I have taken a position as a Psychiatric Technician (psych tech) and was just removed from completing my first admission on the unit. I have been told to wait in the Unit Director’s office. As I’m sitting there, she comes in, looking furious, and says this will be recorded. She puts the device on the table and hits record.
“Did you proceed with the admission process for “L”?”
“Did you attempt to strike her father?”
“No.” (The charge nurse had told me what to say to the director’s questions.)
“Did you attempt to crawl over the admissions desk to inflict physical harm on this man?”
“Did the unit charge nurse escort you from the room?”
“I wasn’t feeling well, I needed a bathroom break and then she told me she’d finish the admission.”
“That ends the session with Kim ‘——–‘, Psychiatric Technician for the Adolescent Crisis Unit on September of ‘——‘. I find no further reason to pursue this claim as the unit charge nurse corroborates her story.”
She clicked off the recorder and said someone should’ve put that man in his grave 20 years ago. “You have a verbal warning. Don’t ever do that again.”
“Never again.” (And I made sure it never happened again.)
Just then, the operator announced, “Dr. Red on ALTU (Adolescent Long Term Unit).” Shoot I don’t know where that is! “Dr. Red to ALTU immediately.” I see another psych tech from my unit hauling ass, and I know he was assigned to respond too… I take off on a full run after him, pulling off my earrings, necklace, and rings, shoving it all into my pant’s pockets.
We get to the unit, and we are quickly told what was going on. One male, 14 years of age, slit his wrists and barricaded himself in his room. He has been throwing his bedroom furniture at any staff who tries to enter his room… They have one psych tech severely injured, she was removed from the unit. The other kids are getting agitated, and we may have two more possibly aggressive patients that may need intervention. The patients have been sent to their rooms, but I see two psych techs standing outside of two doors, I figure that’d be the room for the patients that were ‘in need of possible further intervention.’
We now get our orders from the psych tech who was assigned to this patient… we will be going through a bathroom door with a mattress to keep us safe and gently tackle him. The psych tech hands out the positions for the 6 point restraint. I am asked to clear the furniture from the front door of his room so they can carry him out through that door to the time-out room.
We had about fifteen seconds of surprise on our side as we came through that bathroom door. That door had been locked because it is on the female side, the patient used the bathroom for males on the other side of the room. He never expected us… and gave up without too much of a fight. I had the broken dresser drawers removed, and the bed frame pushed back, the path was clear. He was taken to the time-out room, the unit psych nurse attended to his wrists while we removed his shoelaces and belt. We all backed out as the lead tech instructed, and the door was closed. This patient would be put on a suicide watch, and a psych tech would remain outside the door making a note of his behavior every 15 minutes.
Restraint completed, patient unharmed, safe and secure. All staff involved in 6 point restraint procedure, unharmed. Procedure sheet signed and dated, we return to our respective units.
I had only been at work for 2 hours… the rest of the day was pretty quiet thankfully… I got all finished up with “L,” getting her settled. I received a few low fives from my co-workers… I thought well, that was a terrible way to start my shift but they all seemed to approve of me. It has got to get easier. Nope… this was what a quiet day on the crisis unit looked like.
I have some very memorable patients for you yet to meet and a few outstanding psych techs that I had the honor of working with. Amazing psych techs. Incredible kids. Incredulous stories, and a tragedy that knocked the wind out of me for days.
(To be continued.)