Don't be a Psych nurse if.....

  1. I've seen a lot of questions from new grads re: psych nursing. In that vein, I offer up the following:

    Just because you want to go into psych nursing doesn't mean you should.

    Stay far away from Psych nursing if:

    *You come to the psych floor to exorcise your own demons or address you or your family's mental health issues.

    *You find it difficult to keep a clear head at all times, in incredibly challenging situations.

    *You escalate your own behaviors or get scared/freak out easily.

    *You enjoy using your coworkers for your personal therapy group.

    *You exhibit high-strung, attention seeking, drama entrenched behaviors

    *You feel an uncontrollable need to talk to coworkers about your aberrant or highly personal behaviors outside of work.

    *You are on meds for depression/chronic pain/bipolar etc and feel the need to share this fact with everyone on the unit

    *You come into psych because you believe you won't have to do 'real nursing'

    *You step away from conflict, i.e. your coworker is body slammed by an unruly pt and you decide to 'wait for security' rather than helping the poor schmuck out because you "wouldn't want to ever put myself at risk," or "I have family to think of you know"

    If you should fall into any of the above scenarios, please reconsider psych nursing. If not, welcome!
    Last edit by IMustBeCrazy on Nov 9, '06
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   RN1263
    >>>>>>Just because you want to go into psych nursing doesn't mean you should<<<<<<<<



    As a nursing student myself who has asked questions on this board i would say that for some people they may not know if they would or would not do some of the behaviors you mention, w/ out trying it out first & seeing? How could you really know for "SURE" as a student???

    For example: I was a cosmetologist many moons ago and decided to go to school for E.M.T. & when I told people my plans they laughed literally in my face and said "you can't handle that your just a hairdresser!!! you'll faint at the first sight of blood, ya-da...HAHAHA". Well, I had some of my own doubts about it and definately didn't need anyone else to reinforce my fears.
    well, that ticked me off to know end and i still did what i said i was going to do, worked on an ambulance, then in an E.R.. I never fainted & handled it quite well, even though other people didn't think I could do it & I wasn't "SURE" myself!

    Soooo, now that i'm interested in psych, I feel that "same type" of judgemental attitude from some people.......
    Do I know for "SURE" that I won't exibit any of those negative behaviors you mentioned??? No, because I'm not doing it & my psych clinical was only 5 weeks long. did I exibit any of those behaviors during my clinical....no....but does that mean I won't ever?....

    My point- I don't think it's as cut and dry for students as you make it out to be? now, if you're already in the profession and are exibiting these behaviors, then that's another thread all together I think?
  4. by   Melina
    I think the above applies to any nursing specialty. Nursing is not something to approach lightly. If you are drawn to a certain specialty, spend some time in that area.

    Keep in mind that there are very few specialties that you can't get close to as a student, or even before. Volunteer at a psych facility, get your LPT while you are waiting for nursing school, find a nurse to mentor you. There are many areas in psych that utilize nursing skills. Not everyone is cut out for a state hospital job, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't excel in an outpatient treatment center, community outreach or group home.

    Most of all, it is okay not to be a nurse at all. I know school was expensive, you have made commitments, and you don't want to disappoint family/friends.

    Imustbecrazy is right about using a psych ward to work through your own issues. Unfortunately, not many who have the above issues are even aware of it. It almost sounds like she has someone is particular in mind.

    ~Mel'
  5. by   IMustBeCrazy
    Quote from Melina
    I think the above applies to any nursing specialty. Nursing is not something to approach lightly. If you are drawn to a certain specialty, spend some time in that area.

    Keep in mind that there are very few specialties that you can't get close to as a student, or even before. Volunteer at a psych facility, get your LPT while you are waiting for nursing school, find a nurse to mentor you. There are many areas in psych that utilize nursing skills. Not everyone is cut out for a state hospital job, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't excel in an outpatient treatment center, community outreach or group home.

