Typical day in Psych nursing

  1. 0
    Hi, I am contemplating doing a graduate diploma in mental health when I have completed my nursing degree and was wondering if you could tell me what a typical day as a psych nurse would be, assuming there is a typical day of course. For example, do you start your day with a handover followed by obs and medications, ADL's and then observing and activities? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 3,585 Views
    Find Similar Topics
  4. 8 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    Quote from monstermunch
    Hi, I am contemplating doing a graduate diploma in mental health when I have completed my nursing degree and was wondering if you could tell me what a typical day as a psych nurse would be, assuming there is a typical day of course. For example, do you start your day with a handover followed by obs and medications, ADL's and then observing and activities? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Lets assume we are talking about a typical day on a short term inpatient program. 7 to 7:30am listen to report from evenings and nights, then the med nurse prepares am meds for patients who will come to the med room to get them. Mental health workers are waking the patients and doing the first safety rounds and census. Safety rounds and census will be repeated q 30mins throughout the day. Patients will be getting up and attending to their own adls. and making their owbn beds, mental heath workers will escort those pts with off unit privileges to the cafeteria, others will receive trays on the unit. The charge nurse will give report to the psychiatrists, social workers and other therapists at 8am. about 9 there will be a unit meeting of all staff and patients, either the charge nurse, chief therapist or psychiatrist will lead this. Usually there will be a couple of special purpose group therapies from 10 to 12. At the same time therapists will be meeting with their individual clients aand nursing staff checking in with their assigned patients. 12 to 1:30 pm every body gets lunch and back for pm groups, write notes, report to the charge nursegive report to the evening shift.

    Hope that gives you an idea. There will also be staff and team meetings scattered thru the day. There is relatively little traditional nursing activity, ie: adl care, bed making, vital sign taking, etc. Patients are encouraged to do as much of there own care as possible because its good for their self esteem to feel competent and capable. There is a lot of attention to "managing the milieu" and "monitoring the process" which rather nebulous terms refer to being aware of and trying to influence the social climate of the unit and being in full communication with your peers so that you are all on the same page. Patient safety is the number one and overiding concern of the psych unit because the basic reason these folks are inpat is that they are not safe on there own.
    Last edit by CharlieRN on Jul 17, '06
  6. 0
    Thanks CharlieRN that was exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
  7. 0
    Quote from monstermunch
    Thanks CharlieRN that was exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
    Glad to be of help. sorry about the sloppy spelling, I'm at the end of a very long boring night in admissions and having a hard time staying awake.
    By the way, I have worked most types of inpatient psych units, and all shifts so if you need more specific answers, just ask.
    Last edit by CharlieRN on Jul 17, '06
  8. 0
    Thank you!
  9. 0
    I posted this message awhile back under "What's your day like?"

    I am a psych nurse on an inpatient acute unit. I work 8 and 12 hour shifts. Generally I am the only RN on the unit - if I need backup, I call neighboring units or the supervisor (if he/she isn't too busy). My unit is usually full, 15 pts, and we run with 3 aides depending, of course, on acuity and staff availability.

    I count and get report at 2:30 and am on the floor by 3:00. The beginning of my day is usually busy - orders and finishing up tasks leftover from dayshift. The Dr and PA-C have a tendency to write orders late in the day, so I may be working on admissions, discharges, med changes, referrals, following up on abnormal labs, etc. I deal with all medical and acute psych issues - everything from a scrape to chest pain to suicidal thoughts or aggression. I am the med/treatment nurse. I am also the team leader, so I deal with delegation and personnel issues on my unit. Somedays run smoothly and other days it seems all I do is set out fires and race the clock.

    We are an admission unit and most of our admits come in the evening, usually I have one but I have had up to three in an 8 hour time span. If I have an admit, I complete a nursing assessment with the patient, deal with immediate medical/psychiatric concerns, take off admission orders, contact their family, and of course document every intervention and write up an initial treatment plan. I am engulfed by paperwork my entire shift - it seems for every intervention there is triplicate paperwork to complete. I love patient care, hate the paperwork - it's a necessary evil though.

    There is a high level of unpredictability when dealing with psych admissions - I deal with patients with varying diagnoses, including medical, and crises (s/p suicde attempts, mood disorders, psychosis, homicidal ideation, dementia, etoh/drug withdrawal and personality disorders). I have worked with some awe-inspiring patients over the years and a few that I'd prefer not to meet again (to put it nicely ).

    Some of our patients can't communicate their needs so assessment is critical. I don't think this can be emphasized enough with this population. It's easy to pass things off as a "psych issue" and then have it blow up in your face a few hours/days later. I follow my gut instinct if I can't pinpoint a specific problem - fortunately we have a great medical team who listen to staff concerns.

    Somedays I am assigned the defib nurse if there is code in the hospital and other days I handle scheduling conerns for my department. There are many small tasks that I complete throughout my shift - I try to help the aides out as much as I can and vice versa. We work as a team and we depend on one another - I could not do my job without their help.

    The last hour of my shift is usually the calmest, most of the patients are in their beds and the staff seem to unwind at this time. I finish up on my last minute tasks and try to spend a little time with staff in between doing things. It's my favorite time of the day, sort of a debriefing for us. Then the oncoming nurse shows up and I count/give report and try to let things go as I leave for the day.
  10. 0
    CharlieRN's schedule sounds just like our schedule of activities @ my job with the State mental hospital where I work here in West Virginia, although i am getting ready to go to another facility they have built on campus known as a transitional facility for forensic patients, so my typical day is set to change.
  11. 0
    i here that psyc nursing is not as bad as other types of nursing. true?
  12. 0
    I am from England and the discriptions of a typical day in psychi is pretty much the same here too, with minor differences...

    as for...
    Quote from smart99guy
    i here that psyc nursing is not as bad as other types of nursing. true?
    that is really a subjective opinion. some days it is easy and 'money for old rope' other days you wished you had phoned in sick...

    But there again the same could be said of A&E (ER) nursing too...
    Not all day there are like the TV shows... some days are 'money for old rope' too.

    but there again I have been doing this job for over 30 years, so perhaps I am just used to it.

    nursing... of any kind... is dang hard work the vast majority of the time.


Top