So….I see, it’s been about 2 1/2 months since I last posted here…not so good huh?
I apologize..not because I think anyone out there is hanging on my every word, but because I hate to start something, and then let it fall by the wayside. I am actively working as a nurse, which is the main problem, and my shifts/life are keeping me from…well, keeping up!
As the title says, I wanted to say a few words about Psychiatric nursing. It is still carrying the stigma of the past, and is a very under-rated profession. I find that Psych. nurses do not get the recognition they deserve when nursing is discussed, and I hesitate to say this…as I know some will not agree, or won’t want to admit it, but nurses in other fields tend to almost look down on Psych. nurses…like we’re not ‘real nurses’.
Yes, gasp…it’s true! These nurses (and I know it doesn’t mean all nurses), think we just sit around and talk all day about delusions, and the “voices in your head”…and we know nothing about bedside care. We just deal with the mind? Not so…we deal with the whole human being, mind body and soul…just like you…maybe more so than you.
Our patients have usually been on psychiatric meds. for many years, they take a toll on physical health, and not only do these drugs create physical side-effects, but this population does not care whether they eat themselves into conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and obesity that causes complaints of S.O.B., bad knees, back etc. They also smoke as a rule, and this as you all know causes a multitude of physical illnesses, plus they may also have drug/alcohol dependencies…the list is endless. We’ve had to pack ulcer cavities, run I.V.’s, deal with SARS, clean up vomit/diarrhea, etc. etc.
So, before I make a long story longer…Psych. nurses deal with the mental illnesses of our clients (I hate that word btw, and prefer ‘patients’, but I’ll be PC here!), but increasingly we are dealing with physical health issues as our population ages.
The ward I work on has age groups from 20 yrs. old to up to 65 yrs. and all kinds of diagnoses, both genders, and we deal with physical health issues on a daily basis. It’s part of nursing in general hospitals, and yes…it’s part of Psychiatric nursing.
I have taken patients/clients to general hospitals many time over the years, and I have been dismayed at the off-hand treatment our clients, (and usually the nurse accompanying them) have received, while waiting for care, and during same. Quite often we have been left waiting and waiting, despite reminders from the Psych. nurse that “we are still here”, and it’s only when the client begins to get anxious/angry that we are taken care of (our clients don’t always understand the wait process!). Sometimes nurses in general hospitals forget that our clients may be high-functioning, have feelings, and can answer questions… and speak to the nurse accompanying as if our client isn’t even present! Don’t feel too bad, I’ve had doctors do the same thing!
So, I’ll step off the soap-box now, I hope I’ve made my point.
I recently went to the States, and was visiting a relative in a general hospital, and noticed they had a bulletin board filled with lovely cards that they had received in thanks for their good work!
Well, I thought that was great…but it got me thinking, on my ward we don’t need a bulletin board for Thank You cards, as we get so few. I know we do good work, and often we get a patient well, and see them again 1-2 months later after they’ve gone off their meds. and decompensated quickly, and we have to start all over again! We work hard to get our patients ready to re-enter the community, and fight to keep them there with follow up, but sometimes you’re fighting a losing battle, and that’s the frustration of Psychiatric Nursing. It’s a challenge every day. We get sworn at assaulted and feel unappreciated a lot of the time, but we keep on going…it’s a very tough type of nursing, and only the strong can go the distance.
But…when we do get a reward, a kind word, it means so much…most of our “thanks”, is verbal and it counts too don’t get me wrong. However, a thoughtful card with a personal note that you can pin on a board, or put in a scrapbook is something to look back on and remember.
We’ve had the odd card that got thrown out, and now I wish we’d kept them…but when they’re infrequent you don’t think of it. At Christmas time we get chocolates and cookies from one or two families…and I know I sound like I’m whining…but compared to other nursing disciplines, we don’t get the recognition we truly deserve.
I made some nursing cards the other day, and I’m going to work on making some specifically for Psychiatry. I have a few funny ones, but I also need to pay respect to Psychiatric Nurses everywhere, and make a line of cards that say what (in my rambling way), I’m saying here.
That’s on the agenda…oh where to find the time?
Here is my latest nurse appreciation card to all disciplines…I hope you like it.