My Psych Nursing Story - B.R.

APNA News: The Psychiatric Nursing Voice  |  May 2016 Members' Corner Edition

This month, we hear from a nurse who has been a psychiatric-mental health nurse for 39 years:

"Within the first week, I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life."

I had always wanted to be a kindergarten teacher and I don't recall what changed my mind. However, one summer, my life direction became obvious.

I worked as a nursing assistant on an inpatient medical unit, really enjoying the patients and spending time with them. Mid-way through the summer I was re-assigned to a newly opened psychiatric unit. Within the first week, I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life: work with individuals with mental illness. I was intrigued by their stories, and I admired and learned a great deal from the nurses and physicians caring for them.

Over my 39 years as a psychiatric nurse, I have come to appreciate the challenges our patients face every day, admire their perseverance, and respect who they are beyond their diagnostic label. My patients have taught me so much, and I feel blessed when they trust me enough to "let me in". The joy I experience when patients tell me "you really listened to me and that made a difference in my life" is such a gift. I have been nurtured as much as I have nurtured.

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