Psych Nursing: A unique field of nursing. - page 2

My car rolled to a stop at the curb about a half-block from Bev's group home; soft instrumental music filled the interior and cool air blew softly on my face as enjoyed the peacefulness of the... Read More

  1. by   Patti_RN
    Quote from Patti_RN
    “I am a nurse and the mother of a son with schizophrenia. It has been a long and heartbreaking task,which is still ongoing. I take care of his needs,but feel guilty I am not doing enough. He lives on his own,with me seeing him almost everyday. I worry about when I am gone,I am already 55 years old. His sister tries to help,but has a family ,full time job,etc. He is very resistive to a group home,what can I do? THANK YOU for everyone out there who does Psych nursing, I live it every day,work 11-7am in a state run vet home. THERESA GORTON LPN
    Hugs, Theresa. Guilt is a wasted emotion, but one few caring people can rid themselves of. Your son is lucky to have you, and lucky that you're in his life. I understand completely when people can't take the stress and heartbreak any longer and exclude their schizophrenic family member from their lives. The crazy behaviors, the delusions, the resistance to common sense are really hard to deal with. But, you've endured and stuck it out with him. I admire that tremendously--you have nothing to feel guilty about.

    There may be a time when he will need to go to a group home and it won't be his first choice, but it will keep him safe. And, in the end, that's our ultimate goal for our kids--keeping them safe in the world. As you know, life with a schizophrenic family member can be all consuming and sadly, no matter what you do or how much you do it, there is no magic formula.

    To those who have never lived it: schizophrenia is one of the cruelest illness in the world. Without warning, a young, bright, charming kid turns into a person you can no longer recognize or relate to. Medical illnesses rob us of our abiliities, but often strengthen our personalities, reinforce our relationships, and solidify our values. Mental illness destroys relationships, forces family members to make choices where none of the options are desirable, and it causes uninformed others to make unfair judgments and assumptions.

    To parahprase what a mother of a schizophrenic son once told me, "When my husband had cancer, we bonded as a family, and our friends and neighbors supported us. When my son's mental health spiraled downward, my entire support system disappeared--all that was left were those who criticized and gave me unhelpful advice."

    You're not alone, virtually every mom with a child with schizophrenia has similar stories and heartbreaks. Do you know of any support groups for family members?

    Theresa, I wish you and your son luck and all my best wishes. PM me if you're so inclined.
  2. by   grammasue7
    Well said! A great reminder of why I continue as a "psych" nurse (inpatient) even though I often overhear comments about how it isn't "real" nursing and we just "babysit the crazies". I also have several family members with mental health issues so I can empathize with my patient's and their families. Unfortunately it seems that many of the newer generation entering this area of nursing see only the diagnosis and forget that there is a human being with feelings and worth connected to the diagnosis. I intend to print your the story of "Bev" and put it on the message board in the break room at work with the hope that it will help improve the care and practice on our small impatient unit.
  3. by   amygarside
    This is a wonderfully written article. YOu are a blessing to the patients you care for.
  4. by   RJMerchant
    This was an amazing article to read. I have great interest in Psych Nursing but never got chance to pursue that path. You are a real nurse in true meaning. I hope Bev and other clients like her feel better and stay safe. This has brought my sister's memories back. May her soul rest in eternal peace
  5. by   BentleyJazzie
    I think I'm leaning towards psych nursing....
  6. by   cargalrn
    I enjoy psych nursing also. I work in a locked unit. When is ok to keep in contact with former patients? I have alot of questions on boundaries and ethics. Can anyone point me to a good source? Thank you for this article.
  7. by   Patti_RN
    Quote from cargalrn
    I enjoy psych nursing also. I work in a locked unit. When is ok to keep in contact with former patients? I have alot of questions on boundaries and ethics. Can anyone point me to a good source? Thank you for this article.
    The experience I wrote about involved community nursing and I had a very long professional association with many patients. My role while working in this capacity was to provide role modeling, positive reinforcement, and counseling. The patients saw us not only as professionals, but as friends. My continued relationship with patients was very rare, and continued as a volunteer nurse, with the knowledge and permission of the agency where I worked. Some patients have experienced multiple abandonments; parents, siblings, friends, and significant others often can't deal with the roller-coaster life of a seriously mentally ill family member and break ties with that person. This makes professional boundries particularly important, and sometimes particularly cruel. Having 'one more person' desert them can be devastating.

    It's hard not to become fond of some patients, in the same way a teacher is fond of some students. And, some vulnerable patients (like vulnerable students) may not only benefit from continued mentoring, but might be far worse off without it.

    I did work in a psych hospital at one time, but in that capacity I never continued contact with a patient after their discharge. In community nursing, the role seems somewhat blurred but it is still very much a professional relationship--and in the rare situations where that relationship is extended past the nurse's job change, transfer, etc., any continuation should be on a professional basis. Contact with patients should be exactly the same as it was when the nurse was employed (this makes it virtually impossible to continue a professional relationship with an inpatient). If you do wish to remain in contact with a patient, it should be done only with the blessing of the employer--that is probably the best test of whether or not doing so is appropriate.
  8. by   cargalrn
    Thanks much for your response. So, it depends. LOL. I know it can bite you in the butt, but why is a hospital different from communtity nursing?
  9. by   Patti_RN
    Quote from cargalrn
    Thanks much for your response. So, it depends. LOL. I know it can bite you in the butt, but why is a hospital different from communtity nursing?
    Where would you continue to visit with the patient? Very unlikely they would (or could) come back to a locked unit. Community mental health care nurses and social workers see patients in the community and the visits (while professional, patient-centered, and therapeutic) feel friendly and far less structured than in an office or hospital. My advice is to ask your supervisor; because you work in a locked unit it seems very unlikely such a request would be approved. There are strict professional, ethical boundaries with all patients, and as with other vulnerable people these boundaries are especially important. Remember, this is a lob sided relationship, and it must be patient-centered. We all wonder, "whatever happened to that patient...?", and probably more so with psych patients. But, other mental health professionals will continue serving them and their needs. The best closure is to warmly say goodbye when they're discharged, wish them well, then focus on the patients on your floor.
  10. by   Psychtrish39
    Patti_RN, You said it all about psych nursing. I too love it and the people and you are so right in the education you give others about what psych nursing is and is not. Bless you.