Mental illness refers to a wide variety of mental health conditions that affect the mood, behaviour, and thinking of the individual, such as schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, depression, and many others (Ross et al., 2019). Its symptoms are major changes in eating habits, hallucinations, significant tiredness, extreme mood changes, inability to concentrate, confused thinking, suicidal thoughts, and few others. The major causes include neurotransmitter impairment in the brain, exposure to drugs, stress, depression, traumatic brain injury, alcohol, and inherited traits from the family (Abi Doumit et al., 2019). If a patient who has recovered from mental illness but does not take effective care of his/her health is at high risk of redeveloping the disease. The role of a registered nurse (RN) is very important for delivering high-quality care to patients. The nurse has to ensure that they support, monitor, and evaluate the health outcomes of the patient for effective care; such as taking care of the medications of the patient, assessing the patient, helping the patient to perform activities, provide emotional support and various other responsibilities (Ross et al., 2019). In this essay, the following sections will discuss the role of a registered nurse for a mental illness patient.
According to Strudwick et al. (2019), while taking care of an individual who has lived experience with mental illness use of modern e-modes should be used by the nurses for effective communication and information transfer within the department and with the patient as well. This is because the patient had the experience of his/her illness so it would be easy for him/her to read through the reports and ensure informed consent for the on-going processes of treatments. The registered nurse must inform the patient about his/her health status and encourage self-management to ensure continued personalized and safe care of the patient. In a patient who is recovering from mental illness, it is important to ask for the feedback, needs of the care services and frequently check for vital signs such as temperature, sugar levels, and other mental and physical health factors to ensure the safety of the patient. The registered nurse should also ask the patient to monitor and record these factors himself/herself (Mwebe, 2017). The attitude of the nurses should always be positive and interactive and they should routinely examine the patient and start shared decision-making only if the patient is capable enough with his/her improved mental health state to make decisions about his/her treatments or other medical procedures. The decisions taken by such patients should be respected and maintained so that patient satisfaction is increased and thereby ensuring the autonomy mentally ill patient is maintained. The registered nurse must maintain strict surveillance on such patients even if they are recovering to ensure their security and safety in the hospitals (Delaney et al., 2018).
According to Morales et al. (2020) & Cleary et al. (2017), it is the prime duty of the nurse to maintain an interactive environment for a mental illness patient so that their recovery is fast. Recovery in mental illness patients is found to be a very difficult process as such patients often resist the care delivered to them and show non-cooperation. However, a patient with lived experiences engages in health promotion activities and is often found to cooperate with the RN via effective communication. The recovery of the patient is fastened with the choices of the patient and the RN should focus on the choice-making of the mental health patient for effective recovery with appropriate evaluation of the outcomes. To prevent the reoccurrence of mental illness symptoms of stress or depression, the RN should use verbal, non-verbal, oral, and written modes of communication with the patient. This will not only assess the level of improvement in the patient but will also engage the patient in healthy interaction. The RN should have complete knowledge and awareness about the mental illness of the patient because recovery is not only about improvement of the signs or symptoms of the disease, but it is also associated with various other factors that can impact the recovery or health such as confidence of the patient, self-esteem of the patient, family, or the physical illness of the patient (Mwebe, 2017).
According to Delaney et al. (2018), the RN should create a safe and respectful environment for the patient and plan the visiting hours for the patients. However, it should be ensured that great care is maintained with the visiting hours like any of the incidents or other factors in the surrounding environment can trigger the negative impacts on the health of the mentally ill patient. It should be ensured that the staff and other associated health professionals show a positive attitude and interact with the patient and if any unprofessionalism or stereotyping is observed that hurt the rights of the patient then the seniors should be immediately informed. The RN should ensure that his/her attitude helps the patient to strengthen his increase self-knowledge, hope, and willpower. The nurse should ensure that quality care is continuously delivered with collaborative efforts of the health care teams including specialists, nurses, speech therapists, physiotherapists, and physiotherapists. The improving patients are often found to have improved speech and they try to share their stories with the nurses and the other health care providers (Lerbæk et al., 2019). The RN should ensure that they act as active listeners and encourage the patient to perform the activities that make him/her feel happy and stress-free such as music, physical games, drawing, reading, or sketching.
