Hearing the patient voice: why nurses must document the side effects of antipsychotics

by Michelle Danda

Symptom reduction must not be the only goal of medication

Psychopharmacological interventions are a large part of the mental health nurse’s role in the inpatient setting. Acute inpatient mental health admission is often focused on the stabilization of a person’s acute crisis and symptoms, necessitating consideration of psychotropic medications. Antipsychotic medications are a particularly important intervention, especially for people who are experiencing symptoms of psychosis.

Early in my nursing career, I noted that nurses often assessed and documented the reduction of psychotic symptoms, but less frequently documented medication side effects. Side effects are a significant reason why patients who are prescribed antipsychotic medications stop taking them (Semahegn et al., 2020).

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