Today was my second day of work at my new job. I'm a Clinical Assistant at a psychiatric facility. If I was working at a hospital on, say a post-surgery floor, Clinical Assistant (CA) would mean I'd be taking samples of various bodily fluids, vital signs, and probably making beds. At the psychiatric facility, the work I'll do doesn't have much of a physical component. I take vital signs once a day, but other than that, most of the chart notes I'll make concern behavior and clients' adherence to the program and rules.
I'm not getting paid as much as my job last summer, but it is easier and I like that I have therapeutic contact with clients. I doubt I'll end up going into psych nursing, but it's always nice to get exposure to different aspects of nursing and I'll have a leg up on my fellow students when we have our mental health clinical in the Fall.
I was explaining the work to my roommate when I mentioned some of the items that I have to search clients' bags for as they aren't allowed, for instance shoe laces, aluminum cans, and aerosol containers. She looked at me quizzically and I explained they weren't allowed because:
Shoelaces - can be used to attempt suicide by hanging
Aluminum cans - can be torn apart and used to cut themselves or others
Aerosol cans - contents can be inhaled for a cheap high
She was horrified, which I absolutely understand. It all makes perfect sense if you consider it from the right perspective, but most people don't automatically think of the violent uses of everyday things. Which is precisely why some of the clients are in the psych facility in the first place.