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Career Story: Psychiatric Nurse At A Community Hospital

Psychiatric Nurse At A Community Hospital

Job Title: Psychiatric Nurse

Type of Company: I work in a local community hospital.

Education: BS, Fitchburg State College (Fitchburg, MA)

Previous Experience: I have been a staff nurse at an in-patient psychiatric clinic, the administrative coordinator for a psychiatric unit and a per diem RN at a hospital's in-patient psych. unit.

Job Tasks: I work in an in-patient psychiatric unit as a Registered Nurse with patients who are 16 years old and older. I help them with problems such as major depression, chronic mental illness, and substance abuse. Nurses on my unit are responsible for teaching patients about their illnesses and their medications and managing their day-to-day needs. Nursing staff also assist with group meetings which help patients manage their illnesses and prepare for the outside world. The meetings are also meant to provide them with tools to help them succeed in life. Many of our patients struggle with both mental and physical problems: diabetes, asthma, and heart disease, to name a few.

Psychiatric nursing really provides an opportunity for using a multitude of nursing skills, and here it is not only important to manage the patients' physical needs but also provide for their mental well-being. Working in a community hospital gives you a chance to see the impact you have on the world outside your door.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The most wonderful part of being a psychiatric nurse has been the great opportunities I have been given to teach. Every patient comes in with different needs. Helping people and seeing the light come on for them and the hope to return in their eyes is great! What I struggle with is the trouble society seems to have according mental illness and addiction the same respect and dignity as cancer or diabetes.

Job Tips: It's important to explore all opportunities in nursing before deciding on which area you ultimately would like to work. The wonderful thing is that part of your education includes internships which provide you with the chance to see what it's like to work in that area, whether it be labor and delivery, general surgical or out-patient. There are also different degrees available. You can get an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. You also can explore a full-time or part-time program.

Additional Thoughts: I think nursing is a great opportunity for many people. It is an occupation which can have you at the bedside or at the doctor's office. It also offers the chance to go forward with your education if you so desire. It also offers flexible work schedules.

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