Mental health nurses are specialist nurses that work with individuals, families and communities with mental needs. They are experts at assessing, diagnosing and treating these individuals.
My aim in life is to become a mental health nurse, to contribute positively to the life of mentally ill people. In this essay, I am going to be exploring the roles of mental health nurses and my experience of mental illness in people.Firstly, I am going to be pointing out what I have learnt through my experience with mentally ill patients and the way in which society deals/impacts them. My formative contact experience with mental health nursing occurred when I helped a close relation who suffered (postpartum psychosis) several episodes of mental illness after the birth of her child, this. She manifested symptoms such as depression, confusion and hallucination. The stereotypes surrounding mental illness in the Nigerian society prevents people from seeking help.
Some Nigerians believe that mental illness is caused by spiritual forces, they believe it is inflicted on you by someone or that a person develops the mental illness because of their evil actions. This belief forces victims of this illness to hide away and pretend to be fine when they are in need of help, however in the case of my relative I decided to take full responsibility. Roberts et al (1999) noted that mentally ill individuals that live in rural communities and have significant health care needs may experience severe obstacles to obtaining adequate health care assistance. My first task as a responsible carer involved researching and understanding the illness and being able to explain it to other members of the family and the community that exhibited different biases on mental illness. This helped to alter the help-seeking behaviour of the family from taking the patient to Churches into seeking an appropriate mental health hospital to care for her. It also altered the hostility of the family towards the patient and helped to develop mental health responsibility consisting of tolerance, kindness and patience towards the patient. Furthermore, this experience motivated me to pursue a career in this field to help people who don’t receive the help they deserve because of the society they live in. According to my research, a mental health nurse has opportunities in the NHS, or in private sectors, in communities, in schools or the military.
They have several roles which include working with other health professionals in a team to provide patient-centric and therapeutic treatments for the patients. The most important role is building up a relationship of trust between the nurse and the patient. My experience with my relative showed me that nurses have to be eloquent English speakers as they have the role of explaining and educating the patient and their families about their condition and what role they can play in ensuring the most effective treatment.
Mental health nurses like all nurses have to be able to work with all kinds of people(both young and old), they have to be passionate, kind, approachable and fast thinkers to excel in what they do. The job of a mental health nurse is one that requires for you to be understanding and patient as you are dealing with people who have been in situations/conditions that have affected their mental health. These nurses have to feedback to their families about the individual’s progress or response to treatment. To work as a mental health nurse, you must first obtain a nursing degree.
After your degree, you can go on to specialise as a mental health nurse working then you register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). To sum: a mental health nurse plays a vital role in society by helping people who society may have rejected or cast way. This role is one I am certain, I want to be a part of, and my experience with my relative really confirmed this to me. As an African woman, I understand the struggles some black people who have mental illness face, this is because the black community looks down and cast away these people. Parents when told that their child has mental illness typically reply with a firm “God Forbid”.
Mental nurses play a vital role in ensuring that these people are well educated and informed about the many types of mental illness and the various help that health care clinics offer to people who suffer from it.