How do you become a "Psych Nurse"?

  1. Again, I have a "dumb student" question for you wise nurses--I do feel so ignorant sometimes :imbar ... How do you become specialized in a particular field, like Psych/ ICU/ etc. ? Do you have to take X-amount of Psych classes and get a certification in the field?
    Thank you for helping me to become more educated
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   walterrn
    Quote from sabine_rn
    Again, I have a "dumb student" question for you wise nurses--I do feel so ignorant sometimes :imbar ... How do you become specialized in a particular field, like Psych/ ICU/ etc. ? Do you have to take X-amount of Psych classes and get a certification in the field?
    Thank you for helping me to become more educated
    Specialization comes with time and a feel for your dicipline. The first thing about specialties, is that you have to enjoy what you do. It has to be more than just a job. Once you decide where your nursing career is taking you, then you become more adept at what you do by classes, seminars, national certifications. I chose psych nursing, do to the round peg/round hole theory. I fit well into this line of nursing. Not only have I done those things mentioned above, but I'm also a survivor of depression and a recovering addict/ETOHic with 17+ years c/s. Not that that is a qualification for psych nursing, but for me, it's worked out rather well. Easier to walk in their shoes when I've walked in their shoes.

    Walter the Nurse
  4. by   elkpark
    The first step is to get a job in the particular specialty you desire. :chuckle Some facilities will hire you into specialty areas right out of school; some prefer that you have a year or two of general med-surg experience. That varies according to many things, including the economy and general nursing applicant pool for positions (i.e., how picky the hospitals can afford to be ...) Once you are working in a specialty area, you will learn a lot of stuff from your coworkers, and you will find there are lots of opportunities for additional/continuing education. Most of the specialties have professional organizations that offer workshops and an annual convention -- these can be v. helpful for learning and networking (plus, the expenses are tax deductible if you itemize deductions ). Most all of the specialties now offer certification, but this typically requires that you have a year or two of experience working in the specialty before you are eligible to sit the exam (there are other requirements as well, and some of the certification programs are now requiring a BSN, I believe. Not all, certainly). Certification is not required for undergrad level nurses, although some facilities may prefer it, or encourage you to pursue it, or pay you more for having it (others don't -- again, that varies greatly from facility to facility).

    Hope this is helpful.
  5. by   PRNMEDS
    In NY, and I think most states there is no extra classes required to be a Psych nurse, or work in ER, etc. Most ICU and PICU units have specialized training and advanced training prior to starting - but that would be if the hospital you worked in needed you there and/or you requested it.

    I believe the most common way you "get into" a specialty is by realizing you have an interest in that particular field, working your way in, and then gaining experience. Suddenly your a (fill in the blank) nurse.

    I graduated several years ago - realized I liked Psych and that is what I have been doing. A friend that graduated at the same time started in Med Surg unit but do to hospital need was shifted to ER - and now would not consider anything else. Good luck.

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