Wabi Sabi 1,847 Views
Joined Nov 18, '09.
Posts: 45 (33% Liked)
It's a very fast-paced environment. Patients come and go (often time within 3-4 hours). It's admission and discharge all day long. Things can and do get crazy really quickly. For instance, you may start your shift with 3 patients, then while you are in the middle of assessing your second patient, you have an admission to go do. Often time, patients are very psychotic and out-of-control, so you would most likely have to restraint them and give a cocktail. While you're doing all of these, 2 of your assigned patients have orders for transfer or admit to the floor (transfer is the worst because you gotta do it quick before the ambulance arrives to pick up patients). So, there could be many things going on all at once.
If you are the triage nurse, then you control the flow of the whole unit. Many times, I have 2-3 police cases trying to come in one door and 2 or more ambulance cases waiting to come in another. Plus, the regular ED units keep calling trying to transfer their psych patients to my unit. I think the most I have done (as a triage nurse) was 17 admissions in a 12-hour shift. I was dead tired by the end of that.
If you have time, capability, and determination, I would say go to medical school and become a psychiatrist. Having a MD or DO behind your name opens many many doors and you will get to really be in charge of patient care. As a nurse, regardless of level, you are still a nurse and there's always limitations to what you are allowed to do.
Wow, really? I have honestly never heard such a story. In my area (So Cal), RNs make a LOT more than LVNs, including LTC (I have a RN friend who has worked there since he was a CNA). That must be terrible for RNs in your area to get paid the same as LVNs. More schooling and more skills, and yet the same pay? Wow, that sucks.
I think $21 per hour is too low for a psych nurse in that environment (considering all the risks and such). I make more than double of that working at a private psych facility and I have a LVN who passes all medications and processes all orders concerning medications and labs. I am also never the only RN in the unit (even when we have 18 patients). I mean, don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of work dealing with patients, doctors and family members. Last week, there were 7 discharges and 6 admissions on my shift (with me and another RN). But at least, I feel that I am fairly compensated for my work (considering I am too a new grad). The bottom line is if you don't feel safe, you should ask to work in a less acute unit. As far as feeling overwhelmed, that is normal. You are just starting out. I felt scared and overwhelmed for at least 4-5 months when I started. You will gain more confidence in yourself and things do get better. Good luck on whatever you decide.
Are you kidding me? RNs (whether BSN or ADN) get paid substantially more than LVNs/LPNs, not to mention more opportunities in terms of specialization and administration. If you can afford it, go for the BSN. Don't waste your time with LVNs (as many people here already said it, it's hard to get a good job as a LVN.
Definitely not safe! It's dangerous that you are the only RN on the unit. There should be at least one more RN and one more MHW.
If you are young, I'd say go to med school. If that is what you really want, don't settle for anything else. You will be happier in the end. You have just completed your first semester of nursing school, correct? You still got a long way to go. First semester of anything is easy (CNAs and basic stuff). You should focus on completing your BSN first, then finding a job, then trying to survive as a nurse on the floor, then thinking about anesthesia.
Trust me, I was like you once (thinking about going to anesthesia school even before I started nursing school) and now I have changed my mind. Not that I'm worried about the rigor of anesthesia school but it's some other reasons.
I float to a Geriatric Psych ICU unit (high acuity) frequently and what you described is pretty common. Having RT on call or even not having RT after hours at all is not really a big deal. Also, at the hospitals that I have been to security personnel are never involved in any emergency situations. You, as a nurse, and your coworkers are the ones responsible for handling codes. Often, we would call other units to get male staff to come and help out. However, we can always call a code using a telephone and from my experience, more than enough people show up to help out. I have never felt unsafe at my work.
Take whatever is BEST for you and your family.
It can be frustrating sometimes how little time we have to spend interacting with patients. Since you work 8-hour shifts, I imagine it would be hard to spend time with your patients. I work 12-hour shifts and usually we have some downtime in the afternoon where we can walk around and talk to patients more. If you want more 1-1 interaction, maybe you should consider something like out-patient clinic or something.
Becoming a nurse is not hard but being a nurse (working) is really hard. The educational requirements, intensity, and difficulty are far less than medicine. There are plenty of public schools in CA for BSN and ADN. Besides UCs, there are also Cal State schools. I personally don't believe you need to go to "the best nursing school" in order to become a good and competent nurse. After schooling, you need to learn how to work as a nurse (residency and internships will help you get started). For now, you should volunteer and see if nursing is what you really want to do.
That is probably the best thing you could have done. Once you have your foot in the door, it would be much easier to get a job once you have your RN license.
I don't know but at my work (psych hospital), certain RNs can do face-to-face for S&R. They have to be certified/qualified of some sort (most of the time it's the nurse managers or house supervisors). Physicians are always notified but from what I have seen, NO PHYSICIANS had ever come to do a face-to-face for S&R. Most of the time, we take patients out of S&R after half an hour or an hour anyway.
I would say any opportunity right now is a good opportunity (considering the state of job market at the moment). Maybe, you could work at this job while looking for a hospital job? Any experience is valuable for new grads.
PS: My current pay at a psych hospital is higher than all of my friends in other specialties (DOU, M/S, ER) by the way.
If I were you, I would continue on to get a Master's degree or a Ph.D. in your field. Nursing is very different from Biology and "hard" science (and this coming from someone who has a BS in Biology as well). I don't personally find it more intellectually challenging than bio science. If you are looking for something challenging, go to graduate school or medical school (or even pharmacy school).
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