has anyone had this experience or known someone who has?

  1. I am currently in an 8 week psych rotation for lecture/clinicals. A very good friend of mine is with me in clinicals, and is having a difficult time with psych. She was raped twice and sexually molested once (all as a young teenager). She never told anyone except for her husband and myself. She is a straight A student and has always done well in clinicals. Well, in psych we have been seeing a lot of sexually abused or raped patients who are having major issues later in life. This is stirring all those emotions and experiences from her previous trauma up and she is not doing well in clinical at all. In fact, I think she will have to be placed on clinical probation. She realized that if she didn't ask for help that she was going to flunk clinical and be kicked out of school so she told the student health nurse who has her going to counseling. Employee assistance program. The instructors don't know her situation of course because that may cause them to to be unfair to the other students. So, she will be assigned to any patient regaurdless of their background. As a nurse, she won't be able to pick and choose her patients. long term psych is comming up soon where she will likely be assigned to the perpetrators (sp?) of these crimes. Does anyone have any advice or tricks to get through this that I could help her with?
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    About june2009

    Joined: Mar '08; Posts: 345; Likes: 233
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 13 year(s) of experience in long-term-care, LTAC, PCU


  3. by   Jules A
    My gut reaction is that it won't be the particular patient that will cause her problems because that door is already open just by the sheer number of patients with historys of sexual trauma in psych nursing. Someone correct me if I am wrong but it would be highly unusual for a student to actually interview a patient with regard to their history of sexual trauma. She will be gathering most information from their charts and going home to compile it in the care plan, I would guess.

    Since she obviously hasn't dealt with her issues yet it is very natural they would come to the surface and I think being in counseling is a great start. Like you said however in real life she won't be able to pick her patients and must come to terms with all kinds of different conflicts that might surface so I guess now is as good a time as any.

    To me the clinical part of the psych rotation was really easy maybe it was because I enjoyed it but mostly it was talking to the patients and attending their groups, exams etc. We didn't have anyone, even the laziest students, flunk out of the clinical part of our psych rotation. Can you be more specific as to what she is or isn't doing that is causing her trouble with the instructors? Sending good, strong vibes her way and kudos to you for being such a concerned friend. Hang in there, both of you.
  4. by   Journey_On
    At the beginning of the semester, our psych instructor talked about self-awareness and how being in psych clinical may trigger some feelings in us, possibly related to things we have experienced. She said it was important to know who you are as a person and how you deal with stressful things in your life.

    I am sorry about your friend and how seeing some of these patients is triggering for her. I have a personal history of psych issues, and I was very curious to see how I would do in psych clinical this semester. I have been to therapy and been on medication in the past (but I think I could benefit from more therapy).

    I have been doing okay so far....but then again, I haven't been able to interact with people (whom I know for sure) have been through SA/rape yet (we've only done 2 weeks so far). In the past 5 years, I have grown up a lot and been through healing through therapy, trusted friends/adults, and my faith. I believe this is what gets me through.

    As for interacting with the perpetrators of those kinds of crimes, I would not know what to do because I haven't been in that kind of setting yet. I have forgiven the person who hurt me, but I honestly do not know how I would react seeing them in a psych setting. I think I would be interested in seeing what kind of therapy they go through, though.

    There might still be days where I feel triggered, but hopefully when those days come, I will be able to maintain my composure and help the person (and even use empathy to listen and interact with them).

    It is good that your friend is going to counseling now. People who have been sexually molested and/or raped have a lot of healing to go through, and it is good to work through this before you start actually working in the real world and potentially seeing these issues again. Your friend is fortunate to have a friend like you by her side during this. Please PM me if you have any more questions; I would be very happy to help.