We all have our place.

  1. 17
    I work on an inpatient psychiatric unit. We all know where that falls in the hierarchy of specialties.

    We have a patient who was diagnosed with cancer while on our unit. My favorite comment of the day came from the well respected oncologist seeing him: "People always ask me how I can do what I do, but I have no idea how you all can do what you do!" His new found respect made my day and from the smile on his face, the psychiatrist's too.

    There are so many different types of illnesses, patients, settings and situations. It's a good thing every specialty has people who were made just for each individual's suffering. Hope all of those searching for where they belong will soon find their place.
    anotherone, sharpeimom, pseudomonas, and 14 others like this.
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  3. 10 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I agree... I get told "I don't know how you do what you do" so often... I work in pediatrics, primarily in oncology. I can handle dying children any day of the week... but the elderly, I just can't do that.
    marydc likes this.
  5. 1
    Marydc, I have the utmost respect for psych nurses. On my heirarchy, they are at the top. I mean, really!? I work NICU - I can't even handle patients that can talk!

    More seriously: you are right; we all have our niche. And I hope that the newbies can find theirs soon.
    marydc likes this.
  6. 6
    I may be a little biased because I have a couple of very good friends who are mental health nurses, but you guys ROCK!!! I can't even imagine doing what you do every day, although I did enjoy my psych rotation in nursing school and wasn't so scared of "the crazy people" after that.

    Still, psych was never my favorite subject and I never would have gone into the career, but I became rather fascinated with it over the past couple of years thanks to a resident at my ALF who had multiple mental illnesses. Between his endlessly interesting issues and the fact that I myself was diagnosed with a psychiatric condition a little over a year ago, I've learned quite a bit about what literally drives people mad, and I admire the doctors and nurses who help patients get their mental health and their lives back on track. It can't be easy to see people at their absolute worst, day after day. I'm glad you're there for them!
  7. 4
    I work in psych and I love it.

    I got jabs from nursing school buddies about their jobs as a "real nurse" but I just blew those off. Why? Because most of them hate their jobs, are always looking for a way out, and I have no intention of leaving mine.

    I worked on a med/surg floor as an intern, and I can't imagine working there as an RN, and getting paid the same as I get paid now. The idea makes me cringe.

    Don't worry about how others view psych nursing or where it is on the hierarchy of specialties as long as you're happy where you are. I never dread going to work and my patients are always happy to see me come back on day 2 so that's all that really matters.
    anotherone, marydc, RNJill, and 1 other like this.
  8. 2
    I agree! Each one has a special place for them.
    marydc and SoldierNurse22 like this.
  9. 0
    Im a brand new nursing student so i still dont know all the areas, but I dont understand why people say psych nurses arent "real" nurses. Why is that such a saying?
  10. 3
    OP, I know exactly what you mean. It is important for nurses to realize that no specialty is greater than another specialty. I've done ICU and ED, school health, LTC, and methadone clinic nursing. Each specialty has it own unique set of skills required. I have my experience working with the "High and Mighty ICU nurse" who cried when the charge nurse played a prank on her saying she was being floated to psych.
    We all have our place in nursing and thank God we do. Some people couldn't do my job and I know I definitely could not do theirs.
    anotherone, marydc, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  11. 6
    Quote from mmcnabb3
    Im a brand new nursing student so i still dont know all the areas, but I dont understand why people say psych nurses arent "real" nurses. Why is that such a saying?
    Because most psych nurses don't have patients with medical problems that are being actively treated at the time of their psych treatment, so physical assessment skills/inpatient bedside skills (IV sticks, NG tubes, catheters, etc) tend to go by the wayside. However, as a wise clinical instructor once told me, "Physical tasks do not make a nurse".

    The assessment skills--of ALL kinds--of a nurse are what is vital. In a med/surg scenario, a nurse might discover a budding allergic reaction or a possible infection on assessing a patient. A pysch nurse might discover that a patient who was thought to be improving is actually contemplating suicide. That same instructor told us, "A psych nurse is the last person you want at a code and the first person you want in a crisis situation".

    Like the OP said, everyone has their niche.
  12. 2
    Tastes can change over time. I used to hate Lima beans and now like them. I loved psych in college. My first job as a nurse was a medical psych unit. I learned so much. I have learned that in every nursing job I have taken I have used some of the psych I gathered along the way. I have swung through critical care and said I could never take care of old people. I worked Med-Surg and found out most were older. I worked in addiction and much of my learning there has helped me in other situations. I worked in dementia areas and found my true love in nursing, assisting those whose minds have failed them long before their bodies. There was a certain challenge to connecting with someone who had gaps were circuits used to be. I have done supervision, hated it, administration had it's good points but not enough connectedness for me. I wanted to be with the action and writing how to do a procedure was not as interesting as doing it and using skills acquired over time.

    When a nurse tells me they never could ---, I smile and recall how I never would want to care for an old person. All of us are important and there is no reason to box yourself into one focus and ignore other possibilities. Everything you learn in one area can help in another.

    Bless all you nurses who are happy in your areas. You help the next generation of nurses to see the beauty and wonder of being a nurse. I learned to eat Limas, and passed that on to someone else who was convinced they would not like them. Yeah, tastes change.
    marydc and VivaLasViejas like this.


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