ER RN taking psych certification

  1. 0
    I've been thinking about taking this cert and was wondering about your thoughts on it... I have 3 years experience as an LPN in psychiatric nursing (1.5 years locked long term and 1.5 in a acute county mental health facility). Will my time in the ER count towards the 2k hours required for the certification requirement (we do see quite a few patients who are being seen for either a axis I or II dx, average 2/shift, along with others with an incidental psychiatric disorder which is unrelated to their visit). If anyone has thoughts I would love to hear them. Bonus points if you have taken the cert and can give me your thoughts on the test.
  2. 11 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    I would check directly with the ANCC, but I would be v. surprised if they count ED hours toward the psych nursing hours requirement unless it is a dedicated psych ED.

    I took the exam many years ago, but so long ago that I'm sure I don't qualify for any bonus points.
    Meriwhen and DeBerham like this.
  4. 1
    Also, you may want to check with ANCC because your prior LVN experience may not count towards the experience requirement either.

    The test is a doozy. It's not merely NCLEX-level psych questions, but as in-depth in psych as you're going to get on a test. There's a lot more psych on that test than you've probably seen working in the ED, so you'll have a lot of outside studying to do to stay on top of the subject.

    I swore that after passing it, I'll do whatever CEUs or other renewal requirements it takes NOT to have to take it again. So I'm already 60 CEUs into the 150 needed for renewal, and my certification doesn't expire for a few more years
    DeBerham likes this.
  5. 2
    Quote from Meriwhen
    The test is a doozy. It's not merely NCLEX-level psych questions, but as in-depth in psych as you're going to get on a test. There's a lot more psych on that test than you've probably seen working in the ED, so you'll have a lot of outside studying to do to stay on top of the subject.
    Yes, that reminds me -- the one, single thing I recall from the generalist psych certification exam (which I took back in the '80s) was that I went in with the (at that time) required two years of full-time psych nursing experience, a great psych nursing course in nursing school, lots of continuing ed plus lots of personal reading on my own (feeling v. well-prepared), and I was v. surprised at how much stuff there was on the exam that I had never even heard of before (forget knowing the right answer to the question -- I didn't even recognize what the question was talking about!)
    Meriwhen and DeBerham like this.
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    The LPN experience WILL not count, I only included it to give a better picture of my background. I will follow through with ANCC and find out if ER experience will count. My reason for taking the test is two fold: 1) Cert tests are a great way to force learning (this would be my 4th cert after ortho, er, and medsurg), and B) when it comes down to it they look great on resumes. I also think that in the ER, working with patients in acute psychiatric crisis is something that happens quite frequently and there should be some recognition for the work that is done in emergency departments. Also, an expanded knowledge base should be absolutely encouraged especially with diagnoses that are as misunderstood as those in psych.
    Meriwhen likes this.
  7. 0
    Quote from elkpark
    Yes, that reminds me -- the one, single thing I recall from the generalist psych certification exam (which I took back in the '80s) was that I went in with the (at that time) required two years of full-time psych nursing experience, a great psych nursing course in nursing school, lots of continuing ed plus lots of personal reading on my own (feeling v. well-prepared), and I was v. surprised at how much stuff there was on the exam that I had never even heard of before (forget knowing the right answer to the question -- I didn't even recognize what the question was talking about!)
    Trust me, the exam hasn't changed one bit since you took it: they're still dredging up the obscure to throw out there. I'm not kidding when I say that exam made me throw up for the entire day, and that was even after finding out I passed it.
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    Quote from DeBerham
    I also think that in the ER, working with patients in acute psychiatric crisis is something that happens quite frequently and there should be some recognition for the work that is done in emergency departments. Also, an expanded knowledge base should be absolutely encouraged especially with diagnoses that are as misunderstood as those in psych.
    I agree with you about people with psych diagnoses and situations turning up in the ED (I've worked in jobs where I was the psych coverage for the ED), but, however many psych clients you deal with in the ED, "quite frequently" is a lot different than "all day, every day" (as would be the case in an actual psychiatric nursing position or dedicated psych ED) and you're not managing a psychiatric milieu, which is a big piece of psychiatric nursing practice.

    I'm a big fan of additional learning and encourage you to learn all you can about psychiatric nursing (although I wonder why you would need to be "forced" to, if it's something that sincerely interests you and that you run into at work on a regular basis), but I don't really see that your current situation qualifies as psychiatric nursing practice, as defined by the ANCC or anyone else.

    But, hey, my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it ...
    Meriwhen likes this.
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    I agree with Elkpark. It would be like my arguing that that I qualify for the med-surg certification because even though I'm in a psych setting, I'm still taking care of any presenting medical issues. You've worked as a LVN in psych, so you know the patients don't check their medical issues at the door when they're admitted to a psych facility. And some psych populations (chemical dependency, eating disorders, etc.) have very medically acute patients d/t the nature of the psychiatric illness.

    But what I am getting is med-surg exposure, not quite the same as dedicated med-surg experience. My primary focus is psych and not medical, and I'm managing fairly (not always) stable patients that I'd probably transfer out to a medical facility at a lower acuity than a med-surg floor would transfer their patients out to a higher level of care. Unless I was working psych-medical, and then that's a whole other story...

    Same as with the ED: the ED sees a lot of psych issues, but they are also being seen in a short-term basis in a medical setting where the goal is stabilization before discharging the patient or transferring them on to either a medical or psych facility.

    Exposure to psych, yes. Experience with psych? Limited. A substitute for working in psych? Not really, as it's not dedicated psych experience. You have the patient for 24 hours or less, too short to really see the course of psychiatric disorders progress.

    It's cool that you're always striving to advance yourself professionally. You have nothing to lose by asking the ANCC about it: the worst they can tell you is No. Just don't be surprised if that is what they tell you.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Jan 28, '13
    elkpark and DeBerham like this.
  10. 1
    I have taken the ANCC exam in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, and I was certified for five years. The exam is tough. I thought that it was about as bad as nursing boards, and I was sure that I had failed. Some of the questions they asked seemed more appropriate for a Ph. D. level psychologist.
    Meriwhen likes this.
  11. 0
    I never heard of the exam. I worked on an acute psychiatric unit and none of my co-workers have mentioned the exam. What is the purpose in taking it.


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