The role of a registered mental health nurse can differ massively from other NHS jobs, from standard nursing roles, to occupation therapy jobs. Everything is different from the type of patients you are dealing with, to the medical team you’re working within. In this article, we will have a quick look at the type of duties you can be expected to perform as a RMN. If you are currently training to be a nurse, then working in mental health might not be the first area you consider working in, but hopefully this article shows it to be just as a rewarding experience as other types of nursing.
Firstly, a lot of your day to day roles within mental health nursing is similar to that of a registered nurse, just with a different patient-type. For example, you’ll still be expected to assess and plan care requirements that fall under nursing roles, organise workloads, and administer medication. You’ll also be liaising with doctors and other members of the mental health team in a similar way too.
In any medical team, it is usual for nurses to have the most patient interaction. As an RMN though, this contact with patients and building trusting relationships is especially important. As you need to reassure patients going through troubling mental problems, and they need to see you as someone they can trust. This then has a knock on effect to there being a higher level of trust with the rest of the medical team. With something as fragile as mental health, trust can have a lot more impact on the effectiveness of treatment, than in physical health.
This level of interaction and trust also goes beyond the patient to their relatives too. Dealing with mental health can take a heavy toll on not just those directly affected, but those close to the patient too. Therefore, keeping clear lines of communication open with them, helps the process as a whole. Unlike physical health, it might be hard for relatives to understand what the specific problem with a patient is. Therefore, this particular communicative element to the role, may be more time consuming than other areas of health.
Finally, overcoming mental health issues is a very personal one. As an RMN, you cannot expect to see the same direct results to treatment as you would in other areas. For treatments to be successful, patients need to constantly be going to therapy sessions, group activities, and other forms of therapeutic activities. An RMN can help in this process by constantly being encouraging about these activities and reminding them the importance of these activities in their road to recovery. Yet doing so, in such a way that a patient is doing these activities of their own volition and determination.