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Call for mental health nurses to recognise patients' poor physical health


it always used to baffle us on a general medical ward as to why patients were transferred to us as soon as they had the hint of a medical problem and then we had to nurse their, somethimes complex, mh problems as well with only the support of a psychiatrist for perhaps one or two consultations. it seems that we were better as generalists at coping with mh problems than mh nurses are with medical problems. we even had one depressed patient who was bed bound transferred to us for care of a pressure sore. we used to have at least three months psych. in our training and had some rudimentary knowledge which we managed to develop on our ward due to the experience we gained with quite a wide range of psychopathologies. we were also good at detecting problems in our medical patients and referring them for consultation to the appropriate services or, with our medical team, treating them ourselves until their medical condition had stabilised and they could move on in the knowledge that if they also had a medical condiiton there was no chance of transferring them to a psychiatric unit. actually i enjoyed the challenge and all the knowledge and insight gained from the experience. our only problem was often lack of the time this group of patients usually needed, on a busy acute medical ward. I think my training in the late 1970s was very broad and prepared me to undertake most of the challenges we were confronted with on an acute and chronic medical ward of an international university hospital and we also learned on the job.

Posted date

21 March, 2011

Posted time

2:14 pm


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