What is an RPN anyway? Why wouldn’t you just become a real nurse? Aren’t you scared of working there? Tell me some crazy stories!
These comments and questions are asked to me on a regular basis as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse. I am a proud RPN at the Regina General Hospital on the Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry Units and a Casual Psychosocial Rehabilitation Worker with Phoenix Residential Society.
Unfortunately there is a stigma around mental health and mental health professionals that I believe not only stems from an extreme lack of understanding, but from a lack of general interest in mental health and mental illness. I am often questioned as to why I have chosen this profession instead of “regular nursing“ and the truth is that I want to assist with ending the stigma and shame that surrounds those who suffer from mental illness by knowing and understanding them as a whole person, not just as their diagnosis.
It is often assumed to be frustrating not having a cure, answer, or blood test that can tell you how to `fix` someone when they are diagnosed with mental illness. I don’t feel as though this causes frustration, but inspiration. I challenge myself everyday to connect with my patients on a therapeutic level, to earn and gain trust from them, to council them in their lowest times, to support and empower them and to help them to ultimately help themselves reach their recovery goals.
If I can walk with my patients on their journey to recovery and assist with instilling hope and any form of light in their life, then I am going home with a smile on my face and I am just fine with not being a ‘regular’ nurse.
Kristin Foote, Registered Psychiatric Nurse