Goal of becoming Psych RN (eventually NP)....how to achieve?

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    Hi, I am in my last year of Nursing school for the RN (2nd career after being at home with my 2 daughters for 10 years, previously editorial jobs). I LOVED my psych rotation (have a real interest in psych as well as a younger brother with addiction issues/rehab etc so also interested in that venue as well). I plan to take the summer off for the NCLEX and spend with my girls before starting a job in nursing, but would love to hear of what steps I could be taking now as to proceed in this direction. Oddly enough, during clinicals, of the 8 students in my group I was the only one who enjoyed psych nursing--most of the other students hated it?
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    Quote from TinaTM
    Hi, I am in my last year of Nursing school for the RN (2nd career after being at home with my 2 daughters for 10 years, previously editorial jobs). I LOVED my psych rotation (have a real interest in psych as well as a younger brother with addiction issues/rehab etc so also interested in that venue as well). I plan to take the summer off for the NCLEX and spend with my girls before starting a job in nursing, but would love to hear of what steps I could be taking now as to proceed in this direction. Oddly enough, during clinicals, of the 8 students in my group I was the only one who enjoyed psych nursing--most of the other students hated it?
    It may be prudent to get some experience as a med surg nurse for a couple years first, that said, there are lots of psychiatric facilities, many (not are all) are regularly looking for staff. I work at a facility that I really enjoy. Once you have obtained some Nursing experience and an BSN you can apply to a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. They have many out there.

    Heres an example of a list of NP programs in California (Most states should have a similar list)http://www.rn.ca.gov/schools/apprograms.shtml#np
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    Eh, I did my obligatory few years in Med/Surg before psych. I am grateful for the experience but I was miserable and I wouldn't recommend it to others who are confident in their desire to specialize in psych.

    To be a psych nurse, you just need to apply for psych jobs! Ideally, you should apply for new grad residencies/internships as they more thoroughly train you. To increase your competitiveness, you may want to consider working prn/per diem as a psych tech if you can while you finish school. I understand that may not be feasible with your girls though.

    To be a psych NP, you apply for grad school after you have at least one year of experience as a psych nurse. I am currently in a psych NP program, and this was the criteria at my school and most others that I considered. Many nurses feel that you should have much more experience than this, but that is controversial and a whole 'nother topic... Also, some schools require the GRE, others do not. Other typical grad school criteria application stuff is letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, etc. My school also requires a BSN or a bachelors degree in another field (although you have to jump through some hoops with the latter.)

    Good luck! And yes I think I am the only one from my nursing school cohort to go into psych. It is not the most popular of specialties but I cannot see myself anywhere else!
    EatYourVeggies likes this.
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    Please update me! I'm a psych nurse and would love to network for support. I am interested In MSN program and would like to hear from you. I have been a psych nurse since 2004. Let me know if you need advice or support.
  7. 0
    Quote from mystory
    Eh, I did my obligatory few years in Med/Surg before psych. I am grateful for the experience but I was miserable and I wouldn't recommend it to others who are confident in their desire to specialize in psych.

    To be a psych nurse, you just need to apply for psych jobs! Ideally, you should apply for new grad residencies/internships as they more thoroughly train you. To increase your competitiveness, you may want to consider working prn/per diem as a psych tech if you can while you finish school. I understand that may not be feasible with your girls though.

    To be a psych NP, you apply for grad school after you have at least one year of experience as a psych nurse. I am currently in a psych NP program, and this was the criteria at my school and most others that I considered. Many nurses feel that you should have much more experience than this, but that is controversial and a whole 'nother topic... Also, some schools require the GRE, others do not. Other typical grad school criteria application stuff is letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, etc. My school also requires a BSN or a bachelors degree in another field (although you have to jump through some hoops with the latter.)

    Good luck! And yes I think I am the only one from my nursing school cohort to go into psych. It is not the most popular of specialties but I cannot see myself anywhere else!
    Just an aside, I'm entering the third and final year of a psych NP program, and I've never worked as a psych nurse. I don't think it's been an hinderance at all and find that what the psych NPs I'm training with don't do anything remotely resembling what psych RNs say they typically do.

    Anyway, I hope your program is going well too. It'll be over before you know it!
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    Quote from PsychGuy
    Just an aside, I'm entering the third and final year of a psych NP program, and I've never worked as a psych nurse. I don't think it's been an hinderance at all and find that what the psych NPs I'm training with don't do anything remotely resembling what psych RNs say they typically do.

    Anyway, I hope your program is going well too. It'll be over before you know it!
    Thank you for posting this . . . I am looking into PMHNP programs and I do not have psych nursing experience. What I do have is plenty of VA nursing experience and that is what has pushed me toward mental health. It is nice to know it can be done without psych nurse experience. I have found that the University of South Alabama offers a class to cover lack of work experience, what other programs take applicants without work experience in psych? ***Edited to add- OP, I apologize for jumping in your thread with my own questions!
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    Quote from RHIA, RN
    Thank you for posting this . . . I am looking into PMHNP programs and I do not have psych nursing experience. What I do have is plenty of VA nursing experience and that is what has pushed me toward mental health. It is nice to know it can be done without psych nurse experience. I have found that the University of South Alabama offers a class to cover lack of work experience, what other programs take applicants without work experience in psych? ***Edited to add- OP, I apologize for jumping in your thread with my own questions!
    I'll PM you.
  10. 0
    I'll be graduating from a community college RN program in December. I have a decades old BFA in theatre as well. I want to be a psychatric CRNP. Will a year of med-surg experience really put me one year farther away from my ultimate goal? SHould I limit my job applications to psych jobs?


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