Passion and Purpose

By Brittany Donnor

In my blogs, I have touched on different aspects of being a nurse and what goes on in the health field. However, there is one special topic that has always remained my greatest fascination—mental health.

Mental health is more than treating mental illnesses, it is a field of studying human behavior and the complexity of the brain. There are a variety of specialties a nurse can study, ranging from neuroscience, pediatrics, oncology, and other areas of advanced nursing. Mental health Practitioners can work as counselors, psychiatric nurses, and social workers while having a degree in psychology. It wasn’t until my 12th-grade year when I grew a huge obsession with mental health; learning about the human brain and how biological factors, life experiences, individual’s well-being, and other factors that can have an impact on one’s psychological state. I knew my interest would lead me to specialize in psychology making my declared major a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

Having a deep awareness and sensitivity for others’ suffering made me certain that this trait would lead me into an occupation where the feeling of compassion is needed. Working with the elderly population I see how they can progress and regress over time; from my experience, many of them suffer from depression and the feeling of loneliness. Although it is heartbreaking, I make it my mission to bring joy to each resident at my place of employment. Talking to residents about their past, being gentle when providing care, and encouraging them to be independent play a part in making them feel whole. Growing up, I’ve always heard the saying, do what you love and love what you do…There have been times when I have second-guessed my career choice and lost all hope for my future. However, as I continue my schooling, I am reminded of all the hard work, time, tears, and restless nights that was put in to get me through the finish line. Being a caregiver is not a job that anyone can just do, no amount of money can buy solicitude as it comes from the kindness of one’s heart.

Caring for residents who suffer from psychiatric disorders, physical deformities, and multiple behavioral issues is a continuous learning experience; being hands-on has taught me that having a positive expressed emotion strengthens the relationship between the resident and me. Their ability to trust is the same as any other ordinary person; however, it takes time and patience. Knowledge and the proper understanding of mental illness can help a person communicate effectively if the right tone and manner are being used. Besides the clinical aspect of my job, tending to the emotional needs of my residents serves a great deed to their well-being; they become more present in their care and start to develop a brighter outlook on life. What I have experienced so far has reinsured me of my passion; I am honored to have chosen a field that will allow me to grow into a future psych nurse. As I went through my hardships, I tried to disconnect myself from this journey believing that another career was more suitable but, I always ended up with a stronger desire to pursue mental health. When you believe in your purpose it is only right that you persevere through the challenges as it will lead to achievements.

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