Day 19 of my Acute Care placement, my second night on the Mental Health Ward, my last Afternoon shift of placement, and the start of my last Late-Early swing for placement. The afternoon was similar to yesterday, quiet, controlled, and so much different to what I have experienced thus far. The advantage I had tonight was the company of a 40 year veteran of Psychiatric Nursing as my RN for the shift.
I began the evening going through the charts, identifying the medication times, any physical observations that needed to be completed, additional notes left over from handover and any other nursing interventions that needed to be completed. Once I had the plan, we went around the ward and introduced ourselves to the consumer we would be looking after, had a discussion about what the different consumers habits, conditions and medication requirement were, then returned to the nurses station to attend paperwork. So far I have noticed that Mental Health is far more paperwork intensive then the other wards. Everything is document, re-documented and then have a progress note written about it. It is laborious and time consuming, but I am starting to realise that it is necessary.
I had the opportunity this afternoon to have a one on one chat with one of the consumers to assess their mental state, mood and general thoughts. Their diagnosis was OCD and Depression, and the conversation the we had very much pointed to that. What wasn’t documented well was the level of anxiety, it is centred around uncertainty with situation and the unease of their normal Psychiatrist being away. Their coping mechanism for OCD is currently to simply avoid, though there is no indication that the consumer has any other methods of dealing with their OCD. I felt comfortable conversing with them, I felt like to conversation was small talk loosely veiled over the questions I needed to have answered. The difficult part about the whole process is, Mental Health is all about report and relationship, I am in Mental Health for four shifts. Then I am gone. How much report can one build with a consumer in such a short time, specially when the level of exposure to mental health up to this point has been minimal.
I am enjoying my time in Mental Health because it is so different from what I have done previously. I can see why some people find it comfortable, appealing or suitably challenging enough for it to become a career. Do I think I am at that point, time will tell. I have two more shift, the first being at 0700 Friday, so maybe something will change, or I will become super aware of Mental Health and how I can fit into it. But for now, I think that the exposure I am getting is only sufficient enough to know roughly how the ward works.
Maintain the Rage