Common Nursing Complaints & Psych NP's - Not As Bad?

  1. 4
    Hello All!

    I am an aspiring Psych NP currently taking my prerequisite classes. I have been reading and searching through this board for many months now (and will continue to) in order to try and prepare myself and get a grasp of the realities of the field. I am an adult student and a career changer and have learned not to go into anything blindly. I'm quite confident that Psych and the NP role are a great fit for me...so far...

    I have become aware of several trends or general concerns such as:

    -The not real nursing shortage
    -New grads having increased difficulty finding jobs
    -Weird NP politics with doctors and regular nurses
    -Differing opinions on direct entry grads (which I plan on being someday soon)
    -General first job horror stories

    I'm starting to get the impression that a lot of the more negative or potentially discouraging things I am reading/hearing are mainly concerns for RNs, BSNs, LPNs, and the like and revolve more around bedside nursing. I currently work in a hospital and this is also based on speaking with the NPs here.

    My questions for all you Psych NPs (and other experienced NPs) are:

    Is Psych, especially starting out as a Psych NP, a little different?

    Is the job market for Psych and Psych NP not as bad as it for the other more popular specialties?

    What's being a Psych NP really like? What should I be aware of or prepared for?

    Am I correct in assuming that Psych NPs don't have to deal with as many of the trials and frustrations of bedside nursing?

    Based on what Zenman and a couple other Psych NPs out there have posted, the Psych NP role sounds like a really good deal compared to other specialties and bedside nursing. I'm just trying to get a better perspective and test my naive assumptions.

    Thanks so much in advance for any and all opinions and thoughts. Your wisdom and guidance are greatly appreciated.
    RHIA, RN, kennybania, Joe V, and 1 other like this.

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  2. 52 Comments...

  3. 1
    I would also love to hear from practicing Psych NPs as well! I am starting my direct entry program this summer and will be graduating as a family psych NP in 2015... I'm hoping that the economy will have picked up by then? Everything I've heard has been really promising. At Penn they told me that Psych NPs are the the highest paid nurses, after CRNAs.

    I have heard 6 figure salary quotes from almost everyone I've spoken with about the career, but I don't know if that's just because I live in an independent practice state (I'll be going to school in another state, though). Also, I don't know if new grad PMHNPs can expect to make that much when they're just starting out. I heard someone say that if a PMHNP takes a salary below 90k they're being taken advantage of… but that must be regional as well, or so I hear. But yes, I've heard extremely promising things about salaries for psych NPs and I hope it's really the case (or at least that it will still be the case 3 years from now!)
    SmoothJams likes this.
  4. 1
    I wish I could do a direct entry path or make the leap without the obligatory year of nursing experience, but alas the school I'm going to for the master's requires 2,000 hours of work experience before being admitted to the clinical component of the program. It's a shame that's the case too because I like my current non-nursing career and really don't want to practice as a bedside RN. Sure, there could be advantages to doing so, but I'd rather be doing what I'm doing. Oh, well, I'll finish this BSN in May and find something to do with it. Hopefully, I'll still be able to do what I'm doing though.
    SmoothJams likes this.
  5. 5
    I think I've seen posts from both of you in threads similar to this regarding the "Psych NP Experience". I'm starting to think that the majority of Psych NP are keeping quiet in response to these types of inquiries on purpose. I bet that for those who are really into psych, it's a really great nursing path and they don't want to give away the secret. Good pay, not a ton of competition, consistent demand, ...

    I'm on to you Psych NPs...I'm on to ya!
    TraumaRN21, PQRSTmammaRN, KeriMarie, and 2 others like this.
  6. 1
    yes, I think psych is very much a niche in that not many people are necessarily interested in it, so that drives up the salaries since the need is great. I think only 3% of NPs are in psych. Also, psychiatry is an unpopular physician specialty, so there just really aren't many providers. I think what happens is that most people who are interested in mental health go the therapy provider route (LCSW, masters level therapist, psychology, etc.) … and as we all know, the market is completely saturated with therapists now. Most people interested in health and medicine tend to shy away from psych, so it leaves this perfect niche open for a person who is both interested in mental health and who opts to go the healthcare route, as opposed to the psychology route.

    And yes, PMHNPs we want to hear from you! Tell us like it is!
    SmoothJams likes this.
  7. 0
    PMHNP is exactly what I want to be! I am starting from the bottom though. Just going into nursing school starting in the fall. First to get my BSN and then hopefully onto my PMHNP. Which I am assuming is an MSN? Is this correct? Can someone give me an average payscale too on an entry PMHNP? Not that it matters, its just something I am wondering about. I know this is the area for me. Some where on this forum though someone stated that PMHNPs were not going to be 'needed' as much. Is this true? I am so confused about all of this because, as I stated, I am just starting out in my schoolin gin the fall. Someone please come along and help me too! I am so excited about this career move that I can hardly stand myself. But I am worried about what the other poster had said about the Psych NPs on another thread. TIA!!!
  8. 1
    Psych is a great choice as far as the job market - everywhere you look there are openings. Physicians are not going into psychiatry much these days as they are not well paid. Think about it...spending 40 mins with one patient can't result in great reimbursement. In addition, there are more medications available for treatment of mental health disorders than ever before and some of the stigma is easing as lots of mental illnesses are common conversation these days.

    However, on the flipside, psych/mental health NPs definitely deal with their share of drug seekers. It's not for everyone, but for those who really love the field it can be very lucrative. Some of my friends who specialized in psych have taken first jobs with great salaries.
    SmoothJams likes this.
  9. 0
    Is the 40 minutes to do therapy?

    As far as a business model goes, I wouldn't even encourage a psych NP to engage in talk therapy. There are simply too many other types of therapists out there that can do that. I suggest focusing on the biology of the disorder and throwing some pills at it. There are less people out there whose careers focus on pyschopharmacology. We all know you're not really going to cure the vast majority of them anyway.
  10. 1
    From what I have seen the most jobs are for FNP, then psych, then other specialties.I was thinking about getting a post grad cert. but I swear, some psychosis seem contagious. That and most psych practitioners are nut burgers.
    ivyleaf likes this.
  11. 0
    I too wonder why the Psych Nurses are so quiet? I would really to love to hear from them!! I am very interested in Psych NP program and wish I could get words of wisdom, advice from someone in the field..


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