Hello everyone! I am a relatively new nurse (graduated May '08) who until a few weeks ago was working in the Neuroscience unit of a large teaching hospital. I got great clinical experience on my high-acuity and fast paced unit. Prior to my nursing career, I was a corrections officer for 7 1/2 years. I made the switch for a few reasons: 1) my back wasn't handling the lifting and turning of large adult patients very well (I was injured while employed as a C/O), and 2) I wanted my awesome state benefits back (NY's retirement and medical are pretty damn good- I didn't realize how good until I got a job in the private sector). I now am in the middle of orientation in a state-run mental health hospital.
I am finding it very frustrating that many of the things that I routinely did as a hospital nurse is now "off limits" as a psych nurse- we don't even do a head-to-toe physical nursing assessment
upon admission!! I'm told that those duties are the provence of the med clinic, and not my job. I see so many holes in the medical care of the patients, and feel strapped. A few of the nurses share my view that RNs should be able to do everything it is that we are trained and LICENCED to do, while some take the route that they don't want to have to bother with it. I thought as nurses we were supposed to take care of the WHOLE person, not just one facet! If someone has medical issues in addition to psych issues, they why aren't we addressing both on the unit instead of merely writing out a med clinic referral and passing it along to the med doctor?
Is it the same in other inpatient psych hospitals, or is NY just way behind the times?
Does anyone have any advice for a transitioning nurse like myself?
BTW- I am SO glad that I did hospital nursing right out of school instead of psych! I think it was really important that I refined my clinical skills and learned to deal with major medical emergencies before working in this kind of setting. I like working with this patient population, but again, I just feel that my practice is so limited!!!
Apr 26, '09
I am sorry that you are finding frustration in your new job, having privileges and then having then taken away can be really difficult.
Are your patients not being medically cleared before they are being placed on your unit??? Within the facility I work, all patients must be cleared by medical before they come to us and then we do assessments as issues arise. Pt. c/o abdominal pain we begin assessing them specifically for that. I know it probably seems like we could be missing a lot of stuff by not doing a full assessment Qshift but the majority of patients who come through our doors are not having the physical concerns you see in a med-surg setting. The ones that are presenting more medically complicated we do assessments and keep a close eye on. I have to say with your background in which you were required to do full assessment you will find yourself that much more equipt for whatever comes your way in psych.
One thing that makes me sad is how we loose a lot of our skills because we become so far removed from the typical med-surg cases. I would have to bet the majority of nurses that I currently work with are not able to correctly read an EKG strip.... while we rarely see cardiac patients its important to keep up on your skills for when the few and far between walk in your door.
Last edit by SweetLemon on Apr 26, '09