Each May nurses are recognized during National Nurses Week, May 6-12. National Nurses Week provides the opportunity to celebrate the nursing profession and to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and care nurses provide to their communities. It allows people to thank nurses for the work that they have done and the impact they have made on their patient’s lives. While each nurse plays an important part in caring for their patients, I would like to take a moment to focus an often-overlooked facet of healthcare, behavioral health.
Many nurses enter the medical field with a goal to work in a specific specialty, including emergency departments, intensive care units, labor and delivery, etc. My own experience at HSC causes me to hope that many would also seek out a nursing career in behavioral health. The truth is, no matter which career path you seek to travel, you will encounter behavioral health. Most of us encounter someone that has struggled with mental health in our everyday lives. In South Dakota, 10,780 adults and 6,117 youth were served through the publicly-funded behavioral health system in Fiscal Year 2022 alone.
Behavioral health nursing allows the opportunity to provide life-changing support with results you can visibly see. Imagine someone that is locked inside their own body, they can’t even do the simplest tasks that many of us take for granted every day. Now, imagine caring for that person, providing him or her with care to meet their daily needs. Each day progress is made; patients show improvement that is easily recognized by we caregivers. Then one day their progress is so significant that the patients are able to begin caring for themselves. Before you know it, they are ready to return to their home. Very little compares to the feeling of accomplishment that transpires when you see someone get their life back. Every nursing profession has its rewards, but I would put behavioral health nursing high on the list for fulfillment and for making a difference. HSC provides that opportunity for fulfillment.
Benefits of working as a nurse in behavior health:
- Being part of a multidisciplinary team that strives to develop a plan that meet the needs of the patient;
- Providing compassion when the patient needs it most;
- Inspiring hope that help is within reach;
- Providing skills to overcome challenges; and,
- Choosing which population, you would like to serve including adolescent, adult, chemical dependency, or geriatric.
To learn about employment opportunities in nursing at HSC, visit bhr.sd.gov/job-seekers
More resources for Nurses week are available here.