Adult nursing better paid etc than Mental Health/psychiatric?

  1. I need your opinions.
    I'm not a nurse yet, i'm meant to start my training in february but can't decide what branch to specialise in.
    It's either adult or mental health.

    In my mental career path i see myself working in mental health (because i'm not a great fan of blood and gore...) and because i hope to go on and study a masters in psychology part time, and then get an Msc in Cognitive bahvioural Therapy and other than wanting to be a nurse, it seems like a very useful profession to have.

    However, my mother (adult branch nurse), thinks i'm making a very foolish mistake. You see, i want to travel the world, and she said that most countries don't want psychiatric/mental health nurses and i'll never get a job on a cruise ship or similar, because it is a 'secondary' profession really, a sideline to 'real nursing'. She also said if i want a job in this country i will be seriously limited in the regions/places i can work because jobs are scare in mental health nursing, and my pay will be much lower with and i'll have very little chance of job progression unless i retrain as a cognitive therapist etc. She thinks adult nursing is more challenging, more interesting, and more respected and i should be an adult nurse and then do the psychology training.


    Is she right?
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   epg_pei
    She's kinda right. Stress on the "kinda." I'm Canadian, graduated 6 months ago, and took a contract position in psychiatry because I didn't think I could cut it on the floor. I didn't stick it out and keep trying the way some of the nurses said I should.

    Anyway, psych nursing is as "real" as any other kind of nursing, and if it's the field that inspires you to think and dream, then go that route. I think your Mom is right in that psych nursing, at least among many of the nurses I have ever known, is viewed as requiring a lesser body of knowledge and skill. It is less physically demanding, but just as interesting, and you can develop and apply your body of knowledge in this field to the same degree as you might if you were a floor nurse. If I could choose, I would not choose between the two, I would choose both.

    But med/surg floor nurses are in much higher demand then psych nurses, based on my job hunting research of the past few months. There are several FT perm positions at my hospital for med/surg, none for psych, and none expected anytime soon. I think having the grounding in med/surg opens more doors than psych nursing ever will. I wish I could rewind and do the last year or so over again, I would have chosen more wisely I hope.
  4. by   suzanne4
    Your mother is correct, if you wish to travel and work around the world. You will be much further ahead to go the Adult route, since both the US and Canada require generalist training, not specialist in order to sit for the RN license. Nothing at all to do with mental health nursing, but strictly on the basis of being able to get a license in another country.
    Mental Health RNs usually do not have the training in the required areas for licensure as an RN in many other countirres.

    As far as salary goes in the US, there is usually not a difference in the same facility for peds vs. adult mental health nurses. A nurse is usually paid the same based on years of work experience, not the specialty.......even ICU vs. ER vs. OR. Salaries are normally the same.........

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