Who becomes a Mental Health Nurse?
A mental health nurse is a specialized branch of nursing, and is best suited to people who not only have a deeply-rooted disposition to care for people, but who are also able to manage the stresses that come with working under challenging circumstances. Mental illness is a field that comes with high highs, and lowest lows, and a mental health nurse needs to be able to take it in their stride. On the one hand, the profession can be endlessly rewarding – helping and supporting people through a very difficult time in their lives, and making a positive impact in their recovery.
However, the other hand is a little bleaker, when some days involve huge amounts of stress due to understaffing, inadequate resources, or more challenging patients who require extra attention. Those suffering from certain mental illnesses can be prone to psychotic episodes that involve screaming, aggression, even violence. And since the mental health nurse is usually the one on the frontline, they get the brunt of these behaviors. Working in this specific field requires a strong character, but also a gentle heart.
Because for all the tough-as-nails countenance this type of nurse has to embody in order to preserve their sanity, they also need to understand that ultimately they are there as a support, counsel, and guide for someone going through what could likely be the worst chapter of their lives. So yes, it’s a tough environment, but the reward of being part of a life-saving difference for someone makes it worth it.