Becoming a Mental Health/Psychiatric NP - Advice

  1. I am working as a Paramedic in a fire dept right now and am burnt out. I am doing a 1 year transition from Medic-RN next year then a 1 year BSN online program while I gain experience.

    I think I want to try a new field besides emergency once I am doing with my current career and am thinking Mental Health. How hard is it to get accepted into a Mental Health NP Program? Are there plenty of programs that are 2 years of length once I complete my BSN? I am hoping a year or 2 of nursing experience as well as my medic experience will be good enough for my applications. My original undergrad GPA in Poli Sci from back in the day is awful but my post bacc GPA is close to a 4.0 and my science GPA is great. I am planning on killing it in nursing school as well so those grades will help out as well I hope.

    My friend just got into CRNA school and she said it was incredibly competitive, is Psych NP close to as competitive? I am not picky on where I live during school. Thanks and I tried searching for answers and googling but I am still a little confused on MSN-NP education
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    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 21; Likes: 2


  3. by   algebra_demystified
    It's not as competitive, but there are reasons for that. There's the old standby... Psych is the first thing to go. When budgets get cut, mental health services get cut before med/surg.

    If you can, get some experience as a tech doing rounds and lighting cigarettes and sitting on 1:1's. Work a unit passing meds for a while. Then work the floor as a charge nurse. I think it's important to know what the techs are doing. It's a pay cut I'm sure, but it's worthwhile.

    I've heard from several experienced psych nurses that it takes two years to learn the job. I think that's got some truth to it. As a psych charge nurse with two years of experience, I went to my techs who had been on the floor for 30+ years daily for help with any number of situations. My two years plus my Associates degree were no match for decades of wisdom.

    I just started my PMHNP program. I couldn't imagine going straight to psych from emergency. It's such a different world. The cookbook doesn't work so much in psych.