Good afternoon folks! I'm a senior nursing student who had her first day of class today. As our clinical rotation worked out, I have my first day of Mental Health clinical TOMORROW, and haven't had any kind of lecture/preparation at all. I'm super nervous. I've always been super interested in critical care. I've worked as a tech on our Progressive Care Unit and in ICU for the last five years. Before I even got into nursing school, I knew I was afraid of the mental health portion. I'm very uncomfortable having face to face conversations with ANYONE and feel like having no mental health knowledge prior is going to hurt me in this situation.
I was wondering if anyone who has been in this field for a while has any tips or tricks on how to have those crucial conversations. I'm so afraid I'm going to say the wrong thing to someone or not know what to say at all. I have an enormous amount of respect for nurses in this field and was hoping someone had some insight for a total newbie.
Thanks so much in taking the time to read this. Have a good day!
Aug 29, '16
Just relax, breathe and let the conversation happen naturally. I'm doubting they will send you into do a full assessment on your first day. See where a light, pleasant conversation takes you. It will be fine, they are just people.
Aug 31, '16
Sorry I missed you by a day or so. But MrChicagoRN is right... breathe. Those of us that work here are good at what we do. Ask questions, we are happy to answer them. We LOVE what we do and love to share it with others. Just remember that your patients are normal people that often are going through a large life experience and are struggling with some simple coping skills. They are here to be plucked out of their situation and given breathing time to figure out how to deal with whatever ails them. They are your neighbors and school friends and family members.
No matter what field you decide to go in to, mental/behavioral health will be a part of it. Your patient is a whole being, and learning to have a conversation with them will be crucial everywhere.
Good luck and keep asking us questions. We are happy to help you get through this. I hope you have an amazing experience.
Sep 2, '16
I've worked in psych for 18 years. I had the same fears. If I ask them about suicidal ideation will that in some way move then to take some action. The answer is no. Many patients have been unable to speak with anyone about their feelings and welcome it. The best thing to do is establish a therapeutic relationship with them right away, accept them as they are. Read up on some of Hildegard Peplau's work on establishing a therapeutic relationship. Don't take any remarks personally. Maybe you will be assigned a patient who is not interested in any type of interaction with you. I have encountered that many times. Just remember mental illness is real illness. Treat your patient with respect and you will do ok. Joe
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