I’ve come to realise that your nursing training is what you make of it and everybody’s experience will be different.
One thing that does concern me is the lack of physical assessment skills that student mental health nurses are taught at university
Just because you don’t cover something at university, you might encounter it on placement, and vice versa.
But one thing that does concern me is the lack of physical assessment skills that student mental health nurses are taught at university.
I have seen very little physical assessment in practice and although it should be, it’s not routine practice
After two physical assessment skill sessions with a tutor who is both an RMN and RGN, our cohort requested more as we found it invaluable.
In all honesty I have seen very little physical assessment in practice and although it should be it, it’s not routine practice.
Let’s say, for example, you are a CPN who sees a patient once a fortnight. The patient is on medication and suffering from side effects, although doesn’t really mention them. You may well be the only professional contact this patient has.
Why shouldn’t physical assessment be a routine part of mental health care?
If a patient has a physical complaint than they are more often or not sent to the GP. But if we are to give holistic care, more consideration needs to be given to the physical implications of mental health care.
It wasn’t until after these sessions that I realised how awful it was that I didn’t have these skills before.
During my next placement I will give more consideration to physical health and try to develop these skills further.
Do other mental health student nurses feel that physical assessment falls by the wayside during their training? Have any mentors placed an emphasis on physical assessment in your placements?
Natalie Moore is the mental health student nurse editor for studentnursingtimes.net.