Tuesday, February 22, 2005


On our psych unit, the elevator spits you out into a vestibule where you must hover and look uncomfortable until someone decides to buzz you in. There is a large sign in the vestibule that says "ELOPEMENT RISK." In psychiatry, "elopement" refers to a patient escape. I didn't know that at first and had *no* idea what the sign was getting at unless there were some extremely impulsive and commitment-loving patients on the floor.

Another odd term of art in psych is "milieu". The term encompasses the day room, hallways or anywhere else where a patient might interact with others. It's funny to see notes in the medical record that says "patient masturbating in milieu" or similar. The most bizarre term I came across today is the name given to substance abuse on my floor: "motivated behavior". To me, "motivated behavior" is, at worst, Type A, go-getter behavior and not spending $200 on heroin each day. Of course, procuring $200 worth of drugs each day does speak to some serious motivation which is, I suppose, where the term comes from.

Overall, it was a bizarre day. I spent an hour or so with a nurse watching a psychotic patient in an isolation room on closed-circuit TV. I attended a substance abuse group therapy session as well as a "movement'" group which was stretching in the day room with anyone who wandered by.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Unlikely RN,
I really love your blog and your wit, grit, and honesty. And as a potential Unlikely RN myself, I'd love to chat with you over email. When you have a moment away from your current milieu, drop me a line at turtlecarrotgirl@yahoo.com (I signed off before as ToNurseOrNotToNurse)Thanks!

6:55 PM  
Blogger Ilan Muskat said...

My resumés will no longer read "motivated go-getter looking for elopement".

At least, if I'm applying for jobs in psych-related fields.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Patient made a movement in milieu."

6:16 AM  
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