for 12 hours, the gym? Or "Pt denies SI/HI" because they're back on their meds and have more food than meth in their system. That job quickly went in the same category as records review, on my list of things to do for food if I'm starving and living with my inlaws.
  5. by   luisacm
    Haha, and who doesn't have some sort of mental distress? Oh yess! those in denial LOL
  6. by   Orca
    Quote from (Sofie)
    Or maybe it's not the nurse who has/has a history of mental illness, but someone in her family.
    When I worked an inpatient hospital unit, visiting time was often very revealing. I would often find that the person who we had on the unit was the most well-adjusted member of the family, and they had just cracked under the weight of all the dysfunction around them.

    I had a stretch of severe acute depression, brought on by a divorce. This happened when I was in my first year on a mental health unit. Although I never went down the road of self disclosure (because I didn't want to make it about me), when I would describe to a depressed patient what they were feeling, they knew that I wasn't just parroting back something out of a textbook.

    I have worked with several nurses who had mental health diagnoses, and I had one coworker attempt suicide while she was off duty. It is neither a requirement nor a disqualification for someone to have a mental health history (although I have worked with a couple who were just ******* crazy). The good ones do what EKUGRAD has done - use their experiences to their advantage in helping their patients, which keeping the focus on the patient.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Nov 4 : Reason: TOS/profanity
  7. by   stevefl
    I like to 'tip toe' around the DMS5 every now and the, just not enough to need meds.
  8. by   mmak
    I think MI is similar to physical illness in the sense that we can't all go our ENTIRE LIVES without getting sick at some point. Maybe it's a one time panic attack, maybe it's one episode of depression, maybe it's more. Regardless, I hate when people say you have to be crazy to work in psych because it just widens the gap between MH services and people who need them.
  9. by   Meriwhen
    Warped sense of humor? IMO, it can definitely help when working psych, especially inpatient. There are things that happen in psych that sometimes you just have to smile at to deal with them.

    Being crazy? Not necessary at all to work psych. Nor would being crazy help one be a better psych nurse any more than my giving birth would make me a better L&D nurse (man, I say that a lot around here). Some psych nurses do have mental disorders; others don't. Both do the job rather well.

    Unfortunately, people still attach a lot of stigma to psych because they don't understand it or even fear it...and people often tend to ridicule that which they aren't comfortable with.

    And there is a difference between warped sense of humor and ridiculing.
  10. by   hihorse
    I have heard this statement many times in my career. I think that everyone at some point has a problems some deal with it better than others. Depression is all around and I do not believe psychiatric nurse have the market on metal illness. A lot of nurse say they do not want to come to the psych floor, but I tell them they deal with mental problems on their floors it might not be classified as such but it is there just the same.
  11. by   RN4it
    I have been a psych nurse for five years working with the adolescent population mostly. My best friend from medical got pulled to work on my behavioral health unit and she shot me a text saying, "You got to be crazy to work here."/"I don't like this." I do get what people are saying but I think they mean it figuratively. I would have to say that it takes a certain personality to stay in the psych field for long. You have to have a different type of thick skin than you have for medical floor. It's definitely a job for people who are "emotionally strong, brave, and witty". Depending on the population that you are caring for, it can be an extremely dangerous job and you must understand the best way to deescalate these patients to keep them from harming themselves or others.
  12. by   FolksBtrippin
    Most people will experience some kind of mental illness at some point in their lives. And yet stigma is still so strong. Amazing.

    That's my answer.