I work in a psych hospital as a casemanger\psychiatric tech right now while I'm finishing up school. I love psych, I love everything about it. I got my degree in psych, but realized after I started in case management that I would much rather be a psych nurse because 1) the pay is way better and 2) as a casemanger I see my pt's for maybe 30 min. a day and as a nurse I could see them all day. We mainly have acute schiz patients, some adjustment and personality disorders thrown in to the mix also. That said I can understand why you didn't like your rotation. The other nursing program in my city (my nursing program goes to another facility so yea! I don't have to be at "work" 80 hours a week!) come to our hospital for their clincials. I think the instructor must be a little "scared" of our patients because they do very little with them. When the group comes in the morning they sit in on one of my goals and discharge planning groups, then they sit in on one of my 1:1 sessions, then they watch an activity group. For the rest of they pour over the charts and do care plans
and look up different diagnosis. They only went back with the patients in the locked unit one time and as soon as one of the patients started preaching (he loves an audience but he was not out of control by any means) their instructer hearded them up and headed for the door. Now I understand the need for safety, but no one was in danger, and part of the psych experience is seeing patient behaviors and learning about the illness. If I was in that clinical rotation I would have been bored out of my mind and hated it too.
I'm so glad that I got my experience as a psych tech for I became a nurse, or even a casemanger, for that matter. When you spend time in the trenchs, locked in a unit with acutly psychotic people you lose the fear, and the pity, and just see them as people. Every patient is unique and their issues are unique. I hate to see people walk into that unit and act afraid to be there. It hurts the patients too, they pick up on those kinds of things.
I guess my advice is, to those who are going into your psych rotations is that, just like all other rotations, it is what you make of it. There are tons of enriching experiences to be gained but you can't be to afraid to seek them out. Spend as much time as possible with the patients...that is where the true learning is.
p.s. just like the poster above stated , I also hate med\surg! We do 70 total med\surg days and only 15 psych days. Boo! Sometimes I wish that as nurses we could pick our speciality like a doc does and just concentrate on that.