    Most of all, it is okay not to be a nurse at all. I know school was expensive, you have made commitments, and you don't want to disappoint family/friends.

    Imustbecrazy is right about using a psych ward to work through your own issues. Unfortunately, not many who have the above issues are even aware of it. It almost sounds like she has someone is particular in mind.

    ~Mel'
    You are soooooo correct!
  6. by   PMHNP10
    Quote from IMustBeCrazy
    I've seen a lot of questions from new grads re: psych nursing. In that vein, I offer up the following:

    Just because you want to go into psych nursing doesn't mean you should.

    Stay far away from Psych nursing if:

    *You come to the psych floor to exorcise your own demons or address you or your family's mental health issues.

    *You find it difficult to keep a clear head at all times, in incredibly challenging situations.

    *You escalate your own behaviors or get scared/freak out easily.

    *You enjoy using your coworkers for your personal therapy group.

    *You exhibit high-strung, attention seeking, drama entrenched behaviors

    *You feel an uncontrollable need to talk to coworkers about your aberrant or highly personal behaviors outside of work.

    *You are on meds for depression/chronic pain/bipolar etc and feel the need to share this fact with everyone on the unit

    *You come into psych because you believe you won't have to do 'real nursing'

    *You step away from conflict, i.e. your coworker is body slammed by an unruly pt and you decide to 'wait for security' rather than helping the poor schmuck out because you "wouldn't want to ever put myself at risk," or "I have family to think of you know"

    If you should fall into any of the above scenarios, please reconsider psych nursing. If not, welcome!
    I couldn't help but chuckle when I read your screenname and tied it into your post.
  7. by   PsychRN45
    Unfortunately a lot of my co-workers fit these scenarios.
  8. by   IMustBeCrazy
    Quote from psychrn03
    I couldn't help but chuckle when I read your screenname and tied it into your post.
    :smilecoffeecup:

    My family thinks I'm "crazy" for wanting to be a psych nurse, hence the name. BTW, I love psych nursing!
  9. by   mudget
    Sometimes I hope it's all in fun.
  10. by   RN1263
    Quote from mudget
    Sometimes I hope it's all in fun.
    Hope "WHAT" is all in fun???
  11. by   Meerkat
    What an negative post, in my opinion. Many people are drawn to their specialties on account of personal experiences. And no matter where you work, you develop relationships that often lead to sharing experiences. It's called team building and rapport. New grads, don't be scared off by psych nursing. You never know if you are a good fit until you try it. I thought L & D would be my 'thing'...turned out, I hated it. Yes, psych nursing is a different animal, but you sure don't have to fit into all of those categories above to be good at it. No matter what you do, you have to learn skills. Nobody is perfect when they begin their specialty. And working in a challening environment, you will learn those skills, such as de-escalating, keeping a cool head, etc.
    Last edit by Meerkat on Nov 26, '06 : Reason: add another sentence
  12. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from IMustBeCrazy

    *You come to the psych floor to exorcise your own demons or address you or your family's mental health issues.
    That will be hard for some people.
  13. by   RN1263
    MeerKat,
    Thanks for your post! I'm graduating in May w/ my R.N. & would like to try psych, but I will admit "I must be crazy"'s post has made me think.. "Gee, do you have to be a PERFECT human being to do psych or else your co-workers will eat you alive!!". So, thanks for your prospective!
  14. by   IMustBeCrazy
    It's not negative in the least. And neither do I believe psych nurses (or other nursing specialties) need to be 'perfect' nurses.

    However, if you have never had the "pleasure" of working with a psych nurse that fits the situations that I've outlined in the OP, count your lucky stars. It raises hell and havoc on the floor, and lowers staff morale quicker than any post of mine could ever do.

    I've worked with nurses that may be wonderful nurses in other areas, but they had NO BUSINESS being on the psych unit. And the reason was usually one of the few I talked about in the OP.

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