There is no way to work as a psychiatric nurse on a psych ward of a mental hospital and not learn something about life.
I have met some of the strangest and most original individuals. When people find out where I have worked for the last 22 years, their mouths hangs open in awe. Most of the time the phrase, "I don't know how you do it" is mentioned, as they shake their heads.
Yes, psychiatric nursing is an incredibly interesting nursing career path. Still, there are things about working in a mental health institution that I don't like. You just have to bite your tongue and grit your teeth through it.
Mean spirited individuals who use their diagnosis of being mentally ill as an excuse to cling to.
The nursing staff often forget that the people they serve had a life before they arrived in the unit. They attended school, had some kind of home, have a mother, father, wife, husband, and/or children. When a new patient comes onto the unit, I always make sure to learn about who they are, not who the chart says they are. I want to know where they used to work, where they went to school, how many brothers and sisters they have, and whether they are married and/or have children. I realized that whenever I approach a patient as a person, rather than as a patient, they open up and let down the walls that they come in with. I get to peep inside of their lives for just a moment and that's the true essence of patient care.
My psychiatric patients have taught me a lot about life. I have not always liked working in chaos and in hazardous and dangerous situations, but I have always liked talking to the ones I meet. They have shown me that we are all one step away from the admission office when life hands us more than we can bare. They have taught me that just because I cannot see delusions and hallucinations doesn’t mean they are not real. They have taught me the feelings of real compassion for another human when they cannot help themselves. They have taught me that being with family is not always the safest place to be. At times, families hurt family members deeper than a stranger does.
As a psychiatric nurse, my life and my outlook towards nursing career has been changed by a mentally insane person. You can be changed too.