I would put in a few months in med/surg, and the reason I say that is psych patients will have med/surg issues at some point. It is prudent that a RN be strong in med/surg, realistically, in order to be able to deal with these non-psych issues. Believe it or not, psych patients will and do have other medical issues outside of psychiatric.
And especially to be able to discern between what is truly a medical issue vs somatoform.
There was an adult psych patient who was very somatic who died as a result of the RNs not being in tune and strong in med/surg issues to be able to know the difference between someone being somatic and truly having a real illness outside of it being psych. I know there's been discussion in this section about having med/surg experience vs it is not really necessary. Having been on both ends, I truly think it very beneficial to have that med/surg experience. It can truly make a difference in the care your patient may need overall. I used to be one who balked about this need to have med-surg experience before all else, but I have since changed my mind to some degree and see the benefits of it.
I, too, hated med/surg
and knew from the "get go" it was not my cup of tea by a long shot. In fact, my background is actually emergency medicine
, and with all of my experience, I was getting that song and dance of "you have to have at least 6 mos, preferably 1 year, of med/surg experience before working in the ER"
:angryfire.....forget the fact I could do more things as a medic than an ER RN for the most part. But that is another story for possibly another time. I still disagree with that thinking from the aspect of having been a medic for several years..................but on the other hand, even though I hated working med/surg, I don't regret it either and feel I have become a stronger and better RN for it overall. I did learn some additional skills and enjoyed learning new things overall.............I also knew I had to "play the game." :bowingpur
I work in a state psychiatric hospital, so our patients are very, very, very sick by the time they come to us. We see it all, to include the non-psych medical issues. One has to be on his/her game in determining if one is sick from a virus or on the throes of NMS? Is one having abnormal muscle movements as a result of Tardive Dyskensia, Tics or something completely different? The list is endless. I work mostly with pediatrics at the moment, so it is a given they are going to have non-psychiatric illnesses as a result of being kids. We also have a geriatric unit...............need I go there with regards to the various non-psychaitric issues...........
Our state hospital has hired RN's with no med/surg experience, but the bulk of us have come from other hospitals with experience. We do have a lot of nursing students with us who are working as either psych techs while they are going to school or have gotten their LPN through their nursing schooling working towards their RN while working as our med nurses. A lot of them, the LPN's especially, have come on board as RNs with us eventually. We experienced RNs in other fields have been able to mentor them in what they have lacked in med/surg experience while they have worked with us as LPNs.
If you can get on with a state hospital, if they are set up like us, that is the way to go. You cannot get any more experience in psych than at the state level for sure. You get it all. Since I am currently working peds, I have also gotten the autism spectrum as well.................and all else possible. It's extremely challenging, difficult, but very rewarding. I was determined to be working in forensics at our hospital, but all I can say is that God had different plans for me, and I don't regret it one iota. Eventually, I will go forensics and/or corrections (considering that the bulk of the prisoner population has some form of psychiatric illness or another).
There is no right nor wrong answer as to the discussion of having med/surg experience first before going into psych nursing; however, I am sharing with you all just what my experience has been and my personal thoughts on it. It cannot hurt at all, and truth be told, it will truly make you a better psych RN overall, IMHO. Again, I hated med/surg as well, but I don't regret having to go that route and having to "play the game." I felt I have become a much stronger, skilled and better RN for it for the sake of my patients overall. I am much more in tune to more as a result. I hope that makes sense.
Going the med/surg route doesn't mean you will be doomed to have to do it forever.
It is just a temporary, doable stepping stone to the next level in your career as an RN.
Since you know it won't be a forever thing, you can do it!
In fact, you may find that it is not so bad afterall, and find something in yourself you never knew you had about you. I know I did.............and again, I feel I have become a stronger person and RN for it.
Well that is my
worth for whatever it is truly worth..........
Best of luck to you!