Author: Angela D. Jones, DNP, RN
Title: Assistant Professor
Institution: Stephen F. Austin State University
1) Patient-Centered Care:
i. Assess the presence and extent of pain and suffering.
b. Attitudes –
i. Value seeing health care situations through the patients’ eyes.
ii. Recognize the role of the nurse in relief of all types and sources of pain and suffering.
iii. Value the patient’s expertise with health and symptoms.
2) Teamwork and Collaboration:
i. Respect the centrality of the patient/family as core members of any health care team.
A Virtual Encounter with Mental Illness reflective assignment offers prelicensure students the opportunity to have a psychiatric clinical experience by imagining their responses to patient encounters as they hear real patients’ stories of their struggles with diverse mental illness thru video recordings. This reflective assignment can be used as a classroom or a clinical assignment. It can be an individual or group assignment depending on the needs of the learner(s).
Incorporating the reflective assignment in the mental health/illness course encourages students to focus on patient-centered care in assessing the presence and extent of pain and suffering in their patient(s) while valuing the seeing the health care experience through the patients’ eyes. This assignment also aids in the student’s recognition of the role of the nurse in relief of pain and suffering, encouraging the student to value the patient’s expertise with their health and associated symptoms. Students are encouraged to respect the centrality of the patient/family as a key member of the health care team to promote teamwork and collaboration.
This reflective assignment encourages the prelicensure student to develop a patient-centered focus when caring for those with mental illness as they are able to hear the stories of real individuals and their health care experiences in dealing with mental illness. Additionally. this promotes teamwork and collaboration as the student is encouraged to maintain focus on the patient being a key member of the health care team.
Directions for use:
The A Virtual Encounter with Mental Illness reflective assignment is typically assigned for individual clinical credit. The assignment is made at beginning of the mental health/illness course with a specified due date. Students are instructed to follow the directions as written which includes viewing all of the assigned TED Talks for “The Struggle of Mental Health” and one additional video “Amy’s Mental Health Recovery Story.” As the student watches each of the videos, they are to take brief notes on key points or their major “take-aways.” They are asked to consider their role as a nurse, supporting their point with credible evidence. Additionally, they are to self-identify their most significant barrier in relating to or dealing with patients with mental illness. There are instructions for the written report that follows APA format. Rather than a written report, this could be adapted to a small group discussion.
Students often express anxiety or fear of psychiatric clinical experiences. Focusing on real people with real illnesses aids in removing the stigma of mental illness, even in a virtual setting. Evaluation of student performance on the reflective assignment offers insight as to the student’s ability to understand the key points of mental illness while evaluating their insight as to their role as the nurse. This method of formative evaluation will allow the instructor the opportunity to correct any misconceptions and/or encourage additional opportunities for professional growth focusing on the needs of the patient in all aspects of care.