• Tom Robinson

Mental health nurse found 'incompetent' after failure to give antipsychotic drugs

I don't particularly enjoy having to highlight the failures and shortcomings of mental health care in the U.K, but without people knowing the extent of the problems that occur, then focus and attention will not be drawn to it, and the state of things will not improve.


Although I don't support Piers Morgan (who's been so vocal this week), in all of his opinions, I do agree with people having the right to their own opinions and freedom of speech.


In view of that fact and the fact that I primarily support the most severely mentally ill patients, I'm going to take the risk of voicing my complaints about the current mental health system once again.


An article that I read online yesterday, found a mental health nurse to be incompetent after she failed to give antipsychotic drugs to patients, and it got me thinking once again about what really goes on in our psychiatric wards.


In my last admission, apart from the failures that I've already mentioned (which were largely due to staff shortages), there were sometimes errors in care which could have been avoided had the member of staff had thorough enough training and education.


When a bank staff nurse was administering medication one evening, I noticed that the drug they were giving me was a slightly different colour, and that there was a greater amount of it than I'd been being prescribed.


I knew that nothing had changed either dose or drug wise in my last meeting with the 'consultant', so I questioned what I was being given. It turned out to be completely the wrong drug at completely the wrong dose. I asked to speak to a doctor, my request being immediately denied (there's never a duty doctor that comes to the ward) - hospital?! Oh dear.


I was so livid that I then refused to take anything the nurse tried to give me after that because - why the hell should I?!


These medical errors led to me refusing medication completely which then resulted in me being bulldozed and forcibly injected, my God it was stressful!


I point out these failures on behalf of those that are either too ill to notice them. or haven't got the courage to question how their care is being handled. I especially worry for those with combined mental health problems and learning difficulties, because they're so trusting and they're completely at the mercy of the staff that oversee their care.


The article about the incompetent nurse made me think about how we need to focus on training and education when it comes to our mental health staff and other medical professionals.


The first thing to make clear to those who are considering working in the field, is that the person needs to possess the qualities of compassion, empathy and understanding in bucket-loads in the first instance, and then the medical knowledge and education.


The staff that possess these traits stand out a mile from the others, but there isn't enough of them so they're stretched and overwhelmed, because all of the patients want to be treated and supported by them alone and not anyone else.


These excellent staff who combine their medical expertise with compassion and understanding, need to be plucked out, financially rewarded and then given educational roles where they can instruct everyone else in how to carry out the job in the most professional and effective manner.


When it comes to our medical students we need to be telling them that if they want to be a practicing psychiatrist then they need to be excellent communicators, and have the ability to give informed consent in a language that their patients understand.


It is so apparent when a psychiatrist doesn't have this empathetic approach and it really is the difference between life and death sometimes because a good psychiatrist gives their patient so much hope through the bond of trust that is built up and created between them.


Unfortunately, (I know this from my 20 year NHS psychiatric safari), the patient is never assigned to the same psychiatrist. There's constant chopping and changing and then the relationship has to be built up from scratch all over again, every time the patient's care is handed over.


A lot of the problems in mental health care come down to a lack of funds, but there is also a big oversight when it comes to education.


As usual I am prepared to offer my services with helping to sort out these problems, rather than just pointing them out and complaining, which I know isn't always the most constructive thing to do.


I feel so passionately about the whole mental health/illness dilemma though, because I've been so profoundly affected by it all and I don't want others to have to go through the hellish nightmare that I have.


If you would like to read the incompetent nurse article then you can find it here.


I've had a few more suggestions for posts so thank you, and I will be discussing them over the next few weeks.


I've also had so many supportive messages and it's just so satisfying to be reaching and helping others.


Please continue to share these posts and the weblink so that others can benefit from the messages that I am sending out.


Thanks for reading,


Speak to you soon,

TR

www.dyingtostayalive.com



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