I am sure everyone has by now heard about the murder that occurred in Chatswood on the 27.4.10.
This murder took place around the corner from my workplace (that is a scary thought in its self) but reports state that the murder may have been by the victim’s patient.
The report doesn’t say that she works in the mental health field but it does say that they suspect that it was one of her mental health outpatients.
It is very worrying to think that the patients we look after, whether we work in mental health or not, can get a hold of where we live, who our family members are and our personal details. How does this happen? How is it that our personal details are so accessible to the people that we look after?
I have a very close friend that works at Long Bay as a mental health nurse. She once told me that they are not to bring in their mobile phones to ensure their security and to keep as little detail of their personal life out of the facility. This may make it harder for her patients to track her down in the outside world but in reality all they need to know is her full name and they can track down her address, phone number, and who her family is. It is not hard.
When I was in training I did a placement at Rozelle Acute Mental Health Hospital and one of the nurses there told me about how she had to move house because one of her patients stalked her when he was discharged.
According to law our work place is not allowed to disclose any personal details to anyone, including fellow work mates but in today’s day and age is this enough? When this law was passed we didn’t have internet and whilst back then this may have been enough to protect nurses from patients or their relatives from finding us but now it is all too easy to look someone up on the internet and find all of their details. So how are we supposed to protect ourselves? Would it be wrong if nurses remained anonymous at work? Or, we use nick names instead of our real names? And our name badges have our selected names on it instead of our real names?
How are we to protect ourselves from patients finding us and causing emotional/physical harm?
Do you have any suggestions? Have you experienced a scary situation with a patient or their relative? Please share your stories or Ideas.
Image source (http://www.fotosearch.com.au/photos-images/stalking.html)
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