Home' International Nurses Day : Intenational Nurses Day Contents NAA H50
THE AGE Saturday, May 8, 2010
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Semon Wain says
nurses can have a
positive impact on
The mind and body work together so
it makes sense to take a holistic
approach to mental health nursing.
ANDREW ETHERD reports.
Recognition that mental health
nursing has a place in the
general hospital has been slow
in coming, but coming it is, and
Eastern Health is taking a lead by
establishing psychiatric teams in its
Semon Wain is a Consultation
Liaison Psychiatric Nurse at Eastern
Health, based at Box Hill Hospital.
''This is an evolving role within Box
Hill Hospital and Eastern Health,'' she
says. ''The positions have been around
for about 12 months and Eastern
Health has done a brilliant job. These
positions are not in every general
hospital in Victoria, they are a
relatively new initiative, particularly
for suburban general hospitals.''
Separating the treatment of the
mental and the physical has a long
history, but is without any functional
basis, Ms Wain believes. ''To treat
people holistically you have to treat
their mental health as well as their
physical wellbeing, and some people
come in with an underlying mental
illness that is causing physical
problems. But a lot of the patients
who come in with challenging
have mental illness,
they may have a
delirium caused by
The role has
There is a clinical
which Ms Wain
deals personally with the patients and
with their families, there is an
administrative component, working to
develop guidelines and policies, and
there is the vital educational
component. ''If I see a patient who
has been referred to us for
behavioural management because
they are wandering around and
becoming agitated, I will do some
informal education about delirium
and dementia and what that looks
like, and how to better manage such
patients. Today I have done two direct
assessments of people who seemed to
have a mental illness and have not
had any services before, so we will do
an assessment to see if they are in
need of psychiatric care, and then do
the appropriate linkages, perhaps send
then to a private hospital, or link
them in with public mental health
services, or back to their GP with
''Post-assessment we will monitor
the patient, which will give the staff
explanations about why this person
might be behaving in a particular
way. It helps facilitate that kind of
holistic care that the nurses on the
general wards, who are very busy,
don't have time to understand fully.
''We recently ran a workshop that
involved risk assessment, mental state
examination, what various mental
states look like, and then having the
nurses come up with management
plans for those types of patients.''
After becoming a nurse 20 years
ago, Ms Wain soon found her way to
''I really liked the opportunity to
talk to people, get to know them,
and learn more about them as a
whole person,'' Ms Wain says.
''General nurses are busy and don't
get that opportunity. It is about being
able to help people by talking.
''I really like it! It's a rewarding job.
You feel like you are actually doing
something, you are helping the
patient, but you are also helping the
staff. You will always have a positive
impact on someone's life.''
Advance your career
The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Monash University offers you
the opportunity to expand your knowledge and further your career through
high quality, innovative programs that are responsive to the needs of the
healthcare industry and engaging for students.
Our programs can be tailored to suit your career aspirations, particularly in the
areas of midwifery, practice development, paediatrics, mental health, critical care,
emergency, medical/surgical, older persons nursing, and palliative care.
The school offers a vibrant and friendly learning environment with programs at
campuses in Clayton, Gippsland and Peninsula.
Monash's teaching quality in health care is consistently recognised by the Australian
Government through the highest amount of performance-based funding of any
university in Australia . Source: DEEWR Learning and Teaching Performance Fund
For more information on all our programs visit: www.med.monash.edu/nursing
Bendigo Health would like to thank their dedicated nurses and midwives for their hard work
and professional commitment in providing the best in health care to our community.
If you are interested in being part of a dynamic health service and are looking for a
great lifestyle in one of Australia's fastest growing regional cities contact:
Kate Hyett, nursing resource manager 03 5454 8392
or visit www.bendigohealth.org.au
Bendigo Health Nurses and Midwives
Do you want to talk confidentially to someone about your drinking,
medication or drug use? Are there some issues related to your Mental
Health you would like some support with?
VNHP is a free, independent discreet service for nurses, midwives, students of nursing and
midwifery with concerns relating to substance use or mental health.
Call us on (03) 9415 7551; we are happy to provide information without requiring the caller to
provide their personal details.
We are at Level 8, Aikenhead Building, 27 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy
and at rural locations in Ballarat, Shepparton and Traralgon.
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