I worked at Mendota Mental Health Institute full-time (More than 5 years)
Most people worked well together (even across classifications). Overtime was usually there if you wanted it (either by signing up in advance or taking someone's unwanted force) On GTU - caring for difficult patients and seeing them stabilize was rewarding. On GTU - The families of our patients were mostly amazing and kind to us. On GTU - *Most* of the staff is there by choice. It's a tough unit, and for most of the staff there it was more than "just a job / paycheck". Most genuinely cared about the patients. Once you pass probation, you have a job for life, if you don't dramatically mess up or hurt a resident intentionally. (ALSO A CON WHEN IT COMES TO LAZY RCTS) Pay is decent. The benefits used to be way better, but they're still alright. Continued trainings and education. Very much a family (for better or worse)....lots of camaraderie, even across units.
On GTU - Supervisors (Unit Managers and NC3/4s) were usually clueless to the day-to-day floor experiences of the RCTs. Often, the RCTs felt unappreciated and targeted by both the UM and NC 3/4. Some RNs played favorites, and some RCTs expressed that they felt that the RNs were racist. Inconsistent communication. In my 4 years on GTU, we never really found a system that worked. OR, if it was proving successful, the OOA / UM would up and change how we communicated our needs as a unit. Inconsistent disciplinary actions toward staff. See "Playing Favorites". Certain staff were allowed to get away with everything. Also, some weeks/months issues would be swiftly dealt with, only to be ignored later on. Just...a lot of lip service paid to staff concerns. Not enough positive feedback. Plenty of negative, however. Problem staff get moved from unit-to-unit instead of fired. Shift Wars (AM's hated PMs, PMs badmouthed Nocs...etc etc) Forcing. Just hire enough staff to start with! There were ALWAYS Noc forces, esp in the winter. Admin clearly knows that Noc shift is the lowest staffed group, and that noc shifters call out the most (for a variety of reasons, no blame). GTU Noc shift - always understaffed. ALWAYS. Admin seems to forget that our group is more active (and aggressive, frequently) at night.
Advice to Management
Hire more Noc Shift staff, PRN or On-Call if necessary. Forcing does not have to happen at the rate it currently does. BELIEVE your RCTs. Watch them on the floor for more than 10 minutes before making arbitrary decisions and changes. BELIEVE your RCTs when they come to you with co-worker issues, especially major problems. Don't just play the employee shuffle. Advocate for your staff. Be aware that the RCTs are going to keep doing what works best for their patient once you turn your head, regardless of whatever changes you try to make on paper. Staff needs to hear they are appreciated and valued. Don't just speak on the mistakes, tell them where they succeeded and exceeded your expectations.
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