DiversityNursing Blog

Health Care Workers Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis During The COVID-19 Outbreak

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, May 05, 2020 @ 11:25 AM

mentalhealthMany Nurses and Doctors said in interviews with TIME, that fighting COVID-19 is making them feel more dedicated to their chosen career, and determined to persevere and help their patients. But, many also said they were struggling with negative feelings.

Healthcare workers are afraid of spreading the virus to their families, frustrated about the lack of PPE, and feel they can’t do enough for their patients. First responders are tired from long shifts, and are extremely sad for their dying patients, of which many are passing away alone. This is heartbreaking.

Dr. Jay Kaplan, an emergency room Physician and wellness specialist at LCMC Health system in New Orleans, lets his staff know they aren't alone. He listens as Nurses and Doctors share their fears and problems.

Kaplan tells them it’s okay to get sad or angry over the coronavirus. He reads them his poems. He shares that one day he came home and cried to his wife because he was  overwhelmed by the rate of dying patients.

“We need to break the culture of silence and let people know it’s okay not to have it all together all the time,” he said.

Kaplan’s “wellness visits” are a key strategy in preventing healthcare workers from spiraling into depression and post-traumatic stress disorder during the pandemic. Many hospitals across the U.S. are launching similar initiatives.

Mount Sinai hospitals in New York City ramped up initiatives, such as a 24/7 mental health crisis line and one-on-one counseling. It also launched a wellness and resilience center that will track staffers' mental health long term.

Dr. Deborah B. Marin, Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the new center said,  “This multi-disciplinary center will consider the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of our entire health care community, including those on the frontline and in supporting roles. Working closely with every department across the health system, our aim is to not only address  but to also prevent the development of mental health issues before they occur by intervening early, offering resilience training and treatment for every health care working in need. It’s important that we launch now as this crisis continues to evolve and take a toll on our community.”

Several healthcare workers in the TIME interviews said, among all the uncertainty and fear, they have found some relief in support from their families, communities, and one another.

We’re offering this article during Nurses Week as a reminder to all to be as patient, kind and loving to our Nurses, Healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees and all the people out there working to keep us safe. Thank you!

Topics: mental health, first responders, mental health nursing, COVID-19, coronavirus, healthcare workers

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses - The Growing Demand

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jan 24, 2020 @ 09:41 AM

mentalhealthnursingApproximately 56 million American adults are struggling with a mental illness or substance use disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA).

An article from mentalhealth.gov, shows the current mental health workforce shortage is projected to grow and would leave the country 250,000 professionals short by 2025.

Only 44% of adults and 20% of children in the U.S. receive the mental health and substance use care they need because there is a growing shortage of qualified professionals trained to provide timely and effective treatment.

This lack of treatment significantly contributes to one of the leading causes of death in the U.S, suicide.

According to the same mentalhealth.gov article, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 41,000 lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discusses the increase in children under 18 going to emergency departments due to attempts of suicide or suicidal ideation.

According to a Hard Cases article, more than 75% of all U.S. counties have a shortage of any type of mental health worker and 96% of all counties have an unmet need for mental health prescribers. This care gap is most profound in rural states where 111 million Americans live in mental health professional shortage areas.

One reason demand for mental health professionals has increased is because more Americans are gaining health coverage. It's the law per the Affordable Care Act that insurers can no longer deny coverage to people who have diagnosed mental illnesses.

Also fewer medical students are specializing in psychiatry because psychiatry jobs don't pay as well as other fields. Students facing high medical school debt are more likely to pick the jobs offering better pay.

There has also been a surge in substance use disorders and greater public awareness of mental illness. Increased public awareness means more people living with mental illness will seek treatment.

Healthcare providers and the medical community at large need to implement a more supportive environment for the psychiatry profession. There should also be increased compensation for psychiatry jobs and student loan forgiveness or free/low-cost psychiatry schooling.

Policy makers should support and enact quality mental health services that will improve public health, particularly populations who most often have no access to mental health services.

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Topics: mental health, substance use disorder, mental health nursing, psychiatry, mental illness, psychiatric mental health nurse

A Career in Mental Health Nursing

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Dec 10, 2018 @ 09:44 AM

Mental-health-nursing-Australia-1

According to a healthecareers.com article, Mental health Nurses are typically part of a healthcare team that includes Psychologists, Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Occupational Therapists and other healthcare assistants. 

Psychiatric Nursing is a demanding profession but many Nurses find it rewarding and ideal for their qualifications. It can be a financially rewarding specialty as well.

An article by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association says, the Psychiatric Mental Health Registered Nurse develops a Nursing diagnosis and plan of care, implements the Nursing process, and evaluates it for effectiveness. Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (PMH-APRNs) offer primary care services to the psychiatric-mental health population. PMH-APRNs assess, diagnose, and treat individuals and families with psychiatric disorders or the potential for such disorders using their full scope of therapeutic skills, including the prescription of medication and administration of psychotherapy.

Colorado Technical University covers some of the skills Psychiatric Nurses should have:

  • Interpersonal Communication and Collaboration – Psychiatric Nurses should have good one-on-one people skills since they help administer biopsychosocial assessments and work to educate clients and families on therapies and medications.
  • Problem-Solving – Help assess patients by using the psychiatric diagnostic classification systems and observing and examining the patient's behaviors. 
  • Attention to Detail – In addition to problem-solving, it is important that Psychiatric Nurses demonstrate care and meticulousness since their duties can include educating patients about psychopharmacologic drugs, administering such drugs, and monitoring patients taking psychopharmacologic drugs as well.

Allnursingschools.com discusses education and certification requirements. Psychiatric Nurses must be Registered Nurses. Although 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees are preferred, you may choose to begin your career with a 2-year associate’s degree or a 2- to 3-year diploma through a hospital-based training program. To become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist, you will need additional education at the graduate level, usually two-year Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who earn master’s degrees in psychiatric-mental health Nursing. 

The occupational outlook for Nurse Practitioners in the field of mental health Nursing is 31%, according to a NurseJournal.org article, which is much faster than other positions within the United States. This job has seen an increase in need for licensed Nurses as mental health awareness has begun to rise throughout the country. The average rate of pay for a mental health Nurse is $96,460 per year or $46.37 per hour.

Are you a Mental Health Nurse? Do you enjoy your career choice? We would love to hear about your experiences. Please comment below. Thank you!

Topics: psychiatric nurse, mental health nursing

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