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Psych Nursing prior to 1980

Psychiatric   (1,332 Views 5 Comments)
by colrainrn colrainrn (New Member) New Member

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Are there any members who worked in Psych units prior to 1980. Id love to here stories of how things have changed through the years.

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1,343 Posts; 5,653 Profile Views

There was a whole lot more ECT and there was Thorazine. Now we have lots more med choices.

There were wet sheets and Insulin shock therapy back then, too.

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drmorton2b has 2 years experience and specializes in Sub-Acute/Psychiatric/Detox.

253 Posts; 6,867 Profile Views

Can't forget the MAOIs, and no Prozac. Or Atypical Psych drugs. Just the Thorazines and Haldol types.

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177 Posts; 2,582 Profile Views

Lordy, you guys crack me up. The l980's- the "middle ages' or something akin.

Okay here goes... I think I might start listing some of the positives:

In good treatment facilities, there were:

1. Actual treatment plans (not the bogus ones requested by the insurance programs!). For example, pt. was given a choice of therapeutic work, be it in the large garden, the thrift shop, or some other disciplined activity.

2. A few exercise programs.

3. art therapy and dance therapy with licensed providers

4. Group therapy typically twice a week

5. Stays that lasted beyond 4 days so a person could actually be helped

6. RNs with actual training that "contracted' to talk with the patient at least 15 minutes a night.

Alrighty folks-pre-1970:

1. State hospitals that actually had farms.

2. Student nurses slept on "campus"-at the state hospital

3. Nurses wore white dresses and gasp- a cap and their pin. THOUGH-on the more "advanced" family unit where family therapy was encouraged, nurses started wearing street clothes!

4. Volunteers from the local colleges came to work with adolescents to help them maintain ties with their schools. (That was what I did). One could also work on the geriatric ward and do music(That was what I did). There was more activity for the seniors than there is in the better of the LTC settings.

5. Doctors and nurses sat in the SAME conferences and lectures... gasp

I can tell you what I see in the local "university" based psych unit TODAY. Same anti-psychotic shuffle (albeit sans Thorazine). Virtually no-one talking with the pt. Zero and I mean zero recreation room. Certainly no art/music therapist. The psych unit was converted from a med-surg unit. Discharge planning can mean discharge to just about anywhere. Yep they now do a drug screen. ECT is far less. And as y'all know, many of the psychiatrically ill are now housed in jail.

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