It has been estimated that 1 in 4 of us suffer from a mental health issue, including depression, anxiety and other diagnoses. In recent years, there has been a surge in patient admissions to psychiatric wards and assessment centres in both private and NHS settings due to lack of community resources and an indwelling absence of public awareness. Subsequently, many individuals and high profile celebrities have become more open to talking about their mental health struggles, which has improved the collective willingness to knock mental health stigma and encourage people to open up about their experiences.
Individuals who care for those with mental health issues such as mental health nurses (RMN’s) are often best placed and trained specifically to rehabilitate and counsel patients to recovery and effective remission of their diagnoses. Many individuals who gain general nursing qualifications look to integrate into this field later on in their career due to the rewarding and challenging nature of practice, which can often have a profound impact on the nurse and the potential to improve the quality of life of the patient. Perhaps less is known about the role of an RMN as opposed to other nursing specialties due to the current stigma around mental health and the taboo nature of the discipline – this article seeks to identify the key roles of an RMN in different facilities and practices which optimise recovery times and clinical outcome in patients.
* Perform detailed assessments and calculate risk of patients to themselves or others at in-patient and out-patient locations such as hospitals and health centres
* Undertake a detailed history of the patient and listen to their story
* Recording confounding medical issues or physical problems for medical attention
* Liaising with care teams and psychiatrists to formulate treatment plans
* Record data and consultations in keeping with legislation and legality in mental health treatment
* Understand and listen to patient’s concerns, fears or worries and support them throughout their stay
* Build supportive relationships
* Administer any medication which may be prescribed to the individual
* Assist the individual in performing self-care tasks and the attendance of personal and group sessions.
* Educating carers, family members and friends on mental health diagnoses and how they can support the individual when discharged
These role change slightly based on whether an RMN is indwelling (in a ward, psychiatric hospital or care unit) or whether they perform duties in the community. Contact of the hospital RMN’s to the community RMN’s of the health of the patient, nature and their experience in dealing with the patient helps to create a seamless transfer of clinical to community care and improves patient outcomes.