At times, working as a mental health nurse can be a real test of one’s mettle, but can also be the most rewarding of any nurse specialism. As a species we know an incredible amount aboutthe physical elements of our bodies, but have barely scratched the surface in terms of our knowledge of our mental condition.
As a result, mental health nurses have to work harder & smarter than a lot of other nurses as their own sense of empathy and sympathy can be inhibited by their patients suffering of conditions that are hard to quantify. In basic terms – it’s very hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is suffering from a mental illness, especially if you haven’t experienced one yourself.
Mental health nurses can experience great, great highs – e.g. – if they help a patient overcome the greater challenge of their life in defeating depression, or extreme lows – e.g. a patient slipping further into the abyss of mental illness.
Like in any other forms of nursing roles, communication is the key to success in mental health nursing. Speaking with and relating to your patients remains the biggest factor in the healing process, and is something that a good mental health nurse masters. A sense of humour is vital, and the ability to speak honestly and openly with your patients. But most importantly, being a positive influence is the secret to success in this area, as your patients will be counting on you for this.