favorable experience to become a psych NP

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    Perhaps there is a specific psych NP forum, but thought I'd post here.

    I'm an ADN RN, but had a lot of credits towards psychology before switching to nursing. I believe it would take 1 1/2 years possibly 2 years to complete a BS degree in psychology or nursing.

    Past experience has been mostly LTC, some hospice, and the last two years I have been a case manager for behavioral health members. I've been off the floor for many years.

    With a goal of working as a psych NP in mind, I'm certain the case management will be valuable, but should I try to return to floor nursing? I have worked in various LTC'S but it was many years ago, so it will be step one to work in a psych hospital or clinic . Would it be best to work in an acute setting such as psych ER or focus on an area where residents stay longer than a few days?

    Thanks all
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Out of the ten in my group working in FMHNP degree only five of us have a psych background so I think it is up to you if you think you need the experience. I personally believe my background has helped me with the therapy side of things and I am familiar with the medications, but NP is a way different role and learning that role is the goal of school so you could do well without having worked in the field or on a unit.
    OfficerRNBSN likes this.
  5. 0
    In-Pt acute unit experience is invaluable, imo. I also went to school with people who had zero psychiatric nursing experience and believe it does a disservice to their future patients.
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    Quote from Jules A
    In-Pt acute unit experience is invaluable, imo. I also went to school with people who had zero psychiatric nursing experience and believe it does a disservice to their future patients.
    How so? What do you do as a Psych NP, and what do the Psych unit RNs do? How are those two things related? I'm told and have read both on here as well as in regional job ads that psych NPs focus almost solely on medication management - typically after a psychiatrist has made the diagnosis. I realize this doesn't mean things work like this everywhere, all the time. Even if you do engage in psychotherapy and do your own diagnosing, which is definitely cool, what did you do as a psych unit RN that directly prepared you and your patients for that? Thanks. Just curious.
  7. 0
    Quote from twinkerrs
    Out of the ten in my group working in FMHNP degree only five of us have a psych background so I think it is up to you if you think you need the experience. I personally believe my background has helped me with the therapy side of things and I am familiar with the medications, but NP is a way different role and learning that role is the goal of school so you could do well without having worked in the field or on a unit.
    I retired from law enforcement before entering nursing school, and although I have no experience working with inpatient (or outpatient) psychiatric patients I think my exposure to them in their community environment, as well as my keen knowledge of substance abuse, has prepared me well to work around psych. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think I'm not.
  8. 0
    Quote from OfficerRNBSN
    How so? What do you do as a Psych NP, and what do the Psych unit RNs do? How are those two things related? I'm told and have read both on here as well as in regional job ads that psych NPs focus almost solely on medication management - typically after a psychiatrist has made the diagnosis. I realize this doesn't mean things work like this everywhere, all the time. Even if you do engage in psychotherapy and do your own diagnosing, which is definitely cool, what did you do as a psych unit RN that directly prepared you and your patients for that? Thanks. Just curious.
    I bet your career in LE would be great preparation for work as a psych NP. I worked the floor at acute inpatient psych units for five years before applying to grad school. Working the floor, I got used to mingling with the patients and chatting them up about nothing. After a while they get used to your presence and forget to self-censor. It's very interesting what they say when their guards drop.

    I learned to check out a patient's room to see how they live their daily lives. Who do they hang around with, what do they do with their free time, how does their body language change based on who's in the room, do they talk in groups, there's a ton of behavioral information available to the observer. I probably watch and listen ten times as much as I speak.

    So much happens that the psychiatrist will never know. It's a shame they don't listen more.

    As an NP, I will do a little med management but most of my time will be spent in therapy. There are plenty of NPs who just do med management and never get into therapy. I know quite a few. It sounds boring.

    There are lots of options open. I have a friend who is a psy D, she writes books and does group education for staff at hospitals. She's been encouraging me to follow in her footsteps, so I have enough to keep me busy for quite some time.


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