In the past decade that I’ve been working in Mental Health at the Scarborough Hospital, I’ve watched the department transform. From 2 separate Inpatient units at 2 different sites merging to the Birchmount Site (formerly the Grace Division), to 3 different regime changes in Management, to the style/manner of care delivered to our community, it has truly been an eye opening experience.
My career as a nurse in Mental Health was mainly spent on the Inpatient units (3C/3B/PIOU). For those familiar with the acute setting, your days/evenings/nights are usually busy. During this time on the Inpatient units I would occasionally hear about other programs that our department offered. Programs with acronyms like ACTT, JAMH, and AOP come to mind instantly. I personally didn’t know much about these programs other than that patients that we would see regularly within the year were followed up by them. Occasionally a strange face with a hospital ID would appear on the floor to talk about a patient I was assigned to that day to discuss discharge planning. Unbeknownst to me this person was their ACT Team worker and has been following up with this patient for months, sometimes years, and extremely familiar with the patients presentation as well as what their baseline is. It intrigued me, a little, but I was more concerned about taking my lunch break on time as I still had to take a couple blood sugars to take before I could do so. These brief interactions were all I had with these people, other than seeing them at Quarterly staff meetings or the occasional Grand Rounds. Saying that I didn’t care much what went on beyond the care I gave on the inpatient unit would be an understatement. Again, my interest was a 2 on a scale of 1-10.
Fast forward to today. I’m not a staff nurse and nor do I work directly with patients. My new role involves interacting with not only the inpatient staff, but as well as outpatient staff. In my new role I have been in contact with pretty much all areas of TSH’s Mental Health Department. In the past couple of years I have gotten a full scope of what our department offers. In hind site of my experiences as an inpatient nurse I realized how little I knew about what went on past those magnetic doors. Those strangers that used to pop up on the floor and during Grand Rounds became familiar. Acronyms like JAMH & ICM actually meant something and I knew who was responsible for patients under their care. Nurses responsible for giving injections at the popular Depot Clinic had names and learned they knew just as much as inpatient nurses did about our patients.
That being said, I was approached by our new Inpatient PCM, Candace Roker, about creating a newsletter for Mental Health. She felt that my position within the department was valuable and that I could possibly put something together. We both agreed there was a social and communication gap between inpatient and outpatient staff. I mulled on this for a couple of weeks. I was able to get copies of older versions that were created in previous years. They were nice and informative. But there was a lack of consistency as well as the information provided. I was courting the idea of a weekly/bi-weekly E-Mail styled newsletter. I even consulted with the famous “Reading of the Week” psychiatrist, Dr. David Gratzer, who suggested I take a different route than what was delivered before. Even veering away from an Email based newsletter. This threw a wrench in my idea machine.
I mulled over for a few days….. What was I to do?
Things I had to consider:
-Has to appeal to all staff and bring a sense of community within the department
-Provide information about all areas in Mental Health
-Not be an EMail
-Has to be NEW/DIFFERENT/CURRENT……….
Then it dawned on me! A BLOG!
I personally frequent other blogs on the internet and find blog feeds easier to digest. Information gets passed in a timely manner and is fed to the reader in a way where they can just scroll through at their own pace.
I needed a name and was quickly forwarded to a quick witted Crisis worker, Tim Worth, who proved his wittiness with the first thing that came to his head.
And so here we are. The very first post of a new and exciting endeavor.
Hopefully in the upcoming weeks we will be able to curate articles, interviews, celebrations, news, thought provoking conversation, ideas, criticisms, and anything under the sun that relates to our community as staff in the Mental Health department.
Welcome to Mental Notes!