When I began nursing I was sure I would not enjoy the geriatric psych rotation as much as the others but.... the more I took care of those wonderful people the more I realized they were just like little children, the main difference being a body that was no longer cooperating and a mind that was too tired to function.
They require the same TLC, body care and attention as little children, their attention spans are that of little children( not much at all :) ), they require redirection, and plus plus prompting, smiles and activities. The psych component makes them all the more interesting and multi dimensional.
Still coming off of my mothers day emotional roller coaster :) I started my new job at the IPU and I had the pleasure of caring for a woman who seemed to not 'be there' anymore, her speech was disorganized, she spoke mainly in German and her body was frail, she was confused and did not recognize anyone , even me after a few minutes and required 1 to 1 care, it broke my heart. But when she looked at her tiny little flower pot she would cry and whisper like she was talking to a little baby, for whatever reason that purple orchid reminded her of someone or something, she would stroke the leaves and place is so carefully by the window and she would cry as she told it how much she loved 'the little baby'. Even in a time and place where are minds cannot function in a recognizable way, we don't know what day it is or even who we are, there is always something or someone that can trigger emotion and memories. I have seen it in patients who supposedly have no ability to remember or recognize, in patients that are about to die, in patients that are so encompassed by their mental illness and so on.
I need these small reminders that there is hope even in the darkest of moments, that even purple orchids can make someone who "cant remember", remember.
The hardest part of becoming a psychiatric nurse is that I cannot cure and save people, there is no magic wand that can take their afflictions away. I don't think I will ever understand why people have to suffer so much, it truly breaks my heart, to see people overcome by hallucinations, delusions and panic. I ask why? a lot...
What I am grateful for is the opportunity to learn and grow while caring for psychiatric patients, it is truly tiring and rewarding all wrapped into a big bow!
I don't understand why when people break their legs we give sympathy and support in the form of crutches and cookies and when people have schizophrenia, major depression or suicidal ideation we judge, scoff and call them "crazy'' ? You cant snap out of schizophrenia just as much as you cant snap your broken bone back in and miraculously recover. I guess I am just on a mental health rant because one of the major hurdles for psychiatric patients is stigma and it is something that we can all stop.