I went into nursing with the love of blood, guts, chest compressions, and an adrenalin rush. My focus was set on the emergency department. In the middle of that career path I got a job in an inpatient adult psychiatric unit. I struggled with this for a couple of years. I even worked part time in a local ED to satisfy my thirst for blood. However, for some reason I was devoted to psychiatry. Despite this devotion, I felt like this type of patient care was not real “nursing”. I wasn’t administering complex medications through an IV; I wasn’t watching monitors; I wasn’t on the code team and the only blood I saw was when I gave a shot.
I was doing my patient care through talking. Talking? I love to talk so this should be a great, but what do you say to someone that doesn’t want to be on this earth any longer? What do you say to someone that wants to be dead? I remember how difficult it first was to talk about suicide with a patient. I grew up with a mother that would whisper this word because it was something that was not openly talked about. Now several times a day I am talking about suicide and not even changing the tone on my voice! Once I realized that I was still a nurse and accepted that my career goals were changing, I found my comfort zone. I knew that I was in my element when I was mentioned in a suicide note (the patient didn’t die) for how caring I had been. Being mentioned in a suicide note was not my intention, but giving genuine, non-judgmental care was.
It has been reported that nursing is the most trusted profession. In my experience, this trust has no boundaries. I am a nurse that is trusted to listen to a patient’s inner most fears and to unconditionally help them find a hope or dream within those fears. I am trusted to care when a patient must face reality and confront the future. I am trusted to be the strong that they are lacking, the calm when they are anxious, and the happy when they are depressed.
I have always possessed the “gift of gab”, but now I have captured that gift and learned to use it to be an advocate, a caregiver, and above all: a psych nurse.
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