Caring for Patients with Depression: A Guide for those with Practical Nurse Training

Practical nurses can work with a wide range of individuals in a variety of settings, encountering patients with different backgrounds and conditions. During their career, practical nurses can also find themselves working with patients who are currently experiencing some form of depression.

As a student in a practical nursing program, you’ll be able to develop key skills that can be used to help provide individuals with better care. By completing your clinical experience and practicum placement, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence needed to forge meaningful connections with clients and patients in a caring environment—tailoring your approach to their individual needs. In this way, understanding how best to work with those who suffer from depression can help you better support individuals in your care.

Practical nurses can use their training to help patients better deal with their depression

Understanding Depression and its Potential Causes

Understanding depression can help us better address the signs and symptoms. According to the World Health Organization, depression is defined as a common mental disorder marked by “persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure,” even during activities that were once enjoyable. Depression can affect all ages and genders, reducing enjoyment and quality of life. In fact, research has shown that it can even worsen the prognosis of heart disease.  

Various factors contribute to depression, including social, psychological, and biological issues. Stress can also play a huge role in its development. For instance, seniors who relocate residences or suffer from impaired physical health may consequently experience stress and depression. Practical nurses in residential care clinics can potentially encounter seniors in these circumstances.

Those with practical nursing careers can create a supportive environment to help patients suffering from depression

Knowing What to Look for After Practical Nurse Training

The signs of depression can sometimes be difficult to spot. However, your awareness and attentiveness can go a long way in helping you detect these signs. Hopelessness and helplessness are key aspects that could lead to depression, often experienced by patients who lack a strong social support network. Similarly, disinterest in daily activities can indicate depression—particularly in patients with impaired mobility who are unable to engage in previous activities.

Graduates of nursing college can keep an eye out for signs of distress, like excessive hand-wringing or an agitated disposition. It would also help to monitor the patient’s appetite and ensure they receive a healthy, nutritious diet. Ultimately, creating a caring environment that properly supports the patient is essential. Here, your critical thinking and clinical judgement become valuable skills that help you provide the most effective care.

Those with practical nursing careers can create a supportive environment to help patients suffering from depression

The Impact Practical Nurses Have on the Well-Being of their Patients

Practical nurses provide an important service that heavily impacts the health and well-being of their patients. Through their work, practical nurses can help prevent depression by encouraging the exploration of new hobbies and participation in outdoor activities. Doing so can help patients with depression re-engage with their surroundings. 

In your practical nursing career, you’ll be in the unique position of being the person your patient likely interacts most with throughout the day. This gives you the opportunity to help lift their mood through your compassion. You can talk with them and listen as they share their emotions, show empathy and understanding, and even provide reassurance. With the help of your training, you’ll be able to tailor your care to individual cases—helping others through these difficult times. 

Ready to kick-start your practical nurse training?

Contact Discovery Community College for more information!

//CRO Toolbar