question about a possible job in mental health facility


There is an agency willing to hire new grads and they mainly work with mental health facilities. The particular facility that they are hiring for right now is for clients with down syndrome. I am wondering what my nursing duties would be in a facility like this. Anyone know?

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

It could be anything. Probably lots of medical things as well as anything else you could imagine. I think only the facility could give you the information you need.

I've worked in a facility that had a unit for developmentally disabled patients who were behavior problems and/or had psychiatric disorders. There was true danger there, both for the patients and for the staff.

Get lots of info from the facility before you sign up.


852 Posts

Specializes in none.

I agree. I have worked some years with these type of patients. Be ready for anything from highly aggressive to docile. It could very rewarding, also very dangerous. Have you assessment skills and bedside nursing down pat. Also a little imagination can help. I was working on unit with all deaf, blind, and speechless patients. How did the nurse tell them that it was time for Meds? He taught them to open their month when he touched their foreheads. Behavior problems? Speak gently to them. Follow the Aides they know the patients best.


199 Posts

You could contact the HR department & ask if they will provide you with the job description and responsibilities. And Whispera is correct - there can be lots of danger in a position like that. Good luck to you!


587 Posts

I worked (long ago) at Ridge Home. They had a unit for ill or very fragile patients They were mostly children up to 20 years old. (most terribly contracted with fragile bones. They mostly had trach care and peg tube feeds and liquid meds. It was very easy work. I worked alongside the aides who knew them well, many had worked therefor ten or more years. Illness was interesting among this population. I had one pt with a high temp and the MD told me to give him an enema. I thought "what the h#$" but went ahead and did so, one very large about a softball size, and perfectly round BM later, I checked his temp and it was normal. I shrugged my shoulders and said well I'll be dam#$@ if he wasn't right. We rarely sent the patients out, just gave antibiotics (oral). Lets see what else, some were alert and would stand up in their cribs and want to be played with and held. One was just beautiful and tiny (heart and thyroid issues) She would wake up at night and run down the halls laughing as we followed here. Couldn't speak more than one or two words, but everone could understand her. She was in her late teens but looked four.

One had such severe seizures they had to use an old old drug called paraldeyde, it smelled horrible. One had to be moved by three people, she as a new born had hydrocephalus that was never treated, One supported the head while we changed or repositioned her. Her body was small and her head the size of a basketball, it was tragic and horrifying and I wondered why God let these souls linger. I read the charts when I worked nights and found perfectly normal children with a near drowning, one became very ill after a routine childhood imunization, one was was a heart surgery, the pt. coded on the table. I had worked at childrens hospital and cared for many infants and children who had heart surgery, never saw a complication, never even considered it could happen. That's pretty much my experience. I enjoyed it, but never wanted to go back once my contract ended (about a year.)

Specializes in Forensic Psychiatric Nursing. Has 3 years experience.

Never go into a room with a patient alone. Never allow yourself to be alone in the facility with that kind of patient. Don't shake hands, hug, kiss, or otherwise allow those patients to be in that kind of close proximity to you.

I wouldn't allow an MR/DD patient to have anything sharper than a Nerf ball if they were in the same room with me, and I wouldn't be in a room... let's just clarify that and say that this pertains to a patient's bedroom, the day room, the kitchen, the front yard, a day trip, anything and everywhere.

That may sound cold, but I've seen what happens when things go wrong.