Once I was walking across the road and I heard a man who was yelling at the people passing by him. This man was addressed as Bill who was homeless and had a long history of mental health illness. He had recently been discharged from the acute mental health treatment ward. When I saw him, it appeared as if he is feeling cold and as he was waving a half-drunk bottle of wine and startled on his feet, this shows that he was drunk. The moment I passed by him he yelled at me to watch my back. As a nurse, I immediately admitted him into the hospital as his actions are resembling that of a mentally ill patient and he already had a history for bad mental health. I gave him drugs to stabilize his state and checked his vitals and performed relevant tests to make sure that he was not having any mental health crisis again.
According to Ross et al. (2015), it is recommended to provide the mentally ill patients with antipsychotic medications but before the administration of antipsychotic drugs treatment, the baseline tests should be conducted for such patients. The tests are like blood chemistries, blood pressure checkup, checking up for the patient’s weight, height, basal metabolic rate, body mass index, information on the history of the patient as well as the patient’s family. As a nurse, I must check that the ill person showing the mental health illness symptoms is having serious health deterioration issues or not. It is recommended while working with serious mental health illness patients to get their full body checkup regularly to assess or manage any risks that might harm the health of the patient (Ross et al., 2015).
I already had heard Bill yelling before I saw him. As a nurse, I felt bad for his condition because he was feeling cold and as drunk as well. I showed my kindness to him by admitting him to the hospital and treating him. After I admitted him to the hospital, initially I felt exhausted and alone while I was calming him down because it was difficult to manage and control a person who is drunk and had a mental illness. At first, it was difficult as no other health staff member was there to help me out but later the other staff members came to control the situation. It is recommended that the nurse should develop an effective patient-nurse relationship that helps the nurse to communicate with the patient to win his trust so that the patient trusts the treatment that is carried out with him (Hammarström et al., 2019).
If I will win the patient’s trust then he will feel safe with me and this will reduce the chances of aggression that a drunken patient might show it will be easy to control him. I also informed the psychiatric nurse to look after the patient. A nurse plays a very effective role for drug or alcohol addict patients by providing them with complete care thereby resulting in their good and improved health (Molina-Mula et al., 2018). After the patient was held in control by the rest of the health care members, I felt relaxed and stress-free as now it will be easy for us to give Bill health care. Although, I felt sad as such individually being a part of our society frequently gets ignored because of their drunk and mentally ill signs.
I had treated many patients in my life as a nurse. Sympathy, compassion, and feelings for the patient have become a basic nature while treating and providing care services to my patients. After I saw Bill, I realized that he needs a health service. As a nurse, these thoughts came to me because it is the general nature of every nurse to treat her patient if the patient is in poor health. According to Ross et al. (2015), the role of mental health nurses is very essential for treating patients with serious mental health issues. It is the role of the nurse to manage and detect the problems of the patient at the earliest so that treatment can be provided as early as possible. In some cases, the nurses do not have proper training therefore, they find it difficult to deal with patients having mental health problems and drug addiction. As I had my training done with the experience of dealing with such patients so I managed to handle Bill. I thought that I exhibited the responsibility of a nurse. Initially, I felt ashamed to speak about Bill who is mentally ill patient and drunk as well in front of my co-workers as I thought they might laugh at me as I am not good at handling such situations alone and possess less knowledge regarding such patients.
I learned that mental health patients with serious illness need to get checked for their mental status annually or regularly. If a nurse uses a listening-responding-understanding strategy it becomes easy to carry out the health care plans of the patient (Gudde et al., 2015). The involvement of psychiatric nurses and multidisciplinary team members can positively regulate the health of ill patients. According to Gudde et al. (2015), the sharing of information between nurses and other health care providers can help in improving health if mentally ill patients and plan their treatment plans effectively. Moreover, the qualities like open-mindedness, tolerance, and non-judgmental towards the patient help in providing complete and effective care to the patient even if they are mentally ill or drug-alcohol addicts.
According to Matsumoto & Yoshioka (2019), the support from co-workers and various health care providers can help the psychiatric nurses to have reduced levels of stress and have more job satisfaction. It is also suggested for the psychiatric nurse to develop a healthy work environment with other health care providers. This ultimately helps in implementing high-level care to the patients. My previous life experiences also had such cases in which the patient was mentally ill and was a drug addict therefore, from my past experiences I made few assumptions for Bill. I assumed that Bill has again got mental health illness issues as his drunk and clumsy behaviour exhibited the signs like that of a mentally ill patient. He already had a long history of acute mental health therefore, I assumed that he might have again developed serious mental illness issues. Although, after I got his test results my assumptions proved to be logical because the psychiatric also found dramatic mood swings, confused thinking, and other signs of mental illness. Moreover, the physical and mental evaluation tests also resulted in positive mental illness in Bill.
This experience taught me that a nurse should have skills to deal with serious mental illness patients especially if they are alcohol or any other drug addicts. The nurses are not supposed to judge the patient instead they should provide self-less and continued care (Hammarström et al., 2019). This experience helped me to realize that I need to develop more sills and sympathy for the patient without judging them. In the future, if again came across such patients then I will provide them with multidisciplinary care. According to Hammarström et al. (2019), nurses should always have a positive attitude for the patients. A positive attitude helps a nurse to apply her/his skills to the patient and in-turn get motivated to treat the patient. If the nurse considers patients as intolerants then she/he will not be able to provide complete care to the patient. In the case of Bill, if I had not noticed him then Bill might have hurt someone or his condition might have worsened if he had not received the treatments provided by the health caregivers after I admitted him to the hospital. I felt that there is a need for me to develop more awareness and knowledge about the health aspects of mentally ill patients with alcohol addiction so that in future I can more easily handle such patients without getting frustrated with their behaviour. I felt that I should not feel ashamed to speak about alcoholism and treat alcoholic and mentally ill patients. I need to be more comfortable and knowledgeable about the skills required for dealing with such patients. In the future, I will advise my friends or co-workers to show respect and care for mentally ill patients and drug or alcohol addicts as well. I will also help my co-workers by providing them with help related to the skills to handle such patients.
Gudde, C. B., Olsø, T. M., Whittington, R., &Vatne, S. (2015). Service users’ experiences and views of aggressive situations in mental health care: A systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 8. DOI: 10.2147/JMDH.S89486
Hammarström, L., Häggström, M., Devik, S. A., &Hellzen, O. (2019). Controlling emotions-nurses' lived experiences caring for patients in forensic psychiatry. International Journal of Qualitative Studies On Health And Well-Being, 14(1). DOI: 10.1080/17482631.2019.1682911.
Matsumoto, Y., & Yoshioka, S. I. (2019). Factors influencing psychiatric nurses' job satisfaction levels: Focusing on their frequency of experiencing negative emotions toward patients and support at their workplaces. Yonago Acta Medica, 62(4), 293–304. DOI: 10.33160/yam.2019.11.006.
Molina-Mula, J., González-Trujillo, A., &Simonet-Bennassar, M. (2018). Emergency and mental health nurses' perceptions and attitudes towards alcoholics. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(8). DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15081733.
Ross, L. E., Vigod, S., Wishart, J., Waese, M., Spence, J. D., Oliver, J., & Shields, R. (2015). Barriers and facilitators to primary care for people with mental health and/or substance use issues: a qualitative study. BMC Family Practice, 16(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12875-015-0353-3
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