Matt Heflin

Matt Heflin is a psychiatric nursing assistant at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I used to work with him at the info desk at the hospital, where he worked for several months as a student. He has experienced a lot in his job at the psych clinic and knows how to weave those experiences into fascinating stories.

Heflin has a tattoo that reads “We the People” in parchment script that stretches across his torso. He actually appeared in an Off Deadline story about the tattoo parlor where he got this interesting piece of body art.  On a personal note, he’s an outgoing character with strong political views, usually tending towards the liberal persuasion. I know this from having spent some time previous to my interview. However much of my interest lies withing the scope of his current occupation, and tt is difficult to perform a webbased bacground search in this area, as none of it has been  previousl publicize. Furthermore, the information about his work in the UIHC is largely restricted by HIPAA laws, so there is very little out there pertaining to the actual events within the Thought Disorders unit. Much of the personal anecdotes will come form my interview.

Nonetheless, information can be gathered on this subject online, though not as directly as in other casess. Job descriptions for psychiatric nursing assistants can be found, detailing the responsibilities and in-job nuances of dealing with patients who suffer from psychological illnesses on a day to to day basis. These responsibilities can be as intimate as performing restraint to prevent bodily harm against others or themselves, and as rudimentary as simply watching TV with these patients or talking with them about their lives. Reading up on the duties of this emotionally and physically taxing occupation is an invaluable source of information about the daily trials undergone in such a confusing and–pardon the term–manic working environment. 

Again, few personal anecdotes from any nursing assitant are likley to show up online, but futher background can be gathered on blogs. This particular blog offers localized information about psychiatric nursing assistant jobs, the training involved, and the salary that can be expected. Again, not much in way of in-field detail, but valuable nonetheless.

It might be useful to  gain the perspective of the patients in these types of clinics. To do so I would consult  a message board where the thoughts or complaints of previous or current patients can be addressed.  This could provide avenues of questioning during the interview. If the complaint of mistreatment is common in psych clinics, I could ask a question about whether or not Heflin has witnessed or even administered treatment that could be considered cruel or unusual.

I chose these links quite frankly out of an absence of other relevant data available. These were the most directly informative about the topic at hand, offering a glimpse into the mechanics of working in a thought disorders clinic. Knowing this before stopping into an interview provides a foundation on which to build my questioning.


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