The Mental Health Specialist I/II is responsible for providing direct care to patients with psychiatric disorders ensuring the safety and well being of patients by supporting the maintenance of therapeutic milieu. Additionally, the MHS I/II:
- Observes patients for changes that require immediate intervention and take appropriate action; communicate regularly with supervisor regarding patient care concerns; carries out designated interventions
- Accepts assignments from Unit Nurse or MHS III to provide specific skill training to less experienced staff.
- In the absence of senior staff, or when assigned, takes initiative in ensuring care, delivery, safety, adherence to schedule appropriate MHS II staff.
- Help identify patient’s problems, needs and strengths and communicate this information to the treatment team in a timely manner.
- Understands and properly uses the chain of command, proactively seeking out the unit nurse for medical issues, MHS III or Supervisor for safety concerns, or therapists for clinical concerns.
- Safely assists patients with activities of daily living (i.e. grooming, room cleaning, etc.)
- Takes and records vital signs as directed and reports abnormal values to nurse/medical provider in timely manner.
- Assists in orienting patients to units; ensuring safety check-in, conducting effective contraband search, property inventory, assisting patients in completing de-escalation packet, orientation checklist, and review of patients rights as assigned.
- Assists patients in preparing for discharge (property inventory, packing, other discharge requirements).
- Effectively demonstrates skills in active listening, reflection, appropriate use of tone of voice, body language, word choice so as to convey appropriate degree of compassion, professionalism, caring and respect in delivering patient care; displays good boundaries in relationships with patients; relationships are of a professional quality and appropriate to clinical role.
- Maintains effective patient oversight; resident location log and status-based check sheets are completed accurately on a continuous basis with face-to-face visualization of patients.
- Adheres to guidelines for patients on special status (i.e. suicide, sexual abuse or AWOL precautions).
- Maintains safe and effective therapeutic milieu; implements point/level system and special programs consistently and within written guidelines; assists patients in following community rules/guidelines and in forming positive peer relationships; initiates, organizes and participates in activities to provide positive structure for patients; actively organizing and leading therapeutic/educational groups, primarily spending time directly with patients on the unit and ensuring adherence to activity/group schedule
- Complete relevant flow sheets and other medical record forms accurately and in a timely manner; point sheets are consistently completed with documented rationale for scores.
- Demonstrates working familiarity with treatment plan goals/objectives of assigned primary residents; charting reflects treatment plan goals/objectives and provides useful information for treatment plan revision and comprehensive integration of observations and relevant clinical data that is cumulative and details resident progress or lack thereof in reaching treatment objectives.
- Floats to other units as needed.
- Performs other duties as assigned.
EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE (VARIES BY LEVELS):
MHS I: High School Diploma required. 0-4 years experience in the mental health field. Or, currently enrolled in degree program in the areas of Psychology, Social Work, Human Services, etc.
MHS II: Bachelor's degree in psychology, social work, human services, or a related field OR 4 years of experience in a mental health role, or a combination of education and experience totaling a minimum of four years.
KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS: Must be able to interact positively with patients on a daily basis whose behavior may be difficult, uncooperative, or aggressive; perform concentrated and/or complex mental activity with frequent involvement in complex and/or highly technical situations; work successfully under highly stressful conditions; make sound, independent judgments based on scientific and/or ethical principles; comprehend and perform oral and written instructions and procedures; collaborate with other multidisciplinary team members in an appropriate fashion; adapt to varying workloads and work assignments on a constant basis; have effective comprehensive reading skills; and have strong communication skills, written and verbal.
MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF THE POSITION: The Mental Health Specialist I/II must be willing and able to execute the patient de-escalation methods, both verbal and physical; be able to complete new hire requirements such as State of Alaska Background Check and Drug Testing; be able to demonstrate special training, knowledge and skills specific to age groups, as well as job and/or program specific competency within three (3) months of hire date; be certified in CPR and Handle with Care Training upon completion of orientation and annually thereafter; complete all mandatory in-services annually; be tested for Tuberculosis with a PPD skin test annually or by a chest x-ray annually.
GENERAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT: Working conditions for all employees are as follows, but are not limited to a psychiatric hospital/RTC setting: risk involved in the event of aggressive patient(s); workload may include day, evening, night, weekend, and/or holiday shifts; occasional exposure to outdoor weather conditions, fumes or airborne particles, toxic or caustic chemicals, blood borne pathogens and body fluids, and loud noise levels. Mental demands described herein are representative of those which must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job, but are not limited to the ability to remain calm in a stressful environment; and the emotional stability, physical stamina and agility to handle stress and respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Requirements include, but are not limited to the ability to communicate effectively with employees; the ability to effectively utilize communication equipment; the physical agility to manage cleaning equipment; the ability to read and write. Additionally, the Mental Health Specialist I/II must frequently utilize physical ability for standing or sitting for long periods of time; regularly utilize physical ability for speaking, hearing, and seeing with correction for close and distance vision, color discrimination, peripheral vision, depth perception and focusing ability. Speaking and hearing may be necessary for conversing with and assessing employees; be able to ascend/descend stairs and ramps; use body agility; bend body downward and forward by bending spine at the waist; bend legs at knees to come to a rest on knees; be able to extend hands and arms in any direction; be able to use upper and lower extremities to exert force in a pulling or pushing motion. Exerting up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 20 pounds of force frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects; be able to raise objects from a lower to higher position or from side-to-side; concentrate amidst distractions; must be able to perform work of a repetitive nature; must respond calmly to potentially volatile clients. The worker is subject to both environmental conditions and hazards, as activities can occur inside and outside with various physical conditions. Mental demands include but are not limited to emotional stability, physical stamina and agility to handle stress and respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations.