Experimenting with a different nursing field

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    Just wondering if there were any other nurses out there who do side jobs in other nursing fields than their primary one? I have around 2 yrs of experience working with adults critical care. I would like to experiment in another field as a side job as an RN of course. For example, if I wanted to do a per diem in psych, L+D, etc, what would I need to do?? Has anyone made this transition and what have you done?

    Thanks for any advice!
    sapphire18 likes this.
  2. 7 Comments so far...

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    For psych, you will need some sort of management of assaultive behavior (PRO-ACT or MAB) training. Psych nursing is very different than critical care. Rarely do they have IV drugs, most of the time it'll be PO meds with nurses managing or assessing for potential SE.

    Depending of what type of adult critical care you've done, L&D is another different monster. If you want to try labor and delivery, being an OR nurse would help a lot since you will sometimes prep the whole room as a sterile field. You will also need to assess for cervix dilation, FHR, late or early decels.
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    Thank you! it seems as though with my adult experience, psych would be a better option, as in it would be an easier transition...

    I am also concerned about what my manager would think, I plan to keep my first job as my primary job, and just experiment around with other fields... How has anyone gone about doing this?
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    I haven't done this myself (no time for a 2nd job), but have worked per diem in the past. I would just look at area hospitals' employment sections on their webites and see if any units have per diem positions posted. That's how I found my jobs when I was looking to work per diem.
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    spoke with an area hospital for psych per diem and they said that since it wasnt my original field, they dont hire people for per diem.... because per diem orientation is much less intense
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    I worked at a Rehab Hospital and a Pedi home Health Job as a new grad LPN; fast forward nine years as a new RN, I work as a supervisor in LTC and a Post Acute Pedi facility; I only was able to get my new job due to my previous Pediatric experience; my LTC was based on previous experience, so I was able to get a supervisor gig, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten the position.
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    I suggest hiring on with two different agencies. I originally gained psych experience this way.
    It depends on the facility the agency is trying to staff. Some facilities will make you jump through more hoops than the staff.
    It would be a good idea to study up on psych and as by Nurse suggests, obtain training in assaultive behavior ( try also CPI).

    If needing to learn about how to handle an assaultive patient doesn't scare you away that is I assure you, it happens and it hurts.
    As far as L&D, sorry . Don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies. But I would imagine the would be one of the most highly regulated specialties.

    Good luck, keep us posted.
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    I've been in psych nursing almost 30 years. Most every facility has an approved, specific program on de-escalation and physical interventions that is used at that facility (because most states require this in their state mental health rules/regs). They will provide training in this to new hires, in house, as part of the orientation process. If you took some other program that isn't what that facility has approved and is using, you'll still have to take their course. There is no need for or benefit to seeking out a course on your own. You'll get in trouble if you use physical restraint or self-defense techniques different from those taught in the facility's approved course (of course, the principles of verbal de-escalation and therapeutic communication are universal, so studying up on those could be a help).

    I've worked per diem in a few different places over the years, and, in my experience, the orientation was not any less than new full-time staff got, and the orientation was (at least) a couple weeks of full-time work (M-F, days). Are you going to be able to manage that with your full-time job?

    I've also never worked anywhere in psych that was willing to hire nurses with no psych experience to work prn. I did work one place that was in the process of going down the tubes, and so many nurses had already quit that they were using lots of agency nurses (with no psych experience) to staff the units. That was really ugly.


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