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Postpartum?

Nurses   (226 Views | 6 Replies)

LibraNurse27 has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

3,111 Profile Views; 191 Posts

Hi all, just wondering if any postpartum nurses can share about their experience. For 4 years I have worked in Stepdown at a county hospital. I love my patients and hands on skills but the stress of dealing with behaviors has been getting me down. Many of our patients are altered from substances, psychosis or dementia. Daily we deal with (as I'm sure many of you do) physical and verbal assaults, threats, noncompliance etc. I do not fault the patients for their behaviors as they are not in their right mind but it is hard to deal with.

I have bipolar disorder and many of the patients who come in for substance related issues and suicide attempts also have bipolar disorder, so it is discouraging. I have also suffered multiple sexual assaults and become upset when I have to hold down female patients for Foleys. This week I did one on a developmentally delayed girl who was screaming "Why are you doing this to me?!" while we held her legs apart. I left the room crying. I am not stressed by being busy or having sick patients, only dealing with behaviors.

Does anyone think postpartum would be better? At my facility I heard there can still be behaviors from moms who are altered from drugs, come from jail, have psych diagnoses and get violent if their babies are taken away. But it is not as frequent as on my floor. Also I wouldn't be getting hit by large men withdrawing from alcohol/meth and it is a more happy environment. I have dealt with postpartum emergencies such as pre-eclampsia and fetal demise and handled it well. Any advice is SUPER appreciated. Thanks for listening.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

4 Followers; 2,761 Posts; 11,365 Profile Views

45 minutes ago, LibraNurse27 said:

 I have also suffered multiple sexual assaults and become upset when I have to hold down female patients for Foleys. This week I did one on a developmentally delayed girl who was screaming "Why are you doing this to me?!" while we held her legs apart. I left the room crying. I am not stressed by being busy or having sick patients, only dealing with behaviors.

You are so supremely brave, and I am a little in awe of your ability to process that this situation is chipping at your well-being. Also that's a crappy policy to hold people down (and I have no better solution, I know they're altered or otherwise unable to understand but I don't think I could do it and I have no unresolved trauma). 

 I have no advice for you but I am on your side and I will relentlessly cheer you on! Best of luck.

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LibraNurse27 has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

191 Posts; 3,111 Profile Views

Thank you SO much for saying that. I often think I am just being a baby so thank you for the validation and encouragement, that is so nice of you!

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372 Posts; 1,920 Profile Views

I haven't worked PP for many years but yes, it's generally a much happier place...when babies aren't screaming and Moms aren't crying! Lol.  There's lots of emotions there what with hormones, lack of sleep and Moms who don't know about babies, but there's a chance to do so much education and to see Moms become comfortable in a short period of time.  You will occasionally have to insert catheters and it's uncomfortable for most women because of all the swelling down there (unless scheduled CS) but it isn't often.  There's lots of education to be done so if you don't like that it's not a good area.  And the babies are fun!  Go for it!

Edited by Elaine M

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LibraNurse27 has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

191 Posts; 3,111 Profile Views

Thanks for the encouragement! I love patient education but a little nervous because I don’t have kids and have advised never to become pregnant due to psych meds not being safe during pregnancy, hormones triggering psychosis and high chance of passing the bipolar disorder to a baby. I don’t know how to breastfeed but I have babysat a lot! Hopefully I could still learn about newborn care and what postpartum women should expect and still be able to educate and support.

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372 Posts; 1,920 Profile Views

I didn't know any of that stuff either when I worked my first PP job.  I had worked level 2 NICU for 2 years so I knew how to change diapers and feed babies, but we rarely helped Moms breastfeed and I didn't have kids.  Trust me, you'll learn!  

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LibraNurse27 has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown.

191 Posts; 3,111 Profile Views

That is very reassuring. Thanks again!

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