I'm currently in the Army as a combat medic and I'm considering a career as a psych nurse once I get out (I have absolutely no desire to stay in). I want to have a little bit of background and kind of continue my education while I'm in since I can get tuition assistance starting next year for a master's degree.
I just want to know if a degree in Applied Behavior Analysis will be beneficial before I get out and pursue my RN??
It might help you in getting a job in psychiatry by giving you an edge on other applicants, although it won't be a job requirement in any setting that I am aware of. I had a BA in psychology before I went to nursing school, and it gave me an edge getting hired on an adult mental health unit.
Congratulations on your decision and thank you for you service! I started my career as a combat medic too
To answer your question-if you want to be a psychiatric nurse, other behavioral health degrees will be unnecessary. Getting your ADN or BSN will be your priority and then gaining experience. If you are wanting to gain some knowledge now while you are still in, I would recommend starting your nursing prerequisites (will be determined by which program you apply to, but are general to most programs), if you can take some online (you should be able to).
You might also think about becoming active in local or national mental heath efforts; these will expose you to a lot of new knowledge and any volunteer work through these groups will look great on your resume.
Please feel free to PM for any further info and good luck with your endeavors!
I agree that your best bet would be to start knocking out the standard nursing prerequisite courses, rather than getting any other, non-nursing degrees. The most that any other, psych-related, degree would do for you in nursing is maybe give you a slight advantage in job-hunting. Maybe. Slight.
Best wishes for your journey!
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