A Day in the Life
What’s your current job and what does it require?
I work as a licensed psychiatric technician at a major hospital in Sacramento. I provide care to patients with bipolar, personality and schizophrenic disorders. I develop personal relationships, friendships basically, with them to reduce their discomfort and increase their sense of well-being. I also monitor them to make sure they are taking their medication.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
It’s amazing to see the improvement in my patients’ health. They usually come in really mentally disorganized and I watch their condition stabilize day after day all because of the care I give them. And the bond I form with them is so meaningful to me. Some of my patients share stories about their lives — sometimes funny, sometimes sad. It helps me understand where they’re coming from and provide better care.
What’s most challenging?
Being a psych tech is definitely not easy. Two patients could be diagnosed with identical conditions but require different treatments. I have to try different combinations of medicines and relationship-building styles until I see positive results. The feeling I get when I eventually get it right is priceless.
How did you know psychiatric tech was the right job for you?
I’ve been fascinated by the mind and how it works ever since I was a kid. And I wanted a career where I could make a real difference in people’s lives. But going to school for years and years wasn’t going to be easy for me while raising a child.
One day, my dad brought home a flyer for an 18-month program to get licensed as a psychiatric technician. I was so excited about the opportunity that I signed up right away. The length of the program was the right fit for my life and opened the door to a very rewarding career.
What’s your best advice for anyone considering becoming a psychiatric tech?
My advice is to visit your local Employment Development Department (EDD) office and talk to the representatives there about where to find information about schools and programs. They can help you figure out if being a psych tech is right for you.