Mental Health Rotation....

  1. Hey everyone...
    I am just curious for those who have had Mental Health already or are in currently. What did you think of your experience? Where was your rotation at? Was it a State facility, or privately run, and what was the diagnosis of most of the pts??

    I just finished my clinical rotation and was blown away at how much I do not desire to work in this area at all. I went to a state hospital and worked mainly with pts who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. To me it was extremely depressing and I just felt heavy after leaving. I would love to hear of others experiences!!!
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    About Sunshine0425

    Joined: Feb '06; Posts: 187; Likes: 2
    Specialty: Med-Surg/ ICU


  3. by   Daytonite
    my psych rotation was done in a va psych facility that was totally psych patients only. we were placed on one of the locked facilities where there were schizophrenic patients. it was scary. these patients were participating in clinical trials for new medications for schizophrenic patients. one of the requirements was that they had to be off of any of their psych medications. talk about seeing full blown symptoms of schizophrenia! it was a unique experience. we were also supposed to work on our therapeutic communication skills. very frustrating to say the least.

    i have to tell you that some years later when i was working as an iv therapist at another va facility, i often had to go to one of their three locked psych units to start saline locks on patients going for electroshock therapy or gi testing. i had a much better knowledge of how to approach and act around these kinds of patients. also, as a medical nurse i frequently had patients who were in dts or occasionally exhibited symptoms of other psych illness along with their medical problems. and, having worked on a stepdown unit i can't tell you how many post-suicide attempts we got from the icu.

    if there is anything you take away with you, make it be a compassion for these people as well as a new found determination to keep working on your interpersonal communication skills. these are two things that will take you far in getting along with patients and coworkers in this profession. once you've seen the worst, the rest isn't half as bad!
  4. by   cricketeeny
    Hey there,
    I understand disliking a rotation intensely - I've been hating med-surg, which is mostly what we do.... and psych was what I liked the best, to my surprise! For me, in the inpatient facility that we were at, I felt that the staff was really supportive of each other, that the docs and nurses and techs really worked as a team, and that people had genuine compassion for their patients. I thought it was fascinating, and very humbling, to learn why the different people were there... to me, it's been the most human place in the hospital that I've experienced.

    nursing student (ADN)
  5. by   Jelli_Belli
    I work in a psych hospital as a casemanger\psychiatric tech right now while I'm finishing up school. I love psych, I love everything about it. I got my degree in psych, but realized after I started in case management that I would much rather be a psych nurse because 1) the pay is way better and 2) as a casemanger I see my pt's for maybe 30 min. a day and as a nurse I could see them all day. We mainly have acute schiz patients, some adjustment and personality disorders thrown in to the mix also. That said I can understand why you didn't like your rotation. The other nursing program in my city (my nursing program goes to another facility so yea! I don't have to be at "work" 80 hours a week!) come to our hospital for their clincials. I think the instructor must be a little "scared" of our patients because they do very little with them. When the group comes in the morning they sit in on one of my goals and discharge planning groups, then they sit in on one of my 1:1 sessions, then they watch an activity group. For the rest of they pour over the charts and do care plans and look up different diagnosis. They only went back with the patients in the locked unit one time and as soon as one of the patients started preaching (he loves an audience but he was not out of control by any means) their instructer hearded them up and headed for the door. Now I understand the need for safety, but no one was in danger, and part of the psych experience is seeing patient behaviors and learning about the illness. If I was in that clinical rotation I would have been bored out of my mind and hated it too.
    I'm so glad that I got my experience as a psych tech for I became a nurse, or even a casemanger, for that matter. When you spend time in the trenchs, locked in a unit with acutly psychotic people you lose the fear, and the pity, and just see them as people. Every patient is unique and their issues are unique. I hate to see people walk into that unit and act afraid to be there. It hurts the patients too, they pick up on those kinds of things.
    I guess my advice is, to those who are going into your psych rotations is that, just like all other rotations, it is what you make of it. There are tons of enriching experiences to be gained but you can't be to afraid to seek them out. Spend as much time as possible with the patients...that is where the true learning is.
    p.s. just like the poster above stated , I also hate med\surg! We do 70 total med\surg days and only 15 psych days. Boo! Sometimes I wish that as nurses we could pick our speciality like a doc does and just concentrate on that.
  6. by   cricketeeny
    to Jelli Belli,
    I was really heartened to hear what you wrote about liking psych... in my class, i think i'm one of 2 (out of 76) who like it... i kind of feel freakish disliking med-surg so much (like, why do i want to become a nurse then?) - even my med-surg instructor gave me a really weird look when she asked me what i wanted to go into. Then again, she' s also an instructor who has no problem being a b**ch, which is my other major complaint about nursing school - i know we all have our own complaints - but some of the instructors have been the very unencouraging, embarrassing you in front of the patient, creating an environment of fear type that it really makes learning suck, and takes the entire beauty of learning something away and replaces it with drudgery and spite. (i'm feeling bitter, in case you haven't noticed). If you're an instructor: students don't learn well when they're so anxious they can't think straight!! There's even research done on that!! Ok. I'll calm down now.
  7. by   nurse4theplanet
    private hospital.
    mostly depression, bipolar, and behavoiral problems (ads and pre-ads...this facility took kids as young as four)
    didn't feel like they were getting the appropriate help they needed
    more frustrated with the system than the pts
    i don't have any desire to work in psych, specifically, but i apply everything i learned to my current practice
  8. by   MALE*RN*777
    Mine was at the state hospital I'm working at now. Schizophrenia is the most common illness.
  9. by   Annointed_RNStudent
    I worked on a Mens Admission unit in the State Psychiatric Facility! It was the worst of my nursing experiences and I decided that I would not practice nursing if that had to be my area of specialty, I admire Psych Nurses SOOOO MUCH it really takes special people to be nurses, but being a Psych Nurse has to be a calling, because they are truly awesome individuals!
  10. by   jmCARing4u
    I'm currently in my psych rotation and so far, it seems to be interesting. The facility I'm in has adults and adolescents and the most common diagnoses are mood and psychotic disorders. Lots of patients to choose from as well. Even though I find it interesting talking to these types of patients, I'm also terrified about what to say, what not to say, therapeutic boundaries, and all that stuff we need to watch out for. I don't think this is the specialty or dept. for me but big props to those who want to take it on!!!