What sort of unit do you work in, and what is it like?

  1. Unit is the wrong word, but I couldn't think of another! Maybe site? Area, etc. You get the idea

    Basically, as a psychiatric nurse, where are you working? What's the environment like, how much time do you get to spend with your patients, how therapeutic do you find it?

    I'm currently working on an acute unit in the UK but moving to America, and wondering what sort of place would be best to look into.

    Reading some of the posts here has me a little concerned with how restrictive some places seem to be. I'm genuinely not sure if this is a cultural difference or it just depends on which kind of location you work in?

    Our unit is far from perfect (like, FAR ha) but I'd say I enjoy our ward. Patients wear their normal street clothes, they're allowed personal items, room searches are only conducted when there's a suspicion of drugs/weapons or when a patient has been deemed a risk to themselves/others. Patients eat with regular cutlery, make their own hot drinks and are allowed headphones/razors/other risk items within reason, though they need to sign them back into the office when done using them. We have regular groups running and patients typically get 1:1 time with a member of staff on each shift, if they want it.

    We're a 17 bed unit, mixed genders. We go through peaks and troughs; at the moment it's quite calm, but toward the end of last year we had a horrible few months of having half our patients on enhanced observations, seclusion, assaults, etc.

    We do of course have a lot of people come in with self-harming/suicidal behaviours and violent tendencies anyway, but these tend to be addressed on an individual basis rather than with blanket enforcement of rules.

    I'm a bit worried that I'm too soft to come to America, and work in a place that is maybe more restrictive to patients. Although I understand the safety aspect (having been punched in the face yesterday, lol), some of the posts seem to describe places that are more prison-like and less person centred or therapeutic.

    Anyway I've rambled on enough so please tell me where you work and what it's like
    Last edit by LilaDavis on May 25
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    About LilaDavis

    Joined: Jan '17; Posts: 32; Likes: 7

    6 Comments

  3. by   RNdh
    I work in a hospital. We have 45 beds, 10 on the geriatric wing, 17 on the mood disorder wing, and 18 on the double-locked thought disorder wing. We have groups throughout the day and all patients are assigned to a nurse or tech, although the nurses are responsible for all patients on their wing. We do thorough contraband checks on admission and whenever necessary. Most patients are allowed plastic cutlery, but some are given finger food only. All patients are allowed to wear street clothes, as long as the clothing is appropriate.

    Patients are allowed to shave only with supervision. If the census is full, we get to spend lot of time with the patients. If we are not full, we are usually busy with admissions and have very little time for 1:1 sessions. I work night shift, so we have about 3 hours to talk with the patients before lights out.
  4. by   Erindel RN
    Quote from RNdh
    I work in a hospital. We have 45 beds, 10 on the geriatric wing, 17 on the mood disorder wing, and 18 on the double-locked thought disorder wing. We have groups throughout the day and all patients are assigned to a nurse or tech, although the nurses are responsible for all patients on their wing. We do thorough contraband checks on admission and whenever necessary. Most patients are allowed plastic cutlery, but some are given finger food only. All patients are allowed to wear street clothes, as long as the clothing is appropriate.

    Patients are allowed to shave only with supervision. If the census is full, we get to spend lot of time with the patients. If we are not full, we are usually busy with admissions and have very little time for 1:1 sessions. I work night shift, so we have about 3 hours to talk with the patients before lights out.
    this is very similar to my unit. i work on an 18 bed unit. runs similar in fashion, same rules to the above poster and the OP. I am just so burnt out with psych though, time to move on. my unit is medical psych. we have a lot of adults with behaviors. we see a lot of end of life dementia patients that have behaviors, it is like we babysit them all day and all hell breaks loose when they sundown. I would rather just deal with the young addicts honestly. I hope to be out of psych by the end of 2018.
  5. by   FolksBtrippin
    I work in the community on an act team. I visit patients in their homes, the library, mcdonalds, wherever. If my patients are in the hospital, I visit them there.

    It's completely different than working in the hospital.

    I used to work inpatient psych and I found it restrictive but not as bad as some folks describe here. We were the highest level of care so there were restraints, seclusions, IMs. Patients wore street clothes (that's a right). We had groups. Patients could shave at designated times with supervision. But in some ways it felt like a prison, and in fact a lot of our nurses also worked in the prison nearby.

    That was not for me.
  6. by   Erindel RN
    Quote from FolksBtrippin
    I work in the community on an act team. I visit patients in their homes, the library, mcdonalds, wherever. If my patients are in the hospital, I visit them there.

    It's completely different than working in the hospital.

    I used to work inpatient psych and I found it restrictive but not as bad as some folks describe here. We were the highest level of care so there were restraints, seclusions, IMs. Patients wore street clothes (that's a right). We had groups. Patients could shave at designated times with supervision. But in some ways it felt like a prison, and in fact a lot of our nurses also worked in the prison nearby.

    That was not for me.
    How do you like working on an act team? Im looking into this as a possible new move. Im tired of inpatient psych.
  7. by   SeasonedTech
    Our psych unit is about the same. Except only electric razors can be checked out and used. No strings on hoodies and no belts. No glass cups, all cutlery must be counted after meals. That type of thing. It's a very nice facility, very therapeutic staffed by the best! I love it!
  8. by   umbdude
    Quote from Erindel RN
    How do you like working on an act team? Im looking into this as a possible new move. Im tired of inpatient psych.
    Look at where your patients often get discharged to and where they get their psych/therapy services after d/c from hospitals. There are usually human services organizations that offer ACT-liked services along with other services for those with addictions and developmental disabilities.

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