Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Survived my first trip to the Psych Hospital . . .

. . . for all you wise guys, I was at the Psych Hospital as a Student Nurse, not as a patient. . . :D

The second week of Psych seemed to a be a bit better than the first. The professor seemed more relaxed and everything just seemed to be a lot more comfortable. The lecture is very interesting - the stories that he shares are extremely entertaining. Am I still a little bit scared? ABSOLUTELY!

I spent a bulk of my 37th birthday at the Psych Hospital, participating in orientation and a hospital tour. Due to the fact that most of the patients in the hospital are not there long term, the confidentiality is really tight. I will be limited in what I can share but if there are funny stories I will be sure to pass them along. The floor that they call "Acute Acute" has a lot of paranoid schizophrenics and we have been told that the things they talk about are quite entertaining - but we always need to be mindful of being therapeutic and we should NEVER agree with them or encourage their thoughts. The hospital accepts patients from 12 years old through the elderly, although most of the patients we saw were probably in the 20-60 year old range. I have been doing a lot of praying for guidance in this clinical to help me be the most therapeutic I can be. I am hoping that I can learn some communication skills and maybe make a small difference in someone's life, if only for a moment.

Overall, I am feeling much better about the whole thing. Still really apprehensive and unsure of what to expect on a week to week basis, but overall a bit more relaxed. Let's say I have been downgraded from terrified to moderately anxious. Seeing the hospital, the staff and the patients made me realize there is not a lot of reason for me to be freaking out. Most of the staff there has been there a minimum of 10 years, which says a lot, and they are all highly trained in dealing with this population. The unit I am on is very proud of their 100 restraint free days (meaning no patient has had to be restrained in any manner). The "Acute Acute" unit was the highest "energy", if you will, and I will not be there for a while. For now I am working in the sub acute unit.

The facility itself is an old mansion, then it was a spa/resort for respit and now it is a psych hospital. The grounds are gorgeous. There is a courtyard for patients to take "fresh air breaks" which really translate into "smoking cigarette breaks" but it is still nice that they have the opportunity to get outside in the sun. We were out there for a smoking break and I think 85% of the hospital was out there! Apparently most psych patients smoke!

I had Maternity Lecture again this morning which was awesome. We talked about placentas and fetal blood circulation. Fascinating stuff! I could sit in that lecture all day! Tomorrow we don't get to go to the hospital for Maternity (boo, hiss!) we have a simulation and medication quiz at the college in the Sim Lab. Good news is we will probably get out early!

As you can see, things are getting busier -- last week I was able to write everyday and this week I had a hard time finding time to get here once to update. There's A LOT of reading for Maternity -- chapters and chapters each week for lecture and then different chapters for clinical. AH! I should have done more reading yesterday than I wound up doing but it was my birthday and the kids gave me 'The Muppet Show' on DVD so that was much more important than reading a Maternity book! :) Luckily the reading is very interesting, but time consuming none the less. Next week will be interesting with Andy in the Dominican Republic for his annual mission trip to La Romana. I can feel myself getting frazzled already!

In closing, yesterday my friend, Karen, from school gave me a bracelets with beads on it that spell out "GRATITUDES" and it said to use those 10 beads to recall 10 things you are thankful for each day. I think this is wonderful and perhaps each week (if I have time and I remember) I will post 10 things I am grateful for. This week they are:
1) My friend Karen, who has no idea exactly how much she has helped me and continues to help me along on my Nursing School journey.
2) My husband and kids for being so supportive and understanding.
3) My Maternity Professor (Kiersten Brennan) who demonstrates such excitement for the material, it is so evident how much she loves her job - that's what I want to be!
4) This opportunity to be back in school. It is such a priceless gift, and I am forever grateful.
5) The fact that I survived my first Psych Clinical day and didn't get assaulted or die of a panic attack.
6) The 37 years of my life that have brought me laughter and tears and everything in between.
7) My dog, Jobie, who greets me every day like he hasn't seen me in 10 years. I love coming home to his slobbery puppy kisses!
8) My Psych professor who totally understands how apprehensive I am about this rotation and has promised to ensure a positive experience for all of us.
9) The Muppet Show on DVD - made me feel 5 years old again, waiting on Sunday night for that show to come on!
10) Weight Watchers, which to date, has helped me lose 8 pounds.

Everyone should take some time each week to count 10 things they are grateful for. God blesses me so richly, it is not hard to do and I'm sure you will find the same.

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