TOPIC: REFLECTIVE ESSAY
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This essay presents a reflection based on the case scenario of Bill, who suffers from a mental health issue. In nursing practice, while dealing with conditions related to mental health require a higher level of competency skills to manage and understand the needs of the mental health patient (Söderberg, Sundbaum, & Engström, 2017). The process of development of these skills involves the ability to reflect on daily nursing practices, thus reflection is an important part of the nursing curriculum (Wain, 2017). It helps to critically analyze the situation and learn from the different conditions or situations which present as challenges, in effective and therapeutic decision-making processes, providing care, and obtaining positive treatment outcomes in mental health patients. The process of reflection is well expressed through various steps of GIBBS reflective cycle, namely, “description of the event, describing feelings and thoughts, evaluation of the situation, and analysis, conclusion and action”, which has been discussed in the essay (Patterson et al., 2016).
As I was leaving the hospital after the completion of my shift, I heard a man yelling at people before I could even see him. He looked cold and disheveled. He was found waving his half-drunk bottle of wine and had a staggering gait. When I tried to walk past him, he yelled at me, saying, “watch your back or they will get you.” The incident left me in a state of shock. (Paterson & Chapman, 2013).
Emotions: When I heard the yelling of the man, I was scared and too shocked to respond. After a few seconds, I rather hurriedly try to escape from the situation as I did not feel safe at that time, as I heard him yell, “watch your back or they will get you.” I was also very angry at the guy who seemed like a stranger, for misbehaving with the pass goers and yelling and shouting in a half-drunk state of mind. Even before I always feared being caught up in such a situation while working with patients in a mental health ward. I had never come across such an incidence and it made it feel anxious and did not know what to do about the situation I found myself into.
Thoughts: I was trying to gather or remember where have I seen this man before and after a few minutes, I was able to recollect, that he was Bill, the patient with a chronic mental health crisis, who was admitted in the mental health ward recently for an acute episode of violence and aggression. I quickly connected the dots in my mind which resulted in an understanding of this behavior (Wain, 2017). I was curious to know about where were his family members and how did he manage to be alone on the road with a bottle of wine. I thought of calling the hospital staff to verify his name and thought if they could have the contact number of his carers who could be called immediately for his assistance. After this situation, I was able to understand how alcohol abuse can alter the mental state of an individual. Many researches deduce a significant association between alcohol consumption and mental health issues, and alcohol use disorders are known to cause psychosocial discordance along with predisposing an individual to multiple comorbid conditions. I also thought of the lectures in which the topic of alcohol and drug abuse was discussed in details and I began to make mental notes of symptoms pointing towards the diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. The main points on my mental notes list was staggering gait, excessive yelling, inability to have adequate control over one own body movements and inability to control the thought process and actions. All these signs were evident in Bill (Campbell et al., 2019).
Learnings: On the evaluation of the situation I realized that I did not have a proactive approach towards handling the situation of Bill (Ardian, Hariyati & Afifah, 2019). I should have offered Bill some comfort by reaching out to him and bringing him inside the hospital. When I shared the incident with my nursing supervisor, who was still on duty, she helped me to understand that the role of a nurse is to exhibit competency skills in all critical circumstances (Potter, 2015). She encouraged me to talk to Bill and introduce myself. The role of the nurse involves building a therapeutic relationship with the patient and understanding the needs of the patient (Felton, Repper & Avis, 2018). According to research conducted by Powley, (2013) the main signs of aggression include raised voice, yelling, verbal threats, or gestures. These behaviors occur when the patients either feel disempowered or lack of acknowledgment to gain attention from their family members. Both of which can be true in Bill’s case, as he was a homeless man. No carer or family member was close to him or who could take care of him. According to Felton et al., (2017), The primary role of a nurse in dealing with patients with mental health issues is to offer acceptance and moral and emotional support to the patient by developing therapeutic communication. However, the existence of tension still exists while dealing with the patients with mental crisis such as Bill. Thus, adequate training of nurses during their academic years is essential to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Application: I attempted to help him and make him comfortable. Bill was reluctant to be admitted at first, and continued to frighten me and yell at me, despite which I continued to wrap him in the blanket and talk to him in a way polite and assuring manner (Delaforce & Dolan, 2013). I told him that no one is coming after him and he did not have to be afraid. I asked the staff to inform his family members and admit him immediately. After Bill was stable and fell asleep, I started the process of the literature search to identify reasons by which patients get violent and to obtain knowledge on how to act under clinically challenging scenarios such as this. According to research conducted by Archer et al., (2013), it was suggested that most of the patients become violent or aggressive under the influence of the alcohol or any other form of intoxication. It was recommended that adequate counselling for addiction and rehabilitation must be provided to the mental health patients and keeping active surveillance on such patients to improve the treatment outcomes. Consultation to a psychologist was also provided for Bill’s condition and he was re-admitted for care and observation. I also researched on the challenges faced by the healthcare professionals to develop a therapeutic relationship with the mental health patient. According to the research conducted by Yoder, (2010), It was noted that the health care professionals easily fell back into their traditional practices or behavior, despite the new learning received from the educators, this is where the role of reflection becomes critical by re-enforcing the learning obtained from a situational experience to another and provides a much effective way of fortifying the learned principles or outcomes. According to A researcher named Epstein, (2014), also highlighted the challenge of increase in the nursing workload in the menta health set-ups which makes it difficult for the nurses to effectively manage their patients and communicate with them effectively by spending time with them. For instance, in case of Bill, when he was first admitted for mental illness, establishing a therapeutic relationship was not made, which led to severe consequences as this. This challenge can be addressed by the clinical governance staff and senior nursing professionals by providing sufficient resources for meeting the needs of the patient and by providing training to the nursing staff or students to establish therapeutic communication under the supervision of the senior nurses (Entwistle & Watt, 2013). The healthcare worker should focus on leaving no communication gap between them and the patient (Sedig, 2016).
The process of reflection helped me to understand the importance of developing the skill of establishing therapeutic communication with the patients in clinical practice, especially those who suffer from mental health conditions. The impact of therapeutic communication can lead to assurance, calmness in the patient, and inculcate the feeling of security and helps in building a trustworthy relationship between the patient and the nurse. The role of reflection in nursing practice is crucial for identifying the areas of weakness and opportunities to improvise when faced with a similar situation in the future. After the process of reflection, I feel empowered and competent to deal with difficult situations with mental health patients with more confidence. For nurses to develop this skill the role of senior nurses and staff members in crucial.Staffing requirements of the patients must be met and by adequate training to the nursing staff or students to establish therapeutic communication under the supervision of the senior nurses must be provided to improve the quality of care and treatment outcomes in patients with mental health illnesses.
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