27 February 2023

how to be a psychiatric nurse

Not much has changed,
It seems, in Psychiatric Nursing 
Since like the 1950s. 
It can be a real Snake Pit. 
What has changed, is that 
We’re moving away from 
Old Institutions- with indefinite stays. 
The stigma is being challenged. 

Psych Nurses wear street clothes 
Usually- I worked adolescent psych
When Kurt Cobain killed himself. 
I worked so much it was “crazy “!

In the Mid Century, Doctors 
Thought they had it right. 
All new treatments, medicines.  
But now, those things seem barbaric. 
Most of those first-generation 
drugs are now discontinued. 

John Nash, mathematician 
(A Beautiful Mind)
Is seen here receiving Insulin Shock. 
They inject large amounts of insulin, 
The patient goes into a coma,
And glucose is given to revive them. 
It’s often used with ETC
Electric Shock Therapy. 

The Frontal Labotomy  
is never used nowadays. 
Thank goodness. 
Wikipedia say this era represented 
“The moribund and demoralized 
psychiatric profession at the time.”
The Glory Days of the Sanatorium. 

What the hell did this ever accomplish?
My first “real job” was at Timberlawn
Psychiatric Hospital. Here in Dallas. 
Every summer until I was old
 enough to be a Nurse Aide. (18)

I worked in Medical Records 
I worked in a literal basement,
Re-jacketing the old charts from the 1800s
And early 1900s. Cool history. 

People want their loved ones home. 
Placement is falling out of favor. 
Except for short term stays 
And emergency situations. 

Lots of new drugs. 
Anti-anxiety meds,
Lots of side effects, most mild. 
It’s interesting to note that most
Psychotropic drugs are only
tested for a few weeks. Or months. 
Yet, many people stay on them for decades. 

Then, there is “Dual Diagnosis”
Which is a chemical addiction 
Coupled with a chronic psychiatric condition. 
The gentle idea is that people are 
Looking for a way to self-soothe. 
And they get into all kinds of drugs. 
And why not? If doctors can’t help,
People turn to anything that will. 

Regular Rehab is a good career option.
Lots of people just wanting to quit
And they don’t want to go Cold Turkey. 
Most people are there voluntarily. 

It’s definitely a reflection 
of how society is changing. 

Not too long ago, the DSM 2
(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)
-The Bible for psych - 
Listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. 
The transgender community used that model
To destigmatize and decriminalize 
Their perspective. 

Trends come and go in psych. 
Multiple Personality Disorder, 
Personality Disorders, 
BiPolar Disorder,
Suicidal Ideation,
Even Eating Disorders. 
Geri-Psych, Memory Care 

My heart goes here 
Because of the possibility of change. 
We’re poised to make a difference. 
Will this be the generation 
Who finally embraces change? 

Psych Nursing is real Team Nursing
You’ll never walk alone when you’re 
On a psych ward. Amen. 

1 comment:

  1. It’s definitely not a cure all. But a good diet with fewer carbs, a lifestyle with sun, movement, and better support - well- it can’t hurt to aid healing. Even Serenity.


I would love to hear from you!