I work in a juvenile residential treatment facility for youth with drug and alcohol addictions and pysch issues. I felt I had found my calling when I was working on my psych rotation during nursing school. I never wanted to be a hospital floor nurse. There are days I wish I had the medical background of a hospital floor nurse. But for the most part our kids are healthy.
I pass a lot of meds. Do blood draws and take care of patients with diabetes. I do intake assessments. I patch up kids after they have gotten into fights, and I take care of their injuries from the gym. Sometimes we have kids who return from surgery. I don’t get to practice many “nursing skills” but I have yet to have to clean up any bodily fluids. I am learning the art of therapeutic communication though. I do hand out a fair share of bandaids, crackers and water.
Most days I love my job. I truly enjoy working with the kids and seeing them progress in our program. Then there are days when someone is DTO/DTS and life on the unit becomes pretty stressful. Sometimes they will just go up and down the halls kicking and punching walls, yelling and knocking over trash cans. When we cannot get them to de-escalate we have to put the kids into a CPI hold. Sometimes this activity sets off other kids on the unit. When we have to put a kid into a CPI hold it is hard on everyone. They kick, scream, cry, yell, spit and try to bite the staff. While injuries to staff are not that common, they do sometimes happen.
I love the moments when I feel like I might have made a difference, even a small one. I have comforted kids who were missing their parents because CPS took them out of the home. I have given compliments to many girls who have never had positive reinforcement from anyone. One girl told me that no-one had ever said anything good about her and her face lit up when I complemented her. A big part of my job is role modeling appropriate behavior.
I am new to psych nursing but I hope this gives you a picture of what I deal with on a daily basis. Most of our kids have been kicked around, beaten down, homeless and neglected. They just need someone who cares enough to help them through the hard times. I try to make each one of them feel valuable.