This little article will try and make people see what it is like working as a health care assistant within a mental health hospital. There are many different names a healthcare worker will be known as, such names as Nursing assistant, Health care assistant, Nursing Assistant or Nursing Auxiliary just to name a few. To work as a health care worker there is at the minute but it is looking like the health authority may change that in the future. One of the main things you need is a good understanding of people, a caring side no matter what happens and to be none judgemental attitude towards people no matter why they are there.
People (patients) will be in hospital for all sorts of reasons; I have come across people that have been admitted due to developing mental health problems due to the stress of being in prison. Patients come in for reasons of being abused by people known to them, Witnessing traumatic events such as war crimes to them or others. Eating disorders, Schizophrenia, self harm due to abuse or trauma. Depression and bipolar are just to name a few. Yes they are or can be big issues for newly diagnosed patients but with the right medication treatment and therapy to deal with problems they can be managed well on the ward and in the community.
Just because some one has this diagnosis it does not mean that you have to cross the street when you see them or that they are dangerous. The best and most supportive thing you can do for someone with a mental health problem is say HELLO or just ask HOW ARE YOU? Then be there for them, listen to them and treat them like a friend or an individual. Don’t judge them because of an illness. Be an ear for them, a person to talk to or just sit with them and spend time with them. Don’t get me wrong it can be difficult at times and you will hear stories of a horrific nature whether its something they have done or they have had done to them. All you need to do is listen and not show expressions of shock or horror in your face. Listen, give guidance if they need it and be supportive no matter what. Some patients may have urges to hurt themselves at times and all you need to do is be supportive and try and guide them away from wanting to hurt themselves. This can be difficult and mentally stressful on you. So no matter how mentally strong you think you are you will need to unload on your mentor or a colleague just so the stress of the information does not well and build up and stress you out.
With what I have written the job role is extremely rewarding and mentally fulfilling and when you have had input with a patient and you see them doing well and then they move on to a better placement or even back home. You must think that you have had a massive input on that persons life and made it better. Doing this job is definitely not for the money but the emotional rewards is massive. I work in a very stressful job as a health care assistant and have been doing for over 19 years. The place I work is very demanding and can be physically demanding at times due to the nature of the patients and their problems but no matter what happens I can’t see myself working anywhere else. If you decide to become a health care assistant you will come across people (staff) that are good at de-escalation, dealing with confrontation, and one or two staff will be good all round no matter what is going on on the ward.
Myself, without trying to sound big headed, I can deal with most situations such as aggression, confrontation, self harm or just a shoulder to cry on. I always pass over to the nurse in charge what has been disgust and enter everything in the patients notes whether it be hand written or electronic patient notes. At the end of every week or day depending how stressful it has been I sit in a room with someone I feel I can talk to and unload onto them. What you need to remember is when you speak to the colleague is not to be afraid to show your emotions when chatting, this helps you release the stress.