Psychiatric nurses help patients with mental health issues work towards recovery and full, happy lives. It can be an incredibly rewarding career, full of enriching experiences and gratifying professional successes.
Unfortunately, not everyone in society realizes this, and there are still a number of stigmas surrounding mental illness, and psychiatric facilities, which are harmful to patients and mental health professionals alike. These views are often based on outdated and unfair stereotypes, and bear no resemblance to the realities of mental health treatment.
By learning the truth behind the myths, psychiatric nurses are better able to educate the friends and families of patients about their condition, and promote greater understanding of mental health issues in society at large.
1. Psychiatric Nursing College Grads Know Mental Illness Doesn’t Diminish Intelligence
Mental health issues can affect thoughts and behaviors, and some medications can affect a patient’s appearance and ability to communicate. This sometimes leads to a false perception that a mental health diagnosis is akin to an intellectual disability.
In psychiatric nursing programs, students learn that none of these issues are actual symptoms of a patient’s illness. Furthermore, through the relationships they forge with patients during their careers, they see that people with mental health issues are often highly intelligent, capable individuals.
2. Psychiatric Nursing Students Learn That All Patients Are Not Dangerous
While psychiatric nurses are trained to diffuse situations in which a patient, as a result of their illness, may become distressed or aggressive, they also know that, contrary to popular belief, people with mental health issues are not usually violent or dangerous.
In fact, a highly-regarded MacArthur Research Network study concluded they were no more likely to commit acts of violence than any other members of society. In addition, when incidents do occur, psychiatric nursing college students are taught to identify the root cause of the situation, in order to help the patient manage their future behavior.
3. Most Patients You’ll Encounter During Your Psychiatric Nursing Career Won’t Require Lifelong Care
Being hospitalized for a mental disorder can be devastating for patients and their families, and they can often believe that they will never get better. In reality, less than 10% of patients stay more than 90 days in psychiatric facilities.
Patients with mental health issues are usually only admitted for acute episodes and nurses and other professionals work to treat them with a view to reintegrating fully into their community and leading a happy, healthy life.
4. Psychiatric Nursing Careers Involve A Variety Of Therapeutic Techniques
Another prevalent myth about psychiatric nursing is that it mostly involves caring for patients who are heavily medicated and unaware of their surroundings. In reality, while doctors will prescribe medication in cases where it might be beneficial, psychiatric hospitals employ a rich variety of therapeutic techniques.
Throughout their psychiatric nursing careers, graduates of Stenberg’s psychiatric nursing program find themselves helping to coordinate counselling sessions, art and drama classes, and other events to help build patient’s confidence and social skills.
Are you interested in a career promoting awareness and caring for people with mental health issues?
Visit Stenberg to learn more about our psychiatric nursing program or to speak with an advisor.