Why are we as Psych nurses seen as bottom of the barrel? - page 3

by dreamingofbeing 8,834 Views | 41 Comments

I'm just wondering because every time I tell someone that I quit my IVR job to go to children's psych they act appalled. I know it's different but I'm still a nurse. Even my family acts appalled.... Read More


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    I thought of another answer. Why are psych nurses seen as the bottom of the barrel? Because somebody turned the barrel upside down. I used to work psych (and liked it). Can you tell?
  2. 3
    Lots of stigma for a poorly understood phenomena. Mental Illness is largely mood & behavior, not readily demonstrated by blood tests CT scan, etc, do it doesn't seem "real" to some.

    In contrast the "hard sciences" of med-surg nursing; the multitude of blood tests, EKGs, Xrays, et al, that allows us to monitor the disease state of heart disease, diabetes, renal & liver disease...

    Perhaps we'd get better respect if we had our own "Machine that goes Ping!!!"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arCITMfxvEc


    I often use the term Behavioral Health, as it is a more positive term, and indicates not the present pathology, but our end goal. People seem more receptive to this term.
    MUUGUZI, rn/writer, and Meriwhen like this.
  3. 1
    Quote from MrChicagoRN
    Perhaps we'd get better respect if we had our own "Machine that goes Ping!!!"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arCITMfxvEc


    I think that's what makes psych hard to understand for some. It's not like most other fields where we can give a medication, insert a tube or perform a procedure, and usually see instant results/effects. With the exception of giving someone an Haldol/Ativan cocktail to deescalate someone, it takes longer to see results in psych...and those results aren't always pronounced.
    MUUGUZI likes this.
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    People think psych patients are all delusional screamers or borderline manipulators or smoldering powder kegs ready to blow if someone says the wrong word, and they want to run screaming. Then there's the fallacy that psych is just a matter of willpower, that these ill-mannered patients would get better if they'd just stop frogging around and their practitioners would stop enabling them. Psych is seen as a dodge for criminals and an excuse for bad behavior. We psych nurses (and former psych nurses) are like Rodney Dangerfield--"we don't get no respect." And yet, if someone starts acting out on a med/surg floor, see how quickly they call for a psych consult and cross their fingers, hoping for a transfer.

    I like the term "behavioral health."
    Last edit by rn/writer on Oct 11, '11
    GooeyRN and MUUGUZI like this.
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    We get referrals and 1013's from many ER's in our state........no matter what medical problems the pt. has, they try to get him to us as soon as possible as soon as they become aware there is a psych issue.........if there is a psych issue, they want them OUT THE DOOR, even if his B/P is 210/110 !!!!! we have to haggle with them constantly to get them stable before we will accept.....they either don't give us all info, or sometimes fudge on it......we have to scrutinize q one so closely.........they just don't want/can't deal with them.........it is sad.........
    Hygiene Queen likes this.
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    I am a student graduating in Dec, Lord willing. I have always been interested in psych, it was my favorite clinical so far, and I will hopefully get my preceptorship in psych this semester, after were done with all our critical care stuff. People look at me like I have 3 heads when I tell them I want to do psych. I think some are just afraid, others don't think its real nursing bc you aren't managing IVs, putting in foleys etc etc etc. People fail to understand that psych is EVERYWHERE. Last semester in med/surg I got allllll the pts with co occuring psych stuff b/c my ci knew I was into psych. Managed a pt with the worst DTs I've ever seen, EVEN after having already had my inpt psych clinical. I learned this weekend there is a TON of psych stuff in ICU too, dealing with panicked and terrified family members, and then the pts themselves when they start to improve and realize how close to the edge they were.......and it really bothers me when I see RNs in more traditional acute care settings immediately start discounting pts the minute they see a psych med on the pts MAR.
  7. 0
    Quote from aloevera
    We get referrals and 1013's from many ER's in our state........no matter what medical problems the pt. has, they try to get him to us as soon as possible as soon as they become aware there is a psych issue.........if there is a psych issue, they want them OUT THE DOOR, even if his B/P is 210/110 !!!!! we have to haggle with them constantly to get them stable before we will accept.....they either don't give us all info, or sometimes fudge on it......we have to scrutinize q one so closely.........they just don't want/can't deal with them.........it is sad.........
    I had one ER nurse tell me a detox patient's internal bleeding was "not an issue."

    Another nurse called to give report about an incoming patient but wouldn't say anything--talking to this nurse was like pulling teeth. It turned out this nurse was calling from the patient's room, so the patient was right next to them. Of course you're not going to state a patient is a borderline when they're in front of you.

    I think the minute they see "psych issues" on the patient's chart they freak out...like you said, they just want to pass them along as soon as they can.
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    I'm graduating in December and currently work as an MHT at a behavioral health hospital and plan to transfer in as an RN when I pass the NCLEX. I've always wanted to work psych, it's what I got into nursing for (for a long list of reasons debating the DNP in psych vs a PsyD, I won't name here). I've learned to just not tell other nurses that I work in psych if I get a good feel of them. Some are more open minded/accepting of it, others aren't... if I feel that they'll be one of the latter, I just keep my mouth shut. I already know you clearly can't handle your patients with mental health issues, thanks, I don't need to hear a lecture about it. : )

    Through the ton of med/surge clinicals we've had, I can see how some nurses could get frustrated with a psych patient in a non-psych (milieu) setting. When your med-surge patients can "order" snacks, ice, whatever they want 24/7, some of them can get pretty demanding and hard to deal with. It's easier in the milieu environment. Still, that's no excuse for some of the behavior I've seen out of med/surge nurses... it's what's really appalling. As soon as a psych history or med is found on the chart, their patient is instantly "crazy", gets subhuman treatment and "should be transferred to psych" even if they aren't acting out at the moment and/or have legitimate medical issues that need to be handled before they get a transfer.

    I never let anyone get me down for my career of choice--there will be hard parts, I'm sure, but it's what I want to do and no one can deter me from that.
    eklecticsol, VanLpn, xenogenetic, and 2 others like this.
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    I think psych nurses are highly under-rated. I have never worked psych, but have required numerous admissions to mental health units over the past 11 years and I am so thankful for the psych nurses I have met who have taken the time to listen to me, make sure I get the right meds, made suggestions, and those who just took the time to sit with me when I couldn't stop the tears. I have the utmost respect for them; I have been an RN for over 20 years and one thing I know now is that I could never be a psych nurse. And, having been admitted to mental health as many times as I have, I now have a mission to teach the other staff I work with a thing or two about pts with mental health concerns.

    I will forever be grateful that those mental health nurses were there when I needed them.
    hanasea, Lucky724, jahra, and 3 others like this.
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    I love psych nursing, It's what I wanted to do all my life.
    My mom is an ER nurse and when I went to see her the other day, her co workers responded to me like this,
    "Oh, you're the daughter that's the psych nurse."
    I said "Yes I am and I love it"
    I then got the obligatory "I don't know how you can do that"
    Well I just went and said, "I don't know how you can be an ER nurse......
    It's hard to explain and for anyone else to understand unless you want to do it.

    I think we are lucky. We get to wear our own clothes, and we are not spreading MRSA or VRE all around. And the patients have to come to us for their medications. Well the last part sometimes we have to highly encourage them to come to us and or go get them


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