Suicide Risk Assessment, comment

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It’s a great relief to comment on this topic because it is one of the reasons why nurses should be well rounded. One of the most important skills to develop is sound assessment technique. Unbiased attitude on the nurse’s side so that patients will open up and give vital information which could help save a sentinel event from happening. Last year, my workplace lost an elder patient due to inability to see in between. The patient was depressed and was treated for just his physical diagnosis, and not detecting his emotional state. When he got discharged, patient went home and hanged himself.Very sad and such should not have been the case. l support the concept of prying into the patient’s life to ascertain areas which may need further investigation. For instance, as nurses taking assessment, we ask if patients take street drugs like cocaine, heroin and the likes. sometimes patients tell nurses out right that they have major issues like loosing their houses to foreclosure. This should trigger closer look into the patients demeanor to see if she or he is deeply affected. Some may mask their emotional state initially and then open up as they build trust with their nurses. We are responsible for these group of individuals who depend on us to model ways to handle life stressor at least as their advocates. There are always methods of gathering such information when nurses take them seriously. With the state of the our nations economy, more people will be getting depressed and suicide may be on the increase. Nurses please beware.

Original Post:
July 13, 2009
Title: Suicide Risk Assessment in Nursing Practice, comment
Nurses should not find themselves in uncomfortable positions when they reach the psychiatric section of an intake assessment. We must remember that medicine is holistic. The mental health of our patients is just as important as their physical health. If the patient is on psychiatric medications, we need to know that. We must know what the medications are, their doses, and their actions. If a person states that they have “chronic back pain”, this should not be any worse for an RN to hear than “I am chronically depressed”. Since depression can lead to suicidal thoughts, it should only be natural that the RN asks the patient if they have ever thought about suicide. It is of utmost importance to treat the entire person.

Original Post:
May 26, 2009
Title: Suicide Risk Assessment in Nursing Practice
I wanted to briefly address the need to emphasize suicide risk assessment in the acute care setting. I see in this inpatient setting a hesitancy by many nurses to assess patients for suicide risk. As acute care nurses, we often overlook the psychiatric components to our patients health and as a result, do not give the care often needed by our patient population. As psychiatric illness can play the role of contributing factor in some physical illness, I do see it as necessary to not forget this aspect of our nursing assessment, especially on patient admission. We are often afraid of offending or creating an awkward introduction to our patient/ nurse relationship, however I do see this as an obstacle that we, as nurses need to overcome to provide adequate care to our patients. The more open we are in addressing psychiatric needs, such as suicide risk or other chronic psych illnesses, the better trust we will build with our patients.

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