I have been in nursing for 40 years--this year. The last 7 have been in the field of Psychiatric Nursing. There are many qualities that the nurses I work with possess. Two of the most important in forming good staff/patient relationships are patience and understanding.
Life presents us with opportunities to grow and the experiences that teach us the most aren't usually pleasant ones. If you look at the times you thought that you just couldn't take anymore, you will find that these areas of your life were the ones that presented you with the need to grow your wings--as I call it--if you are going to fly off on your own as a little bird, you have to take chances and you have to learn to look out for yourself.
All of this requires patience. Skills aren't learned overnight. You observe others, you watch your patients interact with them,
you try something here and something else in another instance and watch for a response. Sometimes it's subtle and you almost miss it. Sometimes it screams at you, but if you watch carefully and patiently you will get your answer. And little by little you will grow as a nurse and fly off in your own direction--whatever that happens to be. That decision will come gradually too. Your will try fields that you think you will like. Some will work, some will not.
Anyway, be patient and don't give up. Somewhere, sometime you will find your niche.
The second quality is understanding. Please try to remember that your patients have an illness that has affected another organ in the body--the brain. They are above all human beings and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, just like every other human being wishes to be treated. Sometimes, I have
trouble getting this through to other people--even those that I work with. Not only are you an example to patients'--hopefully--of how to talk and interact with other human beings, but please remember God's golden rule. Treat others the way that you
would like to be treated. I would not wish mental illness on anyone, but if--heaven forbid-you end up a patient, how would you wish someone to treat you. All the new theories or treatments aside, a patient must be treated as though they matter individually. Remember that anyone, you or I included, can one day end up in the place that our patients are currently in. RememberIng this keeps you well-grounded. We will all end up having traumatic experiences of our own that can trigger depression or PTSD, have a genetic makeup that causes us to be confronted or faced with mental illness, or something triggers a pre-set mechanism that we just weren't aware was there--genetically that is.
Just try to remember your focus. Our patients are the reason that we are here. They are our primary focus. Do not become so "burned out" that they don't take first place. NO ONE IS MORE IMPORTANT IN PSYCHIATRIC NURSING THAN THE PATIENT.