Mental Health Assistant - Behavioral Science Unit

Arnot Ogden Medical Center Elmira , NY 14901

Posted 2 months ago


Renders patient care to meet the physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs of patients. Participates in the development and maintenance of a therapeutic environment in conjunction with the multidisciplinary team. Reports to the Nursing Unit Director.


1.Functions as a member of the nursing staff in providing quality nursing care in the following manner:

a. Monitors the behaviors of patients. Accurately records and reports patient's symptoms, verbalization, participation in activities and general progress.

b. Maintains awareness of the patient's current treatment plan by examination of the Nursing Care Plan, Kardex, Medical Records, and Multidisciplinary Treatment Plan.

c. Assists a Registered Nurse in formulating and implementing the patient's Nursing Care Plan(s).

d. Understanding of health-care intervention or programs as they relate to the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of individuals with mental illness.

e. Understanding of nursing assessment, diagnosis and intervention as related to psychiatric illnesses.

f. Attends and participates in Multidisciplinary Treatment Planning Meetings and Staff Meetings.

g. Assists with BSU Admission Assessments through:

1.Orientation of the patient to the physical lay-out of the unit.

2.An explanation of the rules of the unit and the patient handbook.

3.Teaching the use of the telephone system as appropriate to the patient's mental status and level of agitation.

4.Explanation and witnesses of admission legal forms and consents.

5.Completion, when appropriate, of BSU Admission Assessment (See BSU #20).

2.Provides direct patient care under the supervision of a Registered Nurse by:

a. Interaction with patients in a therapeutically appropriate manner both within the milieu and individually, role modeling health-promoting behaviors.

b. Adapts care to meet the special needs, i.e., physical disabilities and sensory deficits.

3.Performs patient care procedures as follows:

a. Takes and records weights and heights as assigned.

b. Records vital signs as assigned and as appropriate in the patient's medical record.

c. Obtains urine and stool specimens.

d. Monitors and records intake and output.

e. Records and monitors food intake during meals.

f. Assists in special observation, close special observation, and constant observation. as well as routine checks as assigned and repots patient's behavior to the professional nursing staff.

4.Escorts patients to appointments and diagnostic tests as assigned.

a. Accurately labels all specimens and transports to laboratory, 100% of the time.

5.Assists with patient related indirect tasks and errands as assigned.

6.Participates, with other staff, in supervising visiting hours, observing interactions between patients and visitors, and reporting any unusual behavior (such as an increase in symptoms of pain, anxiety, SI, VI or HI), to the Charge Nurse.

7.Plans or participates/conducts program activities as assigned by the Nursing Director. Facilitates therapeutic activities in a professional manner at all times.

8.Assist in monitoring unit supplies and completes repots as required.

9.Performs light housekeeping duties such as maintaining neat and orderly patient areas.

  1. Assists patients with activities of daily living as needed, i.e., personal hygiene, cleaning up of bodily fluids, care of clothing and personal possessions, diet (menu) selections, and assists with meals as necessary.

  2. Assists in the maintenance of a safe and therapeutic milieu for both patients and staff.

a. Serves as a role model for staff by his/her behavior within the environment.

b. Maintains milieu cohesiveness by:

1.Enforcement of unit rules.

2.Encouragement of patients to both attend therapeutic program activities and perform voluntary assignments.

3.Requesting visitors to leave at the end of visiting hours.

c. Participates in personal searches and in patients' room and/or belongings, as needed, as well as sweeps and safety checks in ITA.

d. Operates and cares for equipment and repots needs for repair/replacement to the appropriate person(s).

e. Responds professionally to all emergencies- initiates Dr. White calls as needed.

1.Remains calm in crisis situations.

2.Initiates verbal interventions in an attempt to calm the agitated patient.

3.Assists with the behavioral management of he agitated patient under the supervision of the professional nursing staff.

4.Assists, as directed, in restraint episodes following proper policies and procedures.

f. Reports and records significant incidents to the assigned Charge nurse.

  1. Documents accurately using the goal oriented format, patients physical and psychological symptomatology, mental status content and other gathered information as it relates to the planned treatment and the safety of the patient in the appropriate section of the medical record and a summary on the shift to shift report sheet.

  2. Reports to appropriate supervising physician, information affecting patient safety and wellness 100% of the time.

a. Assists physicians on rounds as needed.

  1. Participates in the health teaching of patients and their families/significant others and plans with social works and/or community agencies for follow-up care where indicated.

  2. Interprets Behavioral Science Unit and Hospital policies to patients and families, including disaster policies such as Dr. Red, Dr.

    Yellow, Dr. Green (for patients who have eloped).

  3. Adheres to the standards of confidentiality, and supports the rights of patients.

  4. Communicates in a professional and caring manner to patients, co-workers, family members, significant others, and community members, at all times.

  5. Acts as preceptor during new employee orientation as directed by Nursing Unit Director.

  6. Follows standard precautions as outlined in Hospital policies and procedures.

  7. Maintains CPR education on an annual basis per unit policy (BSU #3).

  8. Promotes and fosters the mission and philosophy of the Hospital during performance of job duties and community activities.

  9. Actively supports and participates in the Hospital's Performance Improvement endeavors.

  10. Performs other related duties as assigned.

  11. Is responsible for attending all annual mandatory educational programs as required by position.

  12. Employee understands and demonstrates the importance of satisfying the needs of the customer/patient by interacting with him/her in a friendly and caring way, being attentive to the customer's needs, both psychologically and physically, and by taking the initiative to maintain communication with the customer in order to provide a secure and pleasant experience with the Arnot Health.

  13. It is understood that this job description lists typical duties for the classification and is not to be considered inclusive of all duties which may be assigned.


Associates degree in psychology, sociology, human services or other related health field; OR credit towards Associates degree (as above) and minimum one-year full time related work experience. Extensive experience in mental health will be considered in lieu of education.


Prior psychiatric inpatient or outpatient experience preferred. Training in patient crisis management and/or restraint application preferred.


Basic Life Support (BLS) required within 90 days of hire date.


Must NOT have any physical limitations that interfere with the control of an agitated patient. Standing, sitting, bending, pulling, lifting and carrying medium weights throughout shift. May perform moderately difficult manipulative skills requiring accurate eye/hand coordination.


1.Empathy and sensitivity to needs of patients. Demonstrates understanding, patience and tact in dealing with patients and visitors.

2.Ability to maintain good working relationships with Hospital personnel and medical staff.

3.Ability to function adaptively under stress and in emergency situations.

4.Remains current in psychological literature related to job requirements.

5.Excellent verbal and written abilities in communicating and compiling written reports. Strong organizational skills.

6.Alertness and skill in making observations and in reporting them.

7.Trustworthy in safeguarding confidential information.

8.This position requires total access to the medical record.


Category I. Tasks that involve exposure to blood, body fluids or tissues.

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Mental Health Assistant - Behavioral Science Unit

Arnot Ogden Medical Center