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 in 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 mental health 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, the believe it is inflicted on you by someone or that a person develops 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 is building up a relationship of trust between the nurse and the patient. One of the most common role is working with patients’ families and carers, helping to educate them and the patient about their mental health problems. 1Mental health nurses have the role of assessing and talking to patients about their problems and discussing the best way to plan and deliver their care, also ensuring the correct administration of medication. Some nurses visit patients in their home to check up on them and carry out risk assessments with regards to their safety and welfare. 2 To work as a mental health nurse, you need a degree in nursing approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.