Help! psychology rotations

  1. Okay, please forgive me but I really need some reassurance from some students who have already completed psych rotations. I have always been interested in this area and have looked forward to rotations until we had our orientation. Our instructors were going over what we could wear to clinical and they stressed that we are to show no skin whatsoever because we are working with a lot of sexual predators! Then they had a student from last years class talk to us about her experience with someone on the unit who was admitted b/c of an eating disorder who ended up biting her!!! I just need some reassurance because they are definately scaring me
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    Joined: May '02; Posts: 20


  3. by   Mary Dover
    The stories are probably meant to scare you, you know - going into a psych rotation, you'll hear a lot of urban legend stuff. I have been a psych nurse for 12 years, and have only loved it! You will do fine. BTW, pm me sometime and tell me where you are in NC if you want to.
  4. by   MPHkatie
    Well, I did once have a patient during a rotation tell me she wanted to kill me, but she has so entirely depressed, she moved very slowly so it was sort of unbelievable that she might attempt it. As an Emergency room nurse, I have had to deal with lots and lots of very disturbed people, but during my rotation, all my patients were fairly simple to work with. I do agree with the showing no skin thing, it's not that patients are sexual predators, but there is such a stereotype of nurses (a friend of mine sends me Nurse Nancy Porn videos every year as part of my bday gift- and believe it or not, they are always different, sort of sad isn't it) and patients are generally not coping very well and misinterpreting lots of things, so dressing verry modestly makes just avoids any misinterpretation.
  5. by   lindagio
    I just finished my psych rotation. I found it mentally draining. Not physical. The first day I actually had to go home and sleep which I never do. I survived. Alot of the patients have schizpphrenia or depression The Bipolar patients can be interesting and fun to talk to and do papers about. One strong suggestion is: If you have a nursing process paper to do on a patient. Ask their permission before you start asking questions. My nursing process paper was the worst part of my clinical experience. Most of the part I found my psych rotation difficult because you are not working with patients stuck in their rooms and doing assessments can be more difficult. It is fun to attend group therapy if they have some available. The psych unit I was on was not therapeutic. The patients basically watched TV and read old books all day with far and few group meetings. I would be more depressed in this unit. Good luck it is not that bad. I am sure your instructor will not put you in any harm.
    My mom has been a psych nurse since I was like 12 or 13. I've heard the most wonderful psych stories over dinner. When I got my liscense and learned to drive, I would take lunch to my mom at the state mental hospital, just to peek at the "crazies!" We see them all the time when we go shopping, her former patients. Always a joy!

    So on my first day of psych clinicals, imagine all of my fellow students huddled together into one large mass of scared human, and me, charging ahead of them all, head high, happy to be there. Like "yeah, Heather's here!"

    My advice to you? Psych patients are like puppy dogs. They can sense your fear and will pounce on you if they think they can. They sense weaklings, and those whose chain they can pull.

    But as some other posters have said, it is more emotionally draining than physically draining. Just remember your basic rules: never contribute to their dysfunctional thinking, never let them manipulate you, and never turn your back on them.

  7. by   GPatty
    When we did our psych rotations, it was all right. No one wanted to kill me... or bite me....(that I knew of!). For me, it was rather boring. Everyone sat around reading, sleeping or watching TV.
    I thought they probably didn't like "being watched" any more than I liked "watching" them. I mean, after all, they are people too, and they knew why we were there...

    Don't worry though, you'll make it through just fine!

  8. by   kelligrl
    You're gonna be fine!! The not showing skin thing is probably smart though; you just have to put it into perspective. Many times psych patients have very little boundaries. My instructor put it to us this way--"If you go in there dressed like you're looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend, you'll probably find one..":chuckle I think that sums it up quite well. I think it takes a lot of time to be a good psych nurse. You'll see people do things right, and people do things wrong, just like you did in every other rotation. Mostly what I experienced was a kind of sadness for these people. How difficult it must be to live with mental illness. But that's all they are, just people. If you treat them with the same respect you would treat someone who has a hip fx or something that you were treating, I'm sure you'll be fine...
  9. by   RNConnieF
    I LOVED my psych rotation. I did it in a state hospital for the crimnally insane. You'd think it would have been the worst place on earth to be but these people got REAL treatment over YEARS and insurance never had anything to say about it. I had my best patient interaction moments in psych. You'll learn more than you think, you won't even know how much you learned until you start to apply what you brought from psych to med surg. As far as dress go for the standard kahkies and blue/black/green/maroon twin set (same pants all the time different color tops ) Can't go wrong with the "dress/casual no jeans" uniform!
  10. by   NurseAngie
    i loved psych clinicals! we went for a week (we stayed in the nurses dorm) to the state mental health hospital. i had the best time and i learned a lot. i got my heart broken a little bit when i worked with the young children, but it was a great experience. pysch is my second favorite area in nursing. don't go in dreading it...try & relax. i hope you enjoy your time.

  11. by   Jennabugs
    I think it depends if you are in a state hospital or private facility. I was a mental health counselor (psych is my first career) and it was a bad experience. Really it is the system to blame (I live in Massachusetts so may be different state to state). Seeing the nurses there made me realize I never want to do psych nursing. It is a lot of meds, meds, meds and that is all at times. I am sure it can be good if you work for a well run facility, same for any hospital. One caution-watch your back, especially with the adolecents. I mean that emotionally as far as getting taken advantage of and also physically. I got beat up on more than on occaison! Good luck.
  12. by   NICUNURSE
    I too was really scared to do my psych rotation. Don't worry, you'll be alright. True, there are a lot of people who are really CRAZY (no pun intended), but a lot of them are just regular people who have been faced with some unfortunate circumstances. During my clinical, we worked at a facility that had both locked and open units. We had patients all over the gamet, from a pt. in full leather four point restraints, to a suicidal pt. crying on my shoulder b/c she just found out that her husband had been molesting their grandchildren. This rotation was both scary, exciting, fun, you name it. Although, I knon psych is not for me, it was definitly an experience. Besides, this will be the clinical from which you gather all of your crazy nursing stories!
  13. by   calililly
    After I had my psych clinicals, I knew that psych was the specialty for me: never the same day twice, a newfound compassion and patience for people, and the ability and strength to interact with and accept a group of people who have diseases that most regular folks cannot understand. To be able to effectively interact with my patients on the psych unit was the most incredible feeling! Compared to psych, med/surg is a bore!!

    As for the sexual predators, it isn't as bad as you might think. I came the first day and my instructor told me that my shirt was cut too low. I came back the next day with a turtleneck! Anyways, even the most difficult or bizarre patients were kept mostly under control. If a patient is particularly dangerous or disruptive, they will most likely be in seclusion or on 1-to-1 status which means that a staff member is with them at all times.

    You will be safe. As my instructor told us (and she's been a psych nurse for 40 years), you will not be harmed, raped, or molested. There are staff there to help you and to show you how to best interact with all types of psych patients. There is so much to learn and if you give the unit a chance, you will have a totally different outlook on psych nursing.
  14. by   slinkeecat
    Just remember that all patients in a psych hospital are sociopaths to some degree. Borderlines are very manipulative and can and will take advantage of your kindness and sympathy. Just remember that there is a fine line between mental health and mental illness ...