Acute Adolescent Psych

  1. Hey Psych Nurses
    I am currently working as a psych nurse is an acute adult unit mainly specializing in schizophrenia/psychosis disorders. I am going to soon be making the switch into an acute adolescent unit. Any adolescent psych nurses here? Any word of advice? I shadowed for a few hours in the evening/night (I'll be working night shift). I'm not going to lie, I'm a little nervous working with this population because I've never worked with patients under 18. Any advice working with this age group (13-17)?
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    About kingvonnBSN2017, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 202; Likes: 121


  3. by   Heylove
    I work on an 18-bed adolescent psych unit, part of a 100-bed acute psychiatric hospital.

    Some advice that comes to mind is be prepared to hear "are you new?" The patients who have been in the facility before form bonds with the nurses and will able to spot you as new-to-the-unit. Be prepared to re-enforce unit rules and absolutely shut down any attempts to staff-split. Recognize that the true incidence of mental disorders is less frequent in this population but will be almost obvious to spot when you do see them. Be very familiar with the unit rules regarding restraints, holds, seclusion, and observation, as they may be different from the adult units.

    As far as night shift on an adolescent unit...oh boy. You will only have a few hours to get your assessments done and medications passed before they "should" be going to bed. They may be tired by bedtime, or they may be bouncing off the walls. Be prepared with a "toolbox" of ideas or activities to keep patients occupied when they can't sleep, want company, someone to talk to or are just bored.

    I absolutely love my patient population and honestly couldn't be happier doing anything else at this point in my career. Have fun!
  4. by   Heylove
    I also just remembered...make sure you know what is involved regarding consent for medications on your adolescent unit. I have noticed that this has been a major issue for nurses that float from adult units to adolescent. We require consent from the parents/guardian for some medications but not others. You can just imagine how this has potential to cause problems.

    Also, I'm just curious if your unit is 12 or 8 hour shifts?