Wow, I and the rest of my cohort cannot believe that 2015 is already drawing to a close! It seems like we just started school, yet we are already past the 56 week mark. We all got a bit of a breather with a one-week break for Christmas, it was nice to be able to spend more time with my wife and daughter and just really enjoy the holiday period. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, self-care is an important aspect in being a psychiatric nurse and when given the opportunities, they should be taken to rest and recharge.
Reflecting back on what we have all accomplished this year, the list seems endless. With back-to-back semesters and little in way of breaks, we seen to have crammed lots of learning and activities in. First semester saw us settle into the life of online learning, getting used to an incredibly busy workload, and navigating our return to student life and figuring out a life/work/school balance.
Second semester, the challenges accelerated, we were thrusted into a full-course load of 5 courses, plus the requirement to achieve 180 hours of our first clinical in Care of the Older Adult. Here, we learned the basics of the head-to-toe, vitals, providing personal care including washing and clothing, and we were introduced to medication administration. More importantly, we learned the basics of communicating with patients and building therapeutic relationships. The environment was nice and stable, and provided us with a calm learning environment.
Third semester brought us to yet another full-course load of 5 courses. These were more challenging than the previous and challenged our critical thinking, teamwork, time management, and theoretical knowledge. Our instructors have been great, challenging us to think from different angles and see from differing perspectives. This semester also brought the bread and butter of the program, Acute Psychiatric Nursing clinical. Here we were placed with the team at Langley Memorial’s 1 South where we learned the ins and outs of acute psychiatry. Our clinical instructor was amazing, she encouraged and challenged us all the while providing a safe and endearing learning environment. We stepped away from personal care, and delved into a world of safety, mental status exams, the various assessments, and the never-ending medication administration. Safety for both staff and patients is paramount and something that is taken very seriously.
Finally, our current and fourth semester, the start of our second year of studies. This took us away from psychiatric nursing altogether and into our Medical/Surgical clinical. This semester has seen theory course load drop to 3 courses, but the challenges of medical nursing theory has kept us busy studying and testing our knowledge constantly. However, the skills gained thus far for psychiatric nursing still very much apply to a medical floor. At Chilliwack’s 4 South, we come across mental illness on a daily basis, and are soundly prepared to assess for and work through the mental illness in order to treat their under or overlying medical conditions. A definite take away from this clinical will be the interconnectivity of physical and mental health, but I’ll discuss that in a future blog.
I hope you are all enjoying my blogs as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I also hope you all hold your families and loved ones near and have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.