Role of the Mental Health Nurse (Nursing)

by Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN

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    00:01 So you might want to ask yourself, what is the role of the nurse in this environment? Well, we have multiple roles.

    00:09 Of course, our first role is going to be custodial, taking care of the needs of that patient.

    00:18 We are also risk managers.

    00:20 Remember we are assessing that environment.

    00:22 We are evaluating risk at all times.

    00:27 We're also providing crisis prevention.

    00:31 And crisis prevention is part of that risk management, it's part of that assessment that we are continually doing.

    00:39 And in that way, we're able to identify a problem before it occurs and then mitigate the problem and manage it before it becomes an actual crisis.

    00:52 Let's think about the custodial responsibilities of the nurse.

    00:57 What are the most important custodial responsibilities the nurse has is this formal of admission to the unit.

    01:06 And that includes orienting that patient to the physical layout of the unit.

    01:12 Remember, your patient may never have been in a psychiatric unit before.

    01:16 It's very different from a medical unit.

    01:20 People are walking around in their street clothes.

    01:24 People have no walkers or canes.

    01:30 So as we are bringing the patient the new patient into the unit, we want to let them know here is the nurse's station where you'll be able to get your medications.

    01:41 Here is your bedroom.

    01:44 Here is the day room.

    01:45 Here is the dining room.

    01:48 As you are orienting the patient to the unit, you also want to make sure that you are orienting the patient to the rules and regulations in that unit.

    02:00 Oftentimes, in the unit, you'll have a board that says what the rules and regulations are as a reminder to all of the patients so that everyone respects the rules and regulations.

    02:14 Usually there is a public phone or a phone that can be used by the patients.

    02:21 And that comes with its own rules and regulations.

    02:25 In some places, if you are working in a unit that has an ability to have the patient's take on more responsibilities over the time they are there, you might have someone walking with you another patient who is helping with that orientation.

    02:45 So we want to make sure as we are walking the patient through the unit, as we are giving that orientation to the patient that we are making sure that they feel safe.

    03:00 It is incredibly important.

    03:04 Because as a new person in a new unit, we want to make sure that if they have questions, we can answer the questions.

    03:15 If we notice that they are anxious, we can talk about that anxiety and look at a way that we can to help them to take care of that anxiety.

    03:28 These are what we consider custodial responsibilities, making sure that that environment is safe and assessing the patient for risk.

    03:41 And remember, risk is personal risk that they might be feeling anxious and therefore perhaps take steps that might be self-harming.

    03:54 But also that they don't feel as though they are in harm's way.

    04:01 We also want to make sure that we are looking at the way they are treating other people on the unit and making sure that there is no risk for them in response to other people.

    04:15 Also, we want to assess basic needs.

    04:18 And we want to make sure that those basic needs are being met.

    04:24 What do we mean by basic needs? We're talking about food, we're talking about adequate sleep, and we're talking about medications.

    04:33 And we know that with a patient with a psychiatric disorder, food and sleep and medications are of utmost importance for recovery.

    04:45 We also want to think about the fact that discharge planning even for the psychiatric patient begins at admission.

    04:55 The moment that patient comes on to the unit, we are thinking about how we are going to help them to recover and return to their life.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Role of the Mental Health Nurse (Nursing) by Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN is from the course Accessing Acute Psychiatric Care (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Orient the client to the unit layout
    2. Ensure the client is aware of the unit rules
    3. Assess the client for risk of harm to self or others
    4. Engage the client in psychotherapy
    5. Provide the client with a sedative
    1. At admission
    2. On the day of discharge
    3. When the client is no longer certifiable
    4. 24-28 hours following admission

    Author of lecture Role of the Mental Health Nurse (Nursing)

     Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN

    Brenda Marshall, EdD, MSN, RN

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