Acute Care NP, or Psychiatric CNS (So. California)

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    Hi all! I will be graduating with my ASN this month, and want to continue on to get a masters degree. There are a few prerequisites I still need to get into an RN to MSN program, which gives me time to gain experience before applying to a specialty area. However, I am really torn on which way to go.

    I am really interested in both Psych and Trauma nursing. I have always had an interest in both areas, and since my clinical experiences, I know that is where I want to be. My problem is, I can't decide which program to enter.

    My goal is to eventually move to Southern California. I am wondering if any of you could possibly advise me on nursing jobs in that area. Are Psych CNS's used? Are Acute Care NP's used in trauma units? I don't want to spend years studying in an area that will be difficult for me to obain a job in. Do they pay around the same salary? I know they are 2 completely different practices so I'm not sure how they differ in pay. So far, research hasn't been too helpful. I just want to make the best decision.

    Any advice on either of these programs or positions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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    Hi! I currently live in So Cal and work at a level one trauma center in a trauma ICU. We have 3 full time NP's for our unit and they work 3- 12's, rotating between them, occasionally one will work a swing shift to cover evenings, but none require call! One of the NP's told me her starting salary was around 90,000, but this all depends on years of experience, and your salary increases significantly after your first year. Many of the other ICU's also hire NP's, and one of ours that was recently hired is a new grad, who does not have ICU experience, and was chosen over 4 other NP applicants who have many years of NP and critical care experience. She did her clinical rotations on our unit, so networking and making connections during your clinical rotations seems to be very important in landing the job you want. So Cal has many level one trauma centers, so it should be easier than in some other areas in finding an NP job. I dont know what the effects of the new healthcare bill are thought to have in terms of job growth for inpatient NP's, but hopefully it will be a positive one for those of us who will be graduating around that time! One NP I work with reminded me not to be picky when looking for your first NP job, and she originally took a temporary position that ended up turning into a 4 year ICU NP job prior to her current position, so just getting your foot in the door is key, and go from there! Unfortunately I dont know much about psych NP's as I have only ever worked in ICU. Hope some of this info helps!
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