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The New Hospital
Yellow head
In one month all the wards will be moving into the new purpose-built hospital. Today I got a chance to go over and view the new building prior to the Big Move.

Mrs A, who is doing her placement on the very ward I used to work on as a Health Care, rang me to say that the students on that ward had arranged a trip over, and would I like to tag along? Well, we were still in the middle of the shift handover, and the nurse in charge was unwilling to let me go at first, but another staff nurse jumped in, venturing the opinion that we had sufficient staff, so why not let me go? This swung it for me and so I went. Hurrah! I admit it was as much an excuse to see Mrs A as anything else.

The new hospital, which is but a short walk through the now deserted and crumbling sections of the old hospital (red brick buildings, boarded up windows), turned out to be much bigger than I imagined it would be from what I'd seen from the plans. Very roomy with wide, long corridors. Quite bewildering, as every part of it looks like any other. If the small group of us hadn't had a guide, then I'm sure we'd have got lost. All the department signs have yet to be put up, so there was no way to orientate ourselves. Final construction details are still being added, with some of the flooring having already to be replaced due to defective materials (!).

I was impressed. The whole place seemed light and airy, with big windows, letting in much natural light. Each patient will have their own room with on-suite bathroom, very like a hotel room. My only concern about the place is that, unlike our current wards, it does actually feel like a hospital with a very medicalised atmosphere. I also worry about the huge size of each ward and the difficulties this might pose for observation of patients.

Psychiatric Terminology
Yellow head
Here is a partial list of psychiatric terms that may interest you. Many of these words will no doubt become a familiar part of my life in the years to come, as I complete my training and become a staff psychiatric nurse.

Anxiety - Emotional disorder characterised by uncertainty, apprehensiveness and unresolved fear. It's a fear response, e.g. fight or flight. Also known as anxiety state and anxiety reaction.

Aphasia - Loss of the ability to express meaning by the use of speech or writing, or even understand spoken or written language.

Blocking - The sudden stoppage of a train of thought (er... what was I saying?).

Compulsion - Continuous preoccupation with impulse or movement to the exclusion of most other interests.

Confabulation - Fabrications to fill memory gaps.

Delusion - A false belief in the face of contrary evidence, which is held with conviction and is unmodified by appeals to reason or logic (See George Bush and Iraq).

Dementia - Irreversible impairment of intellectual ability, memory and personality due to permanent damage or disease of the brain (See George Bush).

Denial - Defence mechanism by which painful experiences are rejected.

De-realisation - The feeling that the environment is unreal or flat, as if everything experienced is happening on a stage.

Echolalia - Repetition of words and phrases spoken to the individual. Repetition of words and phrases spoken to the individual.

Euphoria - Feelings of well being, more than elation.

Flight of ideas - Succession of thoughts with no rational connection.

Folie a deux - A sharing of delusions by two closely associated individuals, such as husband and wife, one of whom suffers from a paranoid illness and who eventually succeeds in inducing similar delusions in the other.

Formication - A feeling as if insects were crawling all over the body.

Fugue - Altered state of consciousness combined with the impulse to wander. Occurs in depression, epilepsy, schizophrenia and organic cerebral diseases.

Ideas of reference - Where the client may have unfounded beliefs that others are talking about him, both in his environment and on TV or radio.

Incongruity of effect - A disharmony between the client's mood and thought content. For example a client may laugh on receiving sad news.

Lability of effect - The tendency of the client to experience sudden changes of mood. It occurs in personality disorders and brain-damaged individuals (insert your own George Bush joke here).

Neologism - Making new meaningless words (we had a patient who used to insert made up words when she was playing scrabble, in the full belief that they were real).

Paraphasia - Speech disorder, in which the suffer uses the wrong word.

Word salad - Incomprehensible speech containing nonsense syllables, jargon and neologisms (a great name for a poetry magazine).