1st Psych Nursing Job starts Monday, any advice?

  1. 2
    I am leaving my SNF job for a new position at the County emergency mental health facility. I am 7 months graduated RN, and am very excited to be given this opportunity. I am a little nervous, as my only experience in psych was a 6 week rotation last year in school and helping my schizophrenic cousin with his issues while I was growing up. Another nurse in the community is telling me the senior nurses at my new job "eat their young", in regards to an inexperienced nurse coming aboard. What advice do you have for a younger, newer nurse on asserting a strong and respectable disposition around new psych nurse coworkers? I'm dying to make a good impression.....ie, I'm reviewing psych meds, DSM, therapeutic techniques, etc.
    priorities2 and sapphire18 like this.
  2. 23 Comments so far...

  3. 5
    Be sure to speak up for yourself, but LISTEN to your experienced coworkers when it comes to clinical issues. And really *listen* to your patients. They can tell when you're not. Good luck!!
  4. 2
    Quote from ChelleNurse
    I am leaving my SNF job for a new position at the County emergency mental health facil... I'm reviewing psych meds, DSM, therapeutic techniques, etc.
    Relaxxxx~~~~ just be calm, observe, listen, think, ask ~~~ it's not a problem for a new nurse in the field, everybody started from there~~ you'll do good job there!
    ChelleNurse and cienurse like this.
  5. 2
    The most important thing to do is stay safe... from the patients and from the other nurses. I agree with listening to the patients and really caring about your job. I have been a psych nurse for 5 years and did ER the 5 years prior to that. I think mental health can be overwhelming at times. I have found that most nurses either love it or hate it. The ones that love it really learn to help their patients and make a difference. You never know when someone is just reaching out and you may be the only one that is there to give them any hope. Learn to look past the acting out and bad behavior and see the person (even the 15th time you admit them that year).
    elprup and chevyv like this.
  6. 5
    Work on that Judo throw.
  7. 4
    Some good books to consider: An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jameson and Anatomy of an Epidemic, Witaker. Two very different perspectives that might give you some ideas where patients are coming from.

    Good luck. Keep an open heart.
    Kimberlyace, ChelleNurse, elprup, and 1 other like this.
  8. 3
    Kimberlyace, ChelleNurse, and elprup like this.
  9. 2
    It's a good thing you are making your preparations about the basics in psych, but you also need to prepare yourself emotionally and physically for you to handle the job very well! The best of luck to you
    ChelleNurse and Psychtrish39 like this.
  10. 0
    Everything all prior posters said ... wonderful points and most of see the person behind the diagnosis . I work with 38 residents dealing with schizophrenia and not a darn one of them are the same they all have different strengths and weaknesses and have great insight into themselves and others many times.
    Dont be afraid to ask coworkers because many of them will have known the patients for years. That helped me the most when I first started in psych you will learn things every day. I wish you Godspeed because it takes a special nurse to be a psych nurse so be proud I have always been proud to work with the mentally ill because they are stigmatized and need a medical professional's advocacy for them. Take care of yourself as well if you need time off to decompress take it as you can because psych is emotionally fulfilling but also emotionally draining. Good luck to you and glad to see a new nurse join the ranks in the psych field. Good luck to you.
  11. 2
    I am pretty honest with new nurses when they come into psych. You are either going to like psych or you are not. It is not worth it if you take the job home with you. I enjoy the patients and find everyday rewarding. The biggest advice would be to be aware of your surroundings at all times and look for body language more then the words they say. You can find out so much from people if you listen to them. Patients often will tell you how other patients are doing. If you have a good rapport you can see trouble brewing before it happens.
    Being aware of your surroundings means to not put yourself in an unsafe situation. I would always keep yourself near an exit from a patients room, never be with a patient alone (at least be within earshot of help) and always call for help before you need it if a situation is escalating. Stay calm no matter how unsafe you feel on the inside. Always fake the funk.. if you feel like someone will hurt you do not act afraid- and get help before you cannot ask for it
    ps... things do become unsafe in psych hospitals from time to time.. but its usually cause of the first two things I said.. 1- someone was not aware of their surroundings and 2- the staff did not listen and pay attention to nonverbal cues that something was about to happen.

    (sorry if I scared you about your first day- just remember psych patients are people too so talk to them like you would talk to any other patient you have in a hospital setting)
    ChelleNurse and dashingdiva like this.


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