Psych Ward by Trenee’ Carlson Zweigle, R.N., is quite an eye opener. You won’t believe the things the patients say in their intake sessions and later in their counseling sessions. Nothing is held back as patients injure themselves and others, swear at the doctors, and eat foreign objects. It truly takes a special person to work with the mentally ill and I believe Zweigle is one of those people. Names are changed to protect privacy, but most of Psych Ward is accounts of circumstances that actually happened in a hospital setting to her and her coworkers. They are assembled into a convincing story of real life in the psych ward—with a romance or two thrown in.
Beyond being just an entertaining story, Psych Ward gives examples of many things that people say and do when they are mentally ill. One purpose of this is to inspire compassion rather than fear or ridicule for these patients. Another purpose, I believe, is to inform the public that there are successful treatment methods and prescriptions that can restore these patients to a life that is more enriching for them, but also allows them to contribute to society. If a mental patient can get symptoms under control through counseling and medication, and then work toward independence in society, everyone benefits. Trenee’ Carlson Zweigle has a true mission in life and a heart of gold for working to erase fear and stereotypes. At the end of the book, the main female character (who I believe represents Zweigle) admits to a passion for starting an assisted living home for patients as they transition to functional life under supervision. Psych Ward is recommended for those who would like to understand the world of working with mental illness a little bit better. I gave this one 4 stars but wonder how families of the mentally ill might feel about this book, which could be seen as invasion of privacy if the stories are recognized.
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Thank you and God bless.