Remember the psych patient care tech


First let me say, I’m not a published author or blogger of articles for nurses, nor am I your typical administrative type. I like to say I speak with heart or from the heart. I would like to give you a few things to think about the patient care tech (PCT) who sits with your psych patients. Don’t forget about them, don’t leave them to deal with these patients alone. Give them information to assist in the care of the patient.

Can anyone be a sitter in a hospital? Sure, but PCTs need training for working with psych patients. Let’s go through a few thoughts on this training because not all training competencies are alike.

You don’t need to send the techs to a class or a computer course—they’re just like you and me, overwhelmed by all the education that must be completed in every healthcare setting. Instead, you can provide training by ensuring you know some key principles and can share those principles with the PCT.

Do you know what it means to safety-proof a room?It depends on what type of room, right? A standard room in a hospital will have cords for call lights, blood pressure cuffs, oxygen saturation monitors, thermometers, suction tubing with canisters, keyboards/computers, and automatic beds. And let’s not forget the oxygen and air flow meters, scanners, sharps containers, information boards, curtains, drawers, monitors, alcohol gel…..the list goes on. Many of these items can be used by patients as a weapon to harm themselves or staff members. That’s why everythingmust be removed from the room. Be sure you have a secure place to store the equipment/

Do you know how to de-escalate a person?Simply stepping back from the person, uncrossing your arms, softening the look on your face, acknowledging their complaint and listening, truly listening, to what they have to say can all help defuse the situation. These skills must be practiced.

Do you provide needed information?Give your PCT feedback on the situation and the person they are sitting with. Remind them of the rules for the department and the visitors. Check on them multiple times during the shift and provide breaks.

Most importantly, work as a team. Don’t wait for something undesirable to happen, work as a team from the beginning – we all want to take care of the patient and then go home to our family at the end of our shift.

Stay safe out there!

Michelle C. Fyke is a house supervisor at Tri-Star Hendersonville Medical Center in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

The views and opinions expressed by Perspectives contributors are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. These are opinion pieces and are not peer reviewed.

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