Working in Behavioral Health is certainly a niche that not all health care professionals embrace. But for those who love this challenge, it takes great strength to remain positive under the strain of working with the mental health population, since the patients feed off the emotions and the reactions of their caregivers.
You will do well to invest in your own mental health by taking time to implement tactics to keep staying positive.
- See Your Patients as Individuals and not Diagnoses. When one of your primary goals is to manage symptoms of a disease process, you may have your blinders on, seeing only the diagnosis as representative of the patient. While this is a vital detail, this tells you nothing about their history, their likes and dislikes and their own unique emotional makeup.
- Remind Yourself Daily of the Difference You are Making. It would likely be a deception to say you work long 12 hour shifts through the night because this is your calling. But it is usually true that they put 150% of themselves into the work, because it is more than just a means to an end. Don't forget that the little gestures of compassion that you show your patients have made their day a little easier. You may be the only person who demonstrates some level of care towards them all day. Never underestimate the powerful role you play.
- Give Yourself a Break. Although it may feel as though there are not enough hours in the shift to complete all the necessary tasks, you must find time to decompress. Avoid the bad habit of eating a rushed lunch while catching up on charting. Retreat to a quiet area where you can nurture yourself for a few moments. Catch up on some reading or listen to some music that helps you to escape for a moment. Even if you feel that you are losing those valuable 30 minutes, you may find that a recharged you, is a more productive you.
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