Melissa Powex • 8th October 2017
My day to day job….what do I do?
Dish out medication? Talk to Doctors? Run around?
Well, something I want to try and debunk with knowledge and information is some of the taboo that is connected to mental health and how to access help and try to make change. A good place for me to start is explaining what I do for a job and what I think I do to help people with mental health difficulties.
Why do I think my job is relevant to personal training and why do I want to try and combine the 2? Well…there is PLENTY of research out there evidencing the importance of improving physical health to improve mental health. Lifestyle medicine is a new wave of medicine and quite a few people are doing it! Looking after your body and your bodily functions, sugar intake, fat intake, exercise, has a huge impact on our physical health.
Why do I think knowing what I do as a nurse day to day is relevant to wanting to educate you guys and use my skills within the personal training/fitness world? Because I think that knowledge is important and the perception of my job may actually be something very different to what I actually do and could potentially help you with….with both physical health goals and mental health goals?
You may have only ever seen the ‘traditional psychiatric nurse’ on Eastenders or in Films – but let me tell you, these environments unfortunately are where the most unwell people in society are and they can be very unpleasant places to be. If you were to find yourself in one either as a patient or a visitor, it can be quite a shock to the system.
You don’t find yourself as a patient on a psychiatric ward unless you are a danger to yourself or others. This could be with psychosis, depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, OCD or a combination of elements of the above. The nurses role in these environments are key and are the glue of the ward.
HEALTH AND SAFETY - Nurses need skills in risk assessing and ensuring safety for the patient and for others.
OBSERVING BEHAVIOUR – Nurses try to unpick and understand what different behaviours and communications mean from different people.
SALES - There is then, nurses handling medication – where you have people that don’t want to take medication as they might think it is poison. You try to educate them that things might be better with medication. Simple task hey!? Knowing that a patient doesn’t take medication, they are likely to attack someone later in the day because they are paranoid and their mental state is so chaotic? How does a nurse pitch that sale when someone thinks you are out to get them!?
LIBERTY - On top of this, nurses have to make sure that patients who are entitled to go out and get used to being back out in the community and risk assess them to be safe to go out....easy job right?!
All of the above is all before lunch time by the way guys. Not even 3 hours into the shift.
DOCUMENTATION – Reports, daily observations, words on a computer that will stand up in court if anything was to go wrong. But only when you have time to sit at a computer after actually looking after your up to 20 patients needs!
While all the above goes on, nurses are expected to treat patients with dignity, kindness, compassion, sensitivity, indivudalisitic, care, be courteous and courageous.
Working on a ward is really hard- and is imperitave to gain experience and understand the most difficult part of the job, but it’s very different to my current nurse role – where I work as a nurse with teenagers in the community.
I often see young people who have attended A&E for risky/concerning behaviours or events and they do not warrant being in a psychiatric hospital environment. My first meeting uses all of the above skills from working in wards – I have 1 hour to ask the right questions. I have to work out whether school is difficult, difficulties at home, in relationships, is there a cognitive/learning issue that hasn’t been identified/noticed, are they telling me the full truth, are any family mental health problems impacting on the young person. I have had to learn both what questions to ask (which are often uncomfortable questions) and not only ask the question, but try and get honest answers.
Following from these initial conversations, I then have to work out quickly – what will help. Does this person need –
Why is all of this relevant?
The skills and knowledge I have developed as a mental health nurse, means that I ‘get’ different people and am well experienced to understand behaviours, when communication doesn’t match behaviour. These nursing skills, I believe applies to people who say they want to lose weight – but do the opposite of what they should do! I have spent years learning how to sensitively ask difficult questions to get to the more accurate answers as to why people do or do not want to do something. I ‘get’ that there are many layers to every person and although I don’t want to be intrusive, I have a different perspective on how to help.
I have a psychoanalytic training in understanding the unconscious meaning behind behaviours and it has to be said – I’m normally pretty on target with my predictions of why people do what they do. This is partly many years of experience, but also many years of learning.
I am a personal trainer as I have always enjoyed fitness and feeling strong and in shape – I wanted to understand how fitness works and link my expertise from having worked in psychiatry to supporting people with their physical health goals. I am well rehearsed at understanding both your physical and mental health needs and would like the opportunity to change your trajectory for the future.
Let me help you develop your mental strength but in more ways than 1.
DM/Email me for consultation/discussion.