Becoming a psych NP... no psych experience - page 2

by Girlygirl69

I have three years med-surg experience and two years+ Medical ICU experience. Ive never worked psych as an RN but I was a mental health worker for one and a half years and I loved it. I've always been interested in psych but I... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from Jules A
    I don't get it but no one asked my opinion.
    (I don't get it, either, but, like you, nobody asked my opinion. )
    Jules A likes this.
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    Lissa, you don't see the whole picture. Psychiatrists have medical school, residency, internship to prescribe and specialization in order to be baby-shrinks. An RN who prescribes must have a Master's degree, advanced pharmacology, clinical experience during the Master's degree, certification in area of specialization, a collaborating doctor almost everywhere, approval by the facility that hires her if she works for someone, major complications if she works for herself that can be insurmountable, approval by insurance companies so the patients will have their bills paid, and probably lots of other things I've forgotten. It's not a matter of just finishing school and being competent to do the job. I'm not saying it's impossible to be competent at that point, but I think it's rare to both be completely competent and/or FEEL competent. It takes awhile.

    Being a tech is totally different than being a nurse. Being an advanced practice nurse is totally different than being a nurse. Experience matters. It's much more important than schooling, in my opinion.
    Meriwhen and Jules A like this.
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    The answer to your question is that your experience is one component of your application. The other components are your undergrad grades, GRE scores (possibly), letters of recommendation, and your interview. Assuming you had good grades, scores, letters and interviewed well, you shouldn't have a problem!

    Obviously, what I'm saying here is that there are a number of factors that go into admissions. You will be asked why you are interested in becoming a psych NP. Much of the work involves meds. Psych meds require close monitoring of labs, side effects and effectiveness. Your ICU experience will serve you well in that you understand the concept of titrating and monitoring lab values.

    Don't worry. If you feel drawn to the field, go for it. You don't need years of experience as a psych RN to be a PMHNP - the roles are hugely different.
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    Quote from TheOldGuy
    Don't worry. If you feel drawn to the field, go for it. You don't need years of experience as a psych RN to be a PMHNP - the roles are hugely different.
    Although an ICU nurse is definitely more suited for these programs than the new CNLs with no nursing experience I disagree that the roles are hugely different in the regard that both RNs and NPs need to assess the situation and make decisions on what medication to either prescribe or administer in crisis so having that experience to draw from is crucial, imo.
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    Jules, are you an NP? NP student?

    Most psych RNs work in an inpatient setting - relatively controlled. Typically the focus is stabilization. The RN doesn't diagnose. The RN calls the doc because they need something. The RN might suggest a particular med but more often than not simply presents the doc with the situation (often emergency meds!). The RN is not doing titration of meds over weeks or months to find the right combo that works for a pt. Having the responsibilityy to make the decision regarding diagnosis and what to prescribe, not to mention trying to find the right dosing is hugely different than observing and administering.
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    Quote from TheOldGuy
    Jules, are you an NP? NP student?

    Most psych RNs work in an inpatient setting - relatively controlled. Typically the focus is stabilization. The RN doesn't diagnose. The RN calls the doc because they need something. The RN might suggest a particular med but more often than not simply presents the doc with the situation (often emergency meds!). The RN is not doing titration of meds over weeks or months to find the right combo that works for a pt. Having the responsibilityy to make the decision regarding diagnosis and what to prescribe, not to mention trying to find the right dosing is hugely different than observing and administering.
    Haven't taken my boards yet. How about you? Your above paragraph sounds like a large list of reasons someone with no psychiatric experience might not be well suited to graduate as a NP. While I agree that the roles are different before I had even taken a single NP class I had a good read on what the intake would be diagosed with, the medication and dose the physician would order, common side effects and what to do about them and was able to handle the responsibility of deciding on which prn to administer from a fairly large list based on the patient's presentation during a crisis. We can agree to disagree but I value my floor experience and daily interactions with physicians and residents far more than any course I have taken.
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    Can you shadow an RN or NP in a psych facility before quitting your hospital job? I would say working in psych is a passion because the pay is awful and the patients can be very violent at times. I love it, but that's just me, and I have to work extra to make ends meet. You won't pull the same salary in psych as you do working ICU--unless you are an NP probably. 'Least not in the southeast US.


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