psychiatric aid or pharm tech: which job will help me in nursing career?

  1. 0
    i wanted to get certified as a psychiatric aid and phamacy technician before i became a rn. i dont know how to go about looking for employment in these jobs. i wanted to work and save up to pay my own way in school. i currently am senior in college for ba in community and public health with a minor in mental health services. i am not sure what to do with that degree and i would prefer to have a back up plan. any advice is GREATLY APPRECIATED
  2. 11 Comments so far...

  3. 3
    If you're really interested in psych nursing, then being a psych tech would be a great place to start. I don't think being a pharmacy tech would be all that useful in terms of what is viewed as relevant experience by future employers. You might learn some things about different drugs, but you will learn far more during nursing school about pharmacology than you'll have time to absorb while teching at a pharmacy.

    If you're not interested in psych nursing specifically, I would skip the psych tech job and focus on getting a medically-oriented tech job in a hospital or long-term care facility. You might want to do a CNA course (takes about 8 weeks) since that certificate will help you get a tech job in a more medical environment. The experience would also really help you decide if nursing is what you want.
    mee9mee9, Juwon, and Hospice Nurse LPN like this.
  4. 2
    You might want to try taking a CNA course instead. I think that would be more valuable to you if you are trying to begin a career in nursing.
    xtxrn and Hospice Nurse LPN like this.
  5. 3
    I agree with above poster. Unless you are definitely interested in psych nursing, I would suggest going the CNA route. You would get more direct hands on experience and get to watch (and maybe help with) some of the procedures the nurses do. And my course was only 2.5 weeks long. And I did it while in school full time and working part time. Sure, I was tired for those 2.5 weeks, but it was definitely worth it.
  6. 3
    Just from another perspective, being an a psych unit would give you valuable experience in therapeutic communication - and you will have to deal with psych issues in any specialty.
    xtxrn, Alliedhealth, and kool-aide, RN like this.
  7. 3
    I've worked as an inpatient pharm tech for the last 6 years and I just graduated. It has been such a valuable experience for me. I have become comfortable in the hospital setting, I really know my meds, I have a strong foundation in med safety, I am familiar with typical dosing (i.e. I can recognize when an order doesn't seem right), I understand how the hospital works as a whole and not just from the viewpoint of the nurse, and I have become involved in a nursing/pharmacy task force that works together to improve workflow and patient care. I love my job and I will be sad to leave it when the time comes (although I am so ready to move on. Come on new grad job!). CNA would be a great job as well but in nursing school I noticed that the CNA's felt more comfortable with basic patient care but I had the edge in other areas. Just my 2 cents. Everyone's experience is different.
    xtxrn, mee9mee9, and Hospice Nurse LPN like this.
  8. 2
    Pharmacy tech!!

    I was a pharm tech for 3 years in the inpt hospital setting. The medication knowledge you gain is invaluable. I asked A LOT of questions, about what certain meds were used for etc.

    I was familiar with brand-generic names, dosages, how to calculate doses. I took a certification exam for Certified Pharm Tech.

    If I had to go back, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

    All the best,
    Diane
    xtxrn and penny112 like this.
  9. 1
    I am a nursing student, have worked as a pharm tech and now I am a psych tech. Like the others have said your best bet is to be a nursing tech on a med-surg unit. You will learn alot. Working as a pharmacy tech did help with pharmacology, working as a psych tech is helping with therapeutic communication. I love my psych job, but I also have a interest in psych nursing.
    xtxrn likes this.
  10. 0
    Unless you are going to pursue psych nursing, I don't see how being a psych tech would be helpful. I don't see pharm tech being at all applicable.
  11. 0
    Quote from Diane-RN in Michigan
    Pharmacy tech!!

    I was a pharm tech for 3 years in the inpt hospital setting. The medication knowledge you gain is invaluable. I asked A LOT of questions, about what certain meds were used for etc.

    I was familiar with brand-generic names, dosages, how to calculate doses. I took a certification exam for Certified Pharm Tech.

    If I had to go back, I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

    All the best,
    Diane
    did u get certification before training?


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