Mental Health Specialist (40 Hours/Rotating Shifts)
Massachusetts General Hospital(MGH)

Boston, Massachusetts

This job has expired.


Under the direction of the Registered Nurse, the Mental Health Specialist assists in the management of the inpatient milieu and engages with patients experiencing a wide range of acute psychiatric conditions in the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit.


The Mental Health Specialist is a member of the multidisciplinary team who, under the supervision of the Registered Nurse, performs a variety of duties on the milieu that include patient monitoring and coordination of and execution of milieu groups. Monitors the tone and activity of the unit to ensure a safe environment. Provides age-appropriate care by following Nursing policies, procedures, and protocols. Utilizes de-escalation strategies to assist patients with self-regulation within the mission of reduction of restraints. Develops relationships with patients using therapeutic communication to establish trust and safety.

Relevant activities include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Introduces self at the beginning of all shifts and informs patients that they are the counselor who will be working with them.
    • Demonstrates the use of a partnership model marked by problem solving and shared decision making.
    • Finds ways to negotiate with patients that reverses escalation and provides reasonable alternatives to a patient's requests.
    • Develops relationships with patients in a slow, methodical, deliberate, and consistent way to establish trust.
    • Understands that patients will have better outcomes through engagement.
    • Supports relationships based on "normal" rather than "mentally ill".
    • Contributes to a calm, peaceful, and safe environment through deliberate relationship
    building and values every individual's recovery experience.
          • Contributes to environment that is supportive, integrated and empowering for trauma survivors.
    • Assists patients in articulating personal goals for recovery by helping patients to recover their identities through hope and motivation.
    • Teaches patients how to identify and combat negative self-talk and how to overcome their fears by focusing on their strengths.
    • Engages in frequent, respectful interactions with patients with the intent to develop therapeutic relationships.
    • Facilitates the reduction of self-stigma in patients.
    • Modulates style of communication depending the patient's clinical presentation.
    • Shares knowledge of the recovery process to instill hope.
    • Facilitates problem solving strategies to support individual clients in self-directed recovery.
    • Understands the signs and symptoms of mental illness (i.e., auditory/visual hallucinations, aggressive talk and behavior, thoughts of self-harm or harm towards others, isolation) and develops strategies for engaging with patients who suffer from these symptoms.
    • Able to recognize warning signs indicative of an increase in potential for violence against self or others and intervenes to reverse escalation
    • Demonstrates proper use of limit setting and behavioral intervention strategies.
    • Understands and supports the mission of restraint/seclusion reduction and maintains annual de-escalation training.
    • Prevents the use of restraint and seclusion by strategically intervening and effectively de-escalating potentially violent situations.
    • Trained to participate in the trauma informed restraint/seclusion of patients when all other less restrictive measures have failed.
    • Provides 1:1 observation to patients at risk for harm to self or others, or elopement.
    • Works collaboratively with Police and Security partners to decrease assaults through engagement in workplace safety activities.
    • Follows safety checks procedures at all times. Demonstrates accurate documentation of safety checks. Rounds with on-coming shift to hand off safety checks.
    • Demonstrates understanding of and utilizes appropriate therapeutic boundaries with patients, families, and co-Counselors.
    • In collaboration with the weekday Occupational Therapist and weekend resource nurse, the MHS evaluates the group needs of the patients on the unit and plans accordingly.
      • Coordinates and runs 3 groups daily to provide therapeutic and supportive counseling in the absence of OT or group support from other disciplines.
    • Demonstrates proper management of "sharps" per Safety policy.
    • Recognizes changes in patient behaviors and communicates them to the patient's Nurse and the Resource Nurse.
    • Manages and negotiates safe entry to and exit of persons from the locked unit.


    • Follows established Nursing policies, procedures, and protocols
    • Demonstrates appropriate hand hygiene and follows infection control procedures.
    • Maintains CPR certification.
    • Monitors patients in restraints, seclusion and/or provides constant observation per policy.
    • Responsible for coordinating and working in partnership with assigned RN to execute the patient's plan of care.
    • Notifies RN of any deterioration of the patient's physical status (per RRT and stroke criteria).
    • Performs vital signs, glucose monitoring, and phlebotomy.
    • Assists patients as needed with all necessary aspects of ADLs (bathing, laundry, organizing room, maintenance of nutritional/hydration needs, assistance with and monitoring of elimination needs).
    • Assists patients with managing/organizing their time on the milieu.
    • Assists in the admission process by performing a complete and accurate search of patient belongings. Labels and stores belongings per unit policy.
    • Accurately documents patient belongings with location of where belongings are stored.
    • Maintains patient's personal belongings that are in the patient belongings closet.
    • Utilizes appropriate equipment for the management of patients with physical disabilities (wheelchairs, geri-chairs, side rails, handicapped shower facilities, physical lifts).
    • Identifies the unique needs and implements appropriate interventions for age specific populations.

    • Collaborates with other health care team members to provide interdisciplinary patient care by attending assigned team meetings.
    • Shares observations of patient behavior information with interdisciplinary team members.
    • Acts as a patient advocate within the interdisciplinary team.
    • Work effectively and respectfully with all members of the health care team.


    • Excellent customer service skills
    • Ability to multi-task and work efficiently in a busy environment
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills
    • Computer proficiency
    • Completes annual required training and updates knowledge through periodic in-service programs.


    Minimum Required:

    X High school diploma, GED or equivalent

    X Some college or Associates Degree

    Field of Study/Additional Specialized Training:

    College credits in behavioral health sciences

    Bachelor's degree preferred


    Prior group facilitator experience preferable

    Prior experience providing milieu and safety management in a behavioral health care setting required


    • Work is performed in a locked inpatient psychiatric setting. Works in a fast paced inpatient psychiatric care environment where there is potential exposure to blood, blood products, body fluids, infectious materials, electrical, fire, chemical, radiation, physical contact and equipment hazards.
    • Must have sufficient mobility to negotiate physical plant including the strength and endurance to perform physically for long periods of time.
    • Must have the physical ability to transfer and lift patients with and without mechanical devices.
    • Physical dexterity and psycho-motor skills to respond adequately and appropriately to routine and emergent patient care needs.


    Minimum Required:

    X Bachelor's degree preferred

    Field of Study/Additional Specialized Training:

    College credits in behavioral health sciences

    EEO Statement
    Massachusetts General Hospital is an Equal Opportunity Employer. By embracing diverse skills, perspectives and ideas, we choose to lead. Applications from protected veterans and individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged.

    This job has expired.

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