The registered nurses are expected to assist the patient to improve their comfort that will support the recovery of the patient and they are also expected to justify their professional role by displaying right knowledge with skills to improve the clinical practice. One of the important factors that will be required to consider improving the working pattern that will help during patient care is following the standard proposed for the health care workforce in the mental health setting. The national practice standard for the workforce in the mental health setting help the nurses to maintain the competency with the professional role that is important for improving clinical practice (Walker, 2014). The Department of Health (2020) proposed the National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce to enhance the capability of the health care workforce in the mental health setting to attain the professional goal. These standards help to improve the clinical practice of the nurses which lead to better patient health outcome that is the major aim of the health care services. Thirteen standards are proposed for the nurses in the mental health setting and nurses should follow them to improve the quality of the work and justify the professional role leading to the patient with job satisfaction.
Nurse in the mental health setting is expected to display the empathetic skills that are important to support the patient by understanding their issue and perspectives concerning the care. Empathy helps the nurses to assist the patient in the recovery by providing the physical, emotional and mental support to improve the wellbeing of the patient. The empathy increases the caring and concern nature of the nurses for the patient which improve the recovery of the patient with better patient satisfaction. Empathy in the mental health setting is important to develop the therapeutic alliance which is important to support the patient that leads to early recovery and improves the quality of care delivered to the patient (Ross & Watling, 2017). Moreover, the study presented by Mousa (2015) added that empathy is one of the important skills of the nurses in the mental health setting as it improves the understanding of the nurse toward the patient feels and thought process. Empathetic skills are important to develop the interpersonal relationship which leads to collaborative practice leading to a better quality of care are delivered to the patient that directly improves recovery. Nurses empathetic skills are important to support the patient in the mental health setting as they are emotionally weak thus require extra support to deal with the deteriorated health.
Ethical practice is also important to increase the professional commitment by combining with the personal values that are in benefit for the patient. Nurses in the mental health setting are also expected to work ethically to improve the safety of the practise and improve ethical clinical practise quality. Ethical principles are important in the care as they help the nurses to balance out the right of the patient with the health care professional leading to a better commitment to ethical practice. Nurses are expected to work in ethically sensitive manner to consider patient aspects and justifying them with the right ethical practices to improve the recovery of the patient. The ethical practice in the mental health setting improves the safety of the patient which directly reduces the chances of any legal complication (Bipeta, 2019). Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (2017) proposed the code of ethics that are important to improve the ethical practice of the nurses in the clinical setting. The code of ethics contains eight principles that are important to increase the commitment of the nurse’s practise to the ethical standards. These standards are important to support the patient by improving the safety of the clinical practice which leads to improving the recovery of the patient.
The last skill that is important for the nurses in the mental health setting is the advocacy for the patient that helps in understanding and considering their point in the care which improves the personalized approach of the care which leads to better recovery of the patient. Advocacy improves the clinical practice of the nurses as it helps them to stand for the patient and help in putting their point forward. Advocacy is important in the mental health setting as it helps in the empowerment of the patient and it increases justice for the entire patient to express their views to improve the care. Advocacy is important for the nurses in the mental health setting as it helps in increasing the patient's ability for the decision making concerning the care. The advocacy in the mental health setting is important to decrease the stigma related to the illness and improve the human right of the patient by proving support to express their point of view. The nurses are expected to help the patient in understanding the different aspect to improve their ability to express their views related to their preferences concerning the care procedure.
The essay can be concluded that nurses play an important role in helping the patient in the mental health setting and their skills help to improve patient recovery. The patient and nurses right interaction is important to provide a supportive environment to the patient by increasing interaction and positivity in the care. The right knowledge of the nurses related to the mental illness state of the patient and its different aspects is also important to support the patient. Moreover, the nurse’s skills are also important to improve the clinical practice that promotes patient recovery. The National practise standards for mental health workforce are very important to improve the quality of the care that eventually supports the recovery of the patient. Some other skills that are improving the patient recovery in the mental health setting include empathetic skills that improve consideration toward patient perspective concerning the care. Ethical practice skills and advocacy are two other important skills that help the nurses to improve the support of the patient during the recovery time and increase patient satisfaction concerning the care in the mental health setting.
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Bipeta R. (2019). Legal and ethical aspects of mental health care. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 41(2), 108–112. https://doi.org/10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_59_19
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Delaney, K. R., Naegle, M. A., Valentine, N. M., Antai-Otong, D., Groh, C. J., & Brennaman, L. (2018). The effective use of psychiatric mental health nurses in integrated care: Policy implications for increasing quality and access to care. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 45(2), 300-309. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11414-017-9555-x
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The Department of Health. (2020). National practice standards for the mental health workforce 2013. Retrieved from: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-pubs-n-wkstd13
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