During my 7th semester’s posting, I was posted at Hospital Bahagia, Ulu Kinta, a psychiatric hospital at Perak for 4 weeks to complete my mental health posting. Despite the mixed emotions of worry and nervousness prior to going there due to the lack of experience in handling mentally ill patients, I took it as a challenge to use it as a learning experience and learn more about the patients there.
With just only 2 students from my cohort of nursing students posted there, we were unsure on what to expect from the patients and staff there. As the public, we only heard stories of the hospital but to work in the environment was a whole different experience.
Fortunately, 4 weeks there was indeed an experience not everyone gets and I counted myself lucky to be given the chance to work there. For instance, I learnt on how to interact with patients of various mental health conditions such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders and Depression. Handling of patients there are very different from handling patients at normal hospitals where I was posted before. I was taught on ways of approaching them, interview questions we could ask them, defence techniques in case of an attack and the therapies they carry out for the patients.
Our clinical instructor guided us on the process on admission and discharging of patients. My colleague and I were also able to see how Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) was done on patients that required them. To our suprise, we could also see the difference in the patient after going through several cycles of ECT especially their behaviour whereby they were calmer and less aggressive.
In addition, we also were able to perform mental health rehabilitation sessions with the patients there. For example, habit training, group therapy and occupational therapy. Patients there were very welcoming and kind to us, they always treated us like one of them (for which I was very grateful for) and cooperated very well when we did activities for them.
Overall, I would say that this was a very memorable and an eye opener experience for me.
Written by Rachel Netto A/P Joseph Gerald Netto, IMU Nursing Student