Reaction Paper on Documentary on Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in NYC
Whew! This documentary was not easy to watch because of its emotional intensity. It followed several patients with a variety of mental health concerns beginning with their arrival into the emergency room of this psychiatric hospital. Some wanted to be there, others didn’t. Several practitioners in the emergency room would then assess the patients who were most likely currently experiencing an intense exacerbation of their symptoms. Sometimes, they presented with no history of mental illness, although oftentimes, this was not a person’s first time to receive treatment at Bellevue, and the doctors and nurses and patients knew each other from previous visits. Frequent flyers, so to speak.
Since I work in a hospital myself, and am a responder to level one traumas, I was quite interested to see the emergency medical staff and their responses to these incredibly intense scenarios encountered for entire shifts almost non-stop. Although the situations were demanding and really had the potential to cause provider burnout and depression, they did a pretty good job at keeping things balanced with some laughter.
I realize that seeing healthcare providers laughing in the midst of such heart-wrenching scenarios can seem unfeeling, uncaring and will disturb some who interpret this as blatant disregard for the patient’s emotional pain and distress. Sometimes I feel upset by it also, until I remind myself of the importance of not allowing oneself to be drug down into the situation to the point of it hindering the ability to help another. It would not be good for the hysterical person if their doctor or nurse empathizes to the point of becoming hysterical or unbalanced themselves. Imagine that one.
I think the laughter provides necessary distraction, balance and camaraderie for the healthcare team to better perform their duties from a bit of an emotional distance. In the ER,...