Will getting an associates degree in psychology help with a neuro nursing position?

  1. Hi everyone- this is my first topic post. I looked around and searched for other posts with this topic but couldn't find any.

    I am very VERY interested in neurological nursing. Because of my life experiences, including having a sister with Dravet's syndrome I became fascinated with the human brain and nervous system. I started out majoring in Psychology, but working as a dental assistant part time made me realize how much I loved patient care. I know dental assisting isn't the same, but I found working directly with a patient providing medical care was more much more challenging and interesting. However, dental really isn't my thing. Since then I have been studying nursing and I love it! I can't wait to help out people like those in my family who have neurological disorders. I am not expecting it to be glamorous, but I know I will love it and I plan on working hard.

    So, I am done with my pre-requisites and I am waiting to get into the clinical program. I may have a one year wait, since my school has a lottery. I realized today that I am just 4 classes from a psychology associates degree. I love psychology as well, and I am wondering if getting that degree would give me an advantage as a neuro nurse. I don't want to spend the money if it won't help me in the long run, although I would enjoy the classes. Would this be impressive on a resume, or would that make someone feel that I couldn't decide between psychology and nursing (which is NOT the case at all)?

    Also- would it help with the job? I am sure understanding how people think and the effects of illness and neurological conditions would be a benefit, regardless of if it helps me get a job.
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    About Lyndsea

    Joined: Jan '12; Posts: 10; Likes: 2


  3. by   turnforthenurse
    I don't think having an associate's degree in psychology would make you more marketable, per se, but potential employers may notice. Although you want to work on a neuro unit, you can still have clients with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc. You don't have to work on a psych unit to experience all of that I say go for it, I think it will help in the long run!
  4. by   fever_rn
    Working this type of unit is very taxing. Knowing about various disorders may help you to get to know how you can better cope with the upcoming challenges of working neuro. Learn techniques to deal with difficult people and your own emotions and stress, however you can do this on your own. No need for a degree unless you want to specialize in wich case I recommend doing psychiatric nurse practitioner and work on neuro in the mean time. You will get what you need in clinical if you decide to do a neuro rotation.
  5. by   CountyRat
    Welcome to the forum Lyndsea. We are glad that you found us.

    I earned an AA in psych before going to nursing school, and it never made me any more marketable. In fact, no one has ever asked me about my AA or even cared whether I had one. I also have a BA in History, and while having a four-year degree may have made me a little more attractive to some employers, none of them cared what my major had been. If you ever decide to earn a graduate degree, then you should choose very carefully, as your choice of majors will be very important to future employers, but you are not there yet, so, let's move on.

    Do not expect the psychology classes you take to earn your AA in Psych to make you a better clinician. You will learn some very interesting things in classes that are broad, general surveys of psychological theories and history, but no clinical skills.

    O.K., now that I have been a total downer, let my offer some good news. Knowledge is NEVER a waste. The more you learn about anything the better you will be able to learn more in the future. Our brains never "fill up." The more we learn, the more we expand our capacity to learn in the future. Since you are so close to accomplishing your goal, and changing majors now would probably delay your entrance into nursing school, it might be best for you to carry on to the end and enjoy the satisfaction of achieving what you set out to do. What I would suggest is that while finishing your degree, take as many classes in hard science as you can. This is a great time for you to learn as much anatomy and physiology as your school offers. Study biology, microbiology, physics and chemistry, to the extent that you can. Be sure to take some classes that involve "bench science," that is, classes that require you to go into the lab and engage in some simple experimentation. Oh, and by the way, my junior college offered a class in neuroanatomy and neuroscience that I found valuable later as a nurse. Does yours? I think that these classes will do more to prepare you for a clinical career than any psych classes your school offers.

    Remember, I was a psych major too, and I do not regret it, so I am not being critical. However, after 30 years of nursing, I have found that my education in the hard sciences has contributed far more to my success, and my value to my patients, than any of my psych classes did.

    Be well, and good luck! You have an amazing adventure ahead of you. Please let us know how things go with you.