I am currently volunteering as a nurse at Westchester General Hospital, assigned to the psychiatric ward. My primary duties included working with patients by providing basic care and assisting with administrative tasks. I would help with monitoring of the patients, taking of vital signs, communicating with them, and observing their mental and physical state, making appropriate notes and recording the data. For some patients, I may assist with hygiene or everyday tasks, while offering general friendliness and emotional support for patients and identifying their needs and concerns. On the administrative side, I work with patient files, keeping them updated and ensuring that they are accurate. Under supervision, I help with medication management and administration as well.
The tasks that are assigned are a combination of individual and teamwork. In my experience there, it does require some level of interprofessional collaboration. All the nurses employed and volunteers have to work as a team to ensure that all patients are taken care of and the data is recorded properly. The psychiatric floor also has safety protocols in place, so communication is required among the staff to ensure that everything is safe and secure for the patients’ wellbeing. Nurses work closely with doctors in administering treatment, and physicians rely on the notes from more intimate daily interactions that nurses have with the patients. At times, there were also collaborations with other disciplines such as social workers or if patients had comorbidities, with physicians from those respective departments. Interprofessional collaboration benefits and leads to better clinical outcomes for patients as healthcare providers can provide better care to patients with physical and psychiatric comorbidities which occurs fairly often (Fernando et al., 2017). Overall, the clinical experience of volunteering in a psychiatric ward has enriched my experience and perspective regarding the importance of mental health and holistic care for patients. With the nuances and regulations in treating mental health, the provision of healthcare is effective only if it is a team collaborative effort in addressing arising challenges.
Fernando, A., Attoe, C., Jaye, P., Cross, S., Pathan, J., & Wessely, S. (2017). Improving interprofessional approaches to physical and psychiatric comorbidities through simulation. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 13(4), 186–193. Web.