Changing Specialities .. Psych to Medicine

  1. Hello Nurses,

    I am NY State RN. Finding a job was a nightmare for me after I received my license. I took up a job in a specialty that I didn't plan to work into but, since it was my only option I embraced it. I have been working as a Psych Nurse since the past 1.5 years now.

    After gaining a year's experience I have been applying in hospitals for a med-surge, ED, Medical unit positions. No Luck.

    Is it really that hard to switch gears? Has anyone gone through the same? At this point I am so desperate I am ready to take any position that's not Psych. I hate this feeling of being pigeon holed.

    Please share your thoughts. I need some encouragement/ help.
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    About Macann, BSN

    Joined: Jul '11; Posts: 53; Likes: 13


  3. by   TriciaJ
    It's doable. I spent 15 years working psych, then corrections for 6 years (it was a stretch at first). When I applied to med-surg I had been a nurse 20 years with no med-surg experience. Some of the machines hadn't even been invented when I was in nursing school. Very intimidating but I was determined to get un-pigeon-holed. They gave me a great orientation and preceptorship, which was lucky. I did great and worked there 7 years. It's going to depend on where the nursing jobs are at any given time and how much they're willing to work with you. Unless you're really hating psych, you don't need to be in a huge hurry. Enjoy your career at every stage and be alert for the opportunities that present themselves.
  4. by   Scarlettz
    Are you working at a stand alone psych facility? If you aren't having any luck, perhaps try applying for psychiatric nursing jobs in a psych unit of a hospital. This will help give in an "in" to a facility that offers other areas of nursing. You may be able to transfer to a new unit once you put in some time there.

    Psych nursing was (is) my dream field. I am currently in medsurg and hope to transfer to psych some day!
  5. by   NurseLizBSN
    I am in the exact same position. New grad in psych for 1.5yr and have been applying elsewhere for the last couple of months. I feel so frustrated feeling like I'm stuck in psych. I figured transferring wouldn't be this difficult since I have my "foot in the door" but I'm not getting any call backs. I'm worried the longer I'm in psych the harder it will be to obtain a medical floor position. I liked psych in the beginning but lately I've been feeling burnt out and need a change and would like medical experience under my belt.
    Let me know if you have any luck so I can have some hope. For now I will keep applying to everything I can. At some point something's got to give. Good luck!
  6. by   Nonetheless
    Unfortunately, it's so easy to be pigeonholed as a psych nurse.
    But you can always go into grad school and become a psych np!

    OR move on to non-hospital positions! There are a lot of places outside the bedside that will love your Psych experience, like public health/ community health or prison nursing.
  7. by   Rags2Riches RN
    I know the feeling. The key is to keep trying & applying. I went into psych straight of nursing school. My hospital was part of a larger health system. When I approached my one year anniversary, I applied all over the health system for other specialties (ICU, med/surg) but with no luck. I thought it would be easy since I was an internal candidate. I became so frustrated that I could not obtain employment that I eventually left that health system and went to another hospital still in psych though. But I realized that I truly did not want to do psych (any longer) so I began applying to medical jobs again and finally someone took a chance, ironically it was with my old employer. I'll be starting on a general medicine/step down unit next week after working 2 years in psych
  8. by   NurseLizBSN
    Congrats Rags2RichesRN !! now I have some hope haha.. I thought the same thing that since I am an internal candidate it would be easier to transfer but that definitely isn't the case.. I will keep applying & hopefully get something soon I don't want to work in psych anymore -_- .. Good Luck on your new unit next week!