Thursday, October 23, 2014

I have become a part time psych nurse

I wonder why nobody seems to care about mentally ill patients? It is evident in the fact that patients are being housed in emergency rooms because there are no beds available. That's happening in our ER.  It has now become routine to house people for hours, sometimes more than a day.

Funding has decreased for mental health, so patients don't have access to services on an outpatient basis. Just like physical illness, if your condition isn't managed it gets worse and becomes a crisis and sends you to the emergency room.

There are less psychiatrists.  Apparently they aren't paid as well as they used to be, especially in hospitals.  The profession is less attractive because most psychiatrists have essentially become medication managers rather than the therapists they used to be.

Reimbursement for psychiatric patients is less than those who are physically ill making hospital reluctant to increase bed space.

I don't see any of the above changing anytime soon. So the situation will get worse.  We will be part time psych nurses trying to manage patients for hours on end, sometimes overnight and beyond. Patients will lay there with nothing to do, getting more agitated because of it.  They will get bad care because we don't have time to care for them. Our wait time in the ER will increase because there are times when 30% of our beds are occupied by psych patients.  It is more dangerous for the staff because after sitting for hours, sometimes these patients get agitated and start acting out and become violent.

So ERs have become part time psych wards and I have become a part time psych nurse.

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