Thirteen admissions – two discharges – one very wonky lab results – a code is called after a nurse gets attached – Fire alarms are going off – short of staff – no lunch much less a break – and your pulled to another area you are not familiar with – in-services – skills fair . A day in the life of a nurse, but not just any nurse, a mental health nurse.
You know a nurse is stressed when she admits by 8am she had cried on the way to work. The day before had been so busy – so stressful she already dreaded what was waiting. When she walked in the door the rush began, and did not end with a relaxing lunch break until after 1pm. However, you don't have time to relax for thinking about what has to be finished before your shift is over. Can we say stressed!
Belief that the full moon is associated with psychiatric disturbance persists despite 50 years research showing no association. After working in a state mental hospital for 22 years – I disagree with any study that says it is a myth. Clearly they have not worked with me on the shift that was a full moon effect.
The energy level reminds me of a Bipolar manic mood, where people who are usually pretty calm become agitated easier. The person who decides he is an artist using poop graffiti on the walls. The small framed lady who looks like the little lady on the front row of church comes out flashing the staff without her top on. The little man who could have won the tobacco spitting contest without any problem hurls a spit loogies in the direction of the nurse and misses only because the phone rang.
Nursing is a very rewarding career touching people's life in a way that other careers cannot do. Nurses seem to flow down the hallways in and out of rooms with unlimited request waiting on the inside. She holds her bladder until it grows to the size of a watermelon and feels guilty to pause to make a release. Lunch is a bag of chips and a coke because the machine was closer than the dining room with a healthy meal. Break simply means it is time to go home.
I have had the privilege to speak to some of the nurses right at the point they did not think they could take 2 more minutes of the stress. With peace and calming essential oil diffusing in my office filling the air with the aroma infusing the nasal passages of the mentally frustrated nurse. I can watch her relax as the oil works the amazement of aroma therapy. Within in 10-15 minutes the smile has returned to her face and we could laugh about something besides staff refusing assignments and unhappy clients.
No matter what the scientist tell me I know for a fact that the full moon causes a shift in the minds of our patients. You can count on that night being so busy that you will be clocking out before you realize you missed your break.
I am armed with stress relief essential oil in my pocket as a shield to the upcoming events my shoulders are lined with white angelica for protection against negative energy. Valor on my feet – sets me motion and ready for one more shift.
One final prayer ….here I go.
Angela Brooks is a mental health nurse educator who spent the last 22 years working in a state funded mental hospital. She is the author of "The Nurses Voice" who exposes raw truth as a nurse. She is transitioning from nursing to one of the top positions in a health company changing life's one oil at a time.