I am a student nurse presently doing my psychiatric nursing rotation, and am finding that I really like it. Is there as much demand for Psych nurses as there are in other nursing specialties in the U.S.? In Canada? Some nurses have suggested that after I graduate from nursing, I should do a couple of years in medicine or med-surg so I don't lose my skills, before I go into psych. Any comments or opinions?
Also, does anyone know if there is a demand for psyche nurses internationally? Do psych. nurses get paid the same as other nurses?
Thanks all for answering and expressing your opinions and insights!
Jan 18, '07
If you like psych nursing and can find a job in that specialty after graduation, go for it. A lot of nurses would advise working in med-surg for awhile before moving into psych, but unless you just want to work med-surg, don't feel pressured to do so. Working in an inpatient psych unit will offer you opportunities to use your skills and you certainly won't lose them. I don't know if there is much demand for psych nurses. Depends on where you live. As far as pay, I would think they make about the same as other nurses, but it would depend on whether you work in an inpatient setting or outpatient. I work in an outpatient clinic and barely make enough to survive. I don't make much more than I made 14 yrs ago when I worked in a hospital psych unit, but the trade-off is I work M-F 8-5; no weekends or holidays, no "on call".
Jan 18, '07
The main reason there are so few psych nursing jobs is because the psych facilities are closing. In central IL, since 2001, we have closed all but about 40 inpatient beds. The state hospital is gone, the not-for profit hospital beds are gone also. And...psych care for inpts is becoming scarce. Everything is outpt.
Jan 19, '07
Welcome to my world... I started out as a CNA/GNA for several years before going back for Nursing. I did my clinical rotations as we all do through school then started in a medical hospital on the Extended Care Unit. I was occassional pulled to Med/Surg but it wasn't my thing. I didn't like just passing pills. Many of my clients wanted to talk about their illness and other things but there just wasn't enough time. Lucky for me, I had a friend I graduated with that worked in a Psych Hospital and she told me of a possition open. Now I love that I have time to talk to patients about their illness and needs but you have to know that there is more to this then just dealing with those with Schizo/Bipolar/Depression etc. You also have the criminals looking for a way out of prison/homeless looking for a place to stay/those who never want to grow up and have others take care of them like maids and butlers. You also have to deal, if you work with, the kids who just don't want to listen and the courts have no where to place them. Now after all that along with the possiblity of getting hurt by someone who thinks your satan, I have to say I love my job when it comes to dealing with the true psych. patients. You get a great deal of satisfaction when a client who didn't want to take medication does and becomes better and right before discharge sees a new person coming in with the same illness and asks, "Was I like that?" and knowing that you helped them become independent again. As for the skills. You will learn the fundamentals in school then use them in all aspects of nursing but you will learn and specialize in what type of nurse you decide to become. You will want to continue to read and keep your nursing books available. Everyone has to be trained in their specialty. Good luck. P.S. Lots of Psych jobs out there...
Jan 19, '07
Thanks for the response! Cheers and have a great day!
Feb 3, '07
Thanks for the information Male RN. By the way does CBIF sound familiar?
Feb 11, '07
I loved my psych rotation; however, I did take the med surg route for a couple of years before changing directions. I would highly recommend getting some experience in med surg to help you better assess any medical co-morbidity issues that may present in the psychiatric patient.
Feb 11, '07
As potentially demanding in this crazy world as psych hospitals/facilities should be, it is actually fazing out in my area....only one private sector and it is exclusively for teens/adolescents. The one state hospital for psych. care is being run down/neglected/driven into it's sad demise by funds decreasing into nonexistence. I see a greater need for MORE psych hospitals/facilities, not less. Or is it me? It seems as though with society in general becoming more and more hostile and competitive, we need more psych nurses not less. But in answer to your question, if you truly feel psych nursing is your thing, and can find a job in it. Go for it! Don't worry about the one year of medical/surgical others tell you that you must suffer thru!
Must Read Topics