As a new nurse on the job, most facility bring in new staff and they complete the class room process. They are then placed with a mentor for 6-8 weeks to be groomed on the reality of what goes on, on a psych ward. Today, young mild mannered, young women, walks on the floor looking for me. I smiled because she had "I am scared" written all over her face. I welcomed her to the unit, and began asking questions about where else she had worked in the hospital and who she had worked with. This gives me an idea of what she has been exposed too and the teaching she had received already.
Most of the mentors in the hospital have worked 10 years and more and I know how they teach. We as nurse mentors work together when someone new comes on board sharing what they need less exposure or more exposure too.
The air in the hospital had been busy and full of activity all day. Activity on psych ward can be mild to "oh my word" in seconds. We had not made it to the medication cart to count the Narcotic box yet when the buzzer began screaming across the intercom. The staff came to full attention, conversation stops, the patients on the hall automatically began moving into their bedrooms or up against the walls out of the way. Staff began removing ink pens, watches and badges shoving them in their pocket.
The young new nurse swirls around with her eyes wild as clear marbles and said "WHAT is that?" I said, "Follow me and keep up. We are headed to a code…." The buzzer paused and the announcement calmly and clearly stated "Code D unit XXX – Code D unit XXX". The unit was one hallway over, the lock down unit. People took off running, that unit had been under tense activity all day. You could hear the heavy running feet running across the top floor and rumbling down the steps. People were emerging out of the walls. Doors were slamming, but not one person was saying a word….just running.
At times like these you do not know what you're running too. You just know for them to call a code – they need help and it could be your unit one day in need of the same help. It is amazing how people will run to the unknown as a team. Some run to be nosy and would not dare to step in and really help, but others that you see coming you know will be right by your side.
As we entered the ward, I can see them walking with the person headed to the seclusion room. Kicking, screaming and cursing. I turn to look and the young nurse is right on my heels. Panting with her eyes wide we stood in front of the doorway of the room this person just destroyed. Not one thing was in tack. The entire ceiling was gone. There were two wires hanging from the ceiling where the light fixture used to light the room. Ceiling tiles lay all in the floor; the bed was upside down, mattress thrown against the wall. I turned to her and smiled, "You ok?" She replied, "Yes! Oh my gosh did she do that?" I saw someone heading to the patients bedroom with the restraint bag. I grabbed the new nurse's arm and said," Come on."
As I was headed to the room I saw three more new nurses that had the "deer in the head light look" observing the events. As we began preparing for them to bring the patient into the room to be restrained to the bed for protection of herself and the staff. I positioned the new staff in the room with instructions of what to do and to act quickly when she came in. I could hear them breathing but their heads were nodding ok.
The staff came with the patient in CPI transport position. She lay on the bed and explained what was going too happened. She cried but shook her head ok. The new staff quickly, with shaky hands buckled her arms, legs and chest to the bed. The staff that had the best re pore with her stepped in. An ole classmate that she had gone to school with. He spoke softly to her and told her why they had her restrained. She asks him not to leave her because she was scared. He stayed.
As things began to calm down and the staff began leaving. I looked at my new nurse and nodded my head toward to the door to leave. All that was left was mounds of paper work and for the medication she was given to begin working.
I told her – "You did well. What did you think?" She smiled, "I was not sure what was going on but that was neat how everyone begin working together without saying a word."
After processing what just happened with her. Answering her questions and reassuring her that even though it is scary we all go because you never know when you will be on the unit that needs the help. I felt confident that the next time she heard a "code" buzzer I would look up and see her there without anyone prompting her.
Teaching the new nurses that come to the hospital grooms them for when they will be out on their own. Most of them are eager to learn and everything they see has them in awe. Not every day is as busy as this one, but when they are – you want people beside you that are willing to step in and help. The most scary thing as a mental health nurse is feeling like you're in the situation alone. Not one person has ever stepped into the building wants to get hurt or to hurt someone else. Being alert and focused is a must.
Returning to a unit, thankful the staff and patient we ok – it is time to take a deep breath and begin the shift….or had it already began.
Angela Brooks is a leading distributor of Young Living Essential Oils. Dedicated to natural health solutions, Brooks provides people with healing alternatives without harsh side effects. Additionally, Brooks is a mental health nurse committed to bringing mental happiness to the nursing profession by motivating and supporting nurses around the country.
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