Suggestions for a newly accepted PMHNP

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    Hey Guys!
    Anybody who reads this or posts on here thanks in advance. I've been creeping in the background for the past two years reading up on as much as I could on this website. I was just recently accepted into a FPMHNP program in Missouri. I worked on a psychiatric unit as a tech through nursing school. I got a job at a Level 1 emergency department straight out of nursing school and I have been working here over the past year. I went to the emergency department so I could learn medically and be able to see psych patients straight of the street. (There is a very big difference between a manic patient in the ED as compared to one medicated arriving at the psych unit) I knew since my first clinical in psych that I wanted to be a PMHNP. I was cautious to apply because I want to know what I should know (before NP school) to give my patients the best care. I am taking my courses at a part time rate so I can continue to work and gain nursing knowledge. To anyone out there do you have any suggestions to be successful? Any personal stories that you would care to share to give me an idea of what to expect. I know school will be difficult, but I'm excited to get it started and under way!
    Thank you.
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    School wasnt too difficult. Juggling working full time and going part time was the hard part. I would suggest you go up on the psych inpt unit and get some time there. Sometimes pt's can present as "manic" in the ER but they are on spice, bath salts, meth, or have a UTI, thyroid disorder. Sounds like you are being very thoughtful about your RN work experience and that will help you out in the future as an NP. I've heard of some taking easy RN gigs (where do these exist I have no clue) and getting no real clinical psych experience.
    I would say try to get as much different psych experiences as you can get before becoming an NP. I was a travel Psych RN and was lucky enough to work geri, forensic, adult, child and adolescent, dual diagnosis, Psych ER, state and private hosp along with level 1 medical centers. Nothing beats experience.
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    I paid for my MSN program in cash, studying full-time while working more than full-time. I had one Med/Surg job and one easy Psych RN job-yes, they do exist! I did not completely into move to Psych while I was in school, because I needed to stick with what I knew. Staying in a familiar field can keep your stress level down as opposed to simultaneously starting a new program and new nursing field. It was rough, sometimes I put myself in dangerous situations from sleep deprivation due to my determination to finish. However, it sounds as though you are studying part-time which is more than manageable.

    All nursing experience is valuable, as every patient is a psych patient. However, I have read on the posts here that many RNs with years of Psych experience said that taking the certification exam was easy to them. Why don't you start school first, evaluate the demands versus your time management skills, and then determine if you can take on Psych per diem shifts or starting a new job all together. You may decide to keep things as they are, which is totally fine too. None of my classmates had Psych experience. Good luck to you.
    grace390 likes this.
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    Just finished up my first year of Psych NP school in Ohio. My school really emphasizes talk therapy and learning those skills more so than the meds. I guess it depends on what you want. Also with grad school it seems like what you put in is what you get out. Reading and re-reading texts, using supplemental texts as well is very helpful. I love school, I love my NP clinicals so far. This is the right fit for me, I just need lots of practice solidifying the skills.
    kfitzy89 likes this.
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    ^ Jdlunger, I'm looking for school that emphasize talk therapy. Can I ask where you go?
    kfitzy89 likes this.


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