Too short for psych?

Nursing Students General Students


I am a very short female who wants to get into psychiatric nursing. Does anyone know of any short psychiatric nurses and does their height (or lack of it) effect them working ie with restraining people etc?

Hi. I'm not sure what you're calling short, but I am somewhat vertically challenged too. I'm petite, 5'3" and female. I've worked lots of psych though and if the takedowns are well planned, with enough staff, you should be safe. Sometimes though, even the best laid plans will go astray! The big problem I've encountered though seems to be unsafe staffing for the acuity of patients. Some units use the hospital security and free standing units sometimes use the police for assistance, as well as male nurses and/or male mental health techs; just depends on the unit policy. Most facilities have a Mr Armstrong code that is called for dangerous situations, where all available assist comes in a jiffy, STAT. it may be called something different depending on where you work. Hope this helps.

PPL thanks for your advice - best wishes for the future.

I am a short, small psych. nurse! No, it doesn't matter. In the event you must apply restraints, there MUST be several staff present (preferably larger than us!) and hopefully you will have enough time to plan your strategy (who does what). Also, with experience, many times you begin to know the impending symptoms that could lead to a behavior management event, and by that time you will know some ways to prevent this from happening. I wish you good luck. I think you will really like this field! I certainly do!

I'm working in a small psych facility as a tech while I go through LPN school. Its a small unit w/ one RN and three techs. It's our job (not the nurse's) to handle the situations where it gets physical - the nurses don't get involved at all except to give the shot once the patient is in restraints or otherwise under control.

If the nurse on duty happens to be a large male, he will sometimes help out but it's primarily the responsibility of the techs. I work with one RN who is a petite woman in her 70's - she does just fine and I'm sure you can too!

How well you fare in psych nursing settings will not be a result of your physical size, but your attitude and relationships with the patients. If you have the clinical/communication skills and convey a sense of confidence that you are able to handle whatever situation arises, you will be successful as a psych nurse.

It is always preferable to be able to defuse a situation and have a "peaceful" outcome rather than end up restraining someone, so it's much more important to be good at resolving patient conflicts and agitation without things "getting physical." And, as other posters have noted, restraining someone is a group activity anyway -- you should have plenty of help, or you shouldn't be doing it.

Best wishes!

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