Elizabeth's Psych Nursing Story

This month, we hear from Dr. Elizabeth Gregory, the Corporate Behavioral Health Program Director with Amedisys:

"I wanted to really hear them and to let each one know that he or she was valued as a person."

While in nursing school, I sang in the chorus led by a chaplain at a local hospital. He asked me to join him to provide music on the psychiatric unit.  There was a young man on the unit who had not spoken since his admission to the unit. He would not make eye contact with anyone. While I was singing "If Ever I Would Leave You" from Camelot, he looked up at me and started singing along. I knelt down and he made eye contact with eyes of such a deep blue, you felt you could dive into them. We completed the song together.

Then, in my psych rotation on the same unit, a middle aged woman with schizophrenia was reacting to hearing an ambulance outside as this alarmed her. The psychiatrist did not notice the siren and treated her as though she were hallucinating. I pointed out to him that the ambulance was pulling in and he then heard it.

I realized how our patients are not really listened to – how we assume we know what is going on in their minds. I wanted to really hear them and to let each one know that he or she was valued as a person. I have been advocating for them for forty years now and still love my work.

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