This is for all the psychiatric nurses.
You really have it tough. Unlike a general nurse, your patient sees you as the enemy. You can be in physical danger around angry men much larger than yourself, and must wear a “Durress” alarm around your neck, an accessory unrequired in most occupations. You need to enforce the consumption of medication in unwilling participants, asking them to open their mouths after swallowing and if unsuccessful resort to the large needle.
Unlike a doctor, who swans in and out, you are around all day. You need to be able to deal with all colours of a patients grumpy, manic, persistent, rebellious or manipulative moods. You know a patient like the back of your hand, but you don’t have the authority to prescribe the treatment your vast experience tells you is required. You know how to be kind as well as authoratitive… A skill many dismissive psychiatrists lack.
You know when you can talk a patient down, and when you need to call Security. You know how to bandage a self inflicted wound much better than a general nurse. You have the gift of forgiveness, able to smile at the patient who screamed at you the day before. You know when to drag a patient out of bed, and when to leave them be.
To the nurses who are rarely thanked, rarely acknowledged and, thanks to the medication, rarely remembered. To the ones who get all the dirty jobs. The ones who posess a skin thick enough to protect them, yet thin enough to care. To the nurses who definetely don’t do it for the money.
To all the nurses who cared for me during my madness, and who weathered my precarious moods, self destruction and rebellion…thank you.
Thank you and I’m sorry.