Psychiatric nurses serve an essential function for society, for they determine diagnoses for people with mental disorders, provide care for sick patients and implement treatments to help manage or improve their disorders. Although a different set of goals should be designed for each patient, there are certain broad objectives that should be achieved by psychiatric nurses when caring for all patients with mental disorders.
Diagnose the Patient
The nurse must first assess the patient and accurately determine the diagnosis regarding what type of mental disorder he suffers from. During this process, the nurse must observe, interview and administer tests on the patient to gain a complete and thorough understanding of the patient, his personality, behavior, attitude and character. Based on the results, the psychiatric nurse must establish a diagnosis and then determine the appropriate method of treating the mental illness of that particular patient.
Many psychotic symptoms of patients with mental disorders include aggressive behavior, violent outbursts and suicidal attempts. For all patients, psychiatric nurses must prevent the patient from harming himself, family members or workers by providing adequate protection and safety equipment to the patient and to any other people in danger. Additionally, the violent rampages inhibit the nurse's ability to cure or rehabilitate the patient and, therefore, psychiatric nurses must communicate and work with the patient to try to diminish or eliminate the mental suffering and negative emotions that provoke him and cause the outbursts. The environment which the patient is living in during treatment should always be a safe, comfortable and therapeutic environment.
To effectively improve or cure the mental illness that impairs the patient, the nurse must establish a strong and caring relationship with the patient to attain his trust so he will adhere to the nurse's advice regarding treatment. Thus, the psychiatric nurse must build a good relationship with the patient by enabling him to actively participate with the communications and activities regarding treatment. To build a strong relationship, nurses should demonstrate their support to the patient by meeting his primary needs, listening carefully to what he says, assisting him as he struggles to complete routine activities or allowing him to complete the tasks on his own if he can do it correctly without the assistance of a nurse.
Teach the Patient
To provide treatment, psychiatric nurses generally must educate the patient about the specific condition of his mental illness and teach him how to cope with the problem. The best method for a patient to cope with the problem is to view the challenge of recovery in a phased manner involving gradual and practical steps. The patient must have a strong morale and self-esteem to be cured from the mental disorder, and nurses also should strive to improve the confidence of the patient, educate him regarding the importance of treating the disorder and enhance his enthusiasm for getting completely cured of the illness.