Psychiatric nursing is a diverse, challenging but exciting profession. I expect to receive adequate and meaningful training in psychiatric mental health nursing as I set forth to achieving a lifetime ambition-becoming a psychiatric nurse. In the course of my training, I hope to acquire hands-on experience by attending to mentally ill patients. I expect to go through my training successfully, qualify as an-all-round nurse and obtain accreditation from the relevant bodies. Later, I shall provide comprehensive, patient-centered psychiatric and mental health care. Moreover, I hope to evaluate the outcomes of treatments in a variety of settings across the entire scale of care.
An eyewitness account early in my life aroused my interest in psychiatric, mental health nursing. As a 13-year old, walking with my dad, I once saw a man who looked dirty and unkempt lying on a mat on a street pavement. Two people came and grabbed him; he resisted, screamed and furiously threw punches at them. Though he injured one of the men slightly, he was eventually cornered and taken away. I asked my dad what was wrong with the person and, he told me that the person was probably mentally sick. I was puzzled and questioned him a lot on the issue. Dad simply told me that the man was dangerous and, I should never go near such people in the future.
As I sought to satisfy my curiosity on mental sickness, I bumped into “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-DSMIV” in a library. Reading the DSMIV enlightened me a lot. I learnt that heightened anxiety was a common, mild symptom in most of the mental illnesses. I also learnt that when people seem to like some things too much, they might be suffering mentally from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I wondered whether people take note when their family members become mentally sick. I was moved by the real-life stories of mentally sick people and decided that I would become a nurse and serve among other patients, the mentally sick.
During this semester, I hope to learn on how to handle mental patients, offer them comprehensive care and evaluate their progress. I hope to get well acquainted with the evolution of psychiatric nursing as a nursing specialty, its levels of practice, current clinical practices and trends among other pertinent issues relating to the mental well-being of humans. I also hope to learn about the challenges stakeholders in Psychiatric mental health nursing are facing and what is being done to address the challenges. Moreover, I hope to gain knowledge and get challenged by past and on-going research in psychiatric nursing. This will engage my intellectual faculties and present me with an opportunity to contribute to the advancement of psychiatric, mental health through research. To this end, I expect to team up with like-minded colleagues and obtain utmost assistance from dedicated and competent lecturers.
My fears and concerns on the issue of psychiatric, mental health nursing stems from the fact that severe mental illnesses are usually accompanied by erratic moods and becoming irritable. I still remember the man I saw as a 13-year old throwing punches and screaming. As an aspiring nurse, I fret to imagine myself alone in a room with such a man. I hope that the issue of handling mentally sick people shall be adequately covered. Fueled by the passion I have for my profession, I personally hope to overcome this fear with time.
My biggest concern is in the low levels of awareness on mental illness among many people. Misconceptions and ridicule abound on issues relating to mental health. The terms “crazy” and “mad” have found use in many a conversation with few people appreciating the fact that mental illnesses are serious but treatable. Professionals in psychiatry need to educate the public that mental illnesses are not character faults but are instead a complex combination of genetic and environmental issues that the individual in question has little if any control over.
Having taken an interest in mental sickness from a tender age, I have my mind set on learning more about Psychiatric mental health nursing. Reading the DSMIV and other literature relating to mental health has taught me to view mental illness just like any other illness. I have learnt that though mental illnesses require more evaluation, follow-up and therapy, they are undoubtedly treatable and, one can gain full recovery and live a normal life.
As I delve into learning about psychiatric nursing, I seek answers to a myriad of questions, key among them are:
1. What is the relationship between psychiatric disorders and health-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, drug-use and alcohol disorders?
2. What are the symptoms of psychiatric illnesses among infants and what is the impact of environment on the psychiatric well-being of an infant?
3. What are the legal policies governing psychiatric, mental health nursing and are they adequate to look into the plight of mentally ill people?