I REALLY want to be a psych nurse, and i'm close to graduating with some questions! - page 2

Hello, Out of all of the rotations I have completed at clinicals, I have to say that I enjoyed the psych unit the best. I've always had an interest in mental health and I felt like I was at home... Read More

  1. by   Suninmyheart
    Quote from tlcmel
    My father was an addict so I'm very familiar with the necessary steps it takes to recovery. I dream of being a nurse conducting those AA meetings with people who are in the process of recovery. Does anyone know if an associates degree would be efficient enough for that? I guess i'm afraid to look stupid...still being a student making phone calls.
    I am also a student and am expecting to graduate in May and am interested in psych/chem dep. I appreciate your post and would like to clarify that AA does not have nurses (or any professionals) conducting the meetings. AA is a self-sustaining fellowship with no governing body at all nor is it affiliated with any outside organizations - not even treatment centers, etc. This lack of endorsement is the very premise in which 12 step groups are founded upon.

    Sincerely, Lisa Marie
  2. by   MSN Student
    Buttercup, I found that there were plenty of posts available in psych. Strangely, the posts don't seem to be advertised the way they are for med-surg RN's. Like you, I thought I'd never be hired right out of school so when I applied online for a nursing position, preferably psych, I figured I'd never hear from them. I did. The following day! And I was hired to work in the psych unit before I even passed NCLEX! And I work in one of the best mental health units in the area.

    So, do not be discouraged! Call up the hospital's recruitment and ask about their psych positions. And, by the way, you will find that you will have LOTS of med-surg stuff to do as well as psych. We do IV's, wound dressings and all the other stuff too. The nice thing is, we don't do it so often so it doesn't become boring. Good luck, and if you think psych is for you, go for it. If you change your mind later on, you'll easily find a job on a med-surg floor.
  3. by   RN007
    Quote from pammc000
    And, by the way, you will find that you will have LOTS of med-surg stuff to do as well as psych. We do IV's, wound dressings and all the other stuff too. The nice thing is, we don't do it so often so it doesn't become boring. Good luck, and if you think psych is for you, go for it. If you change your mind later on, you'll easily find a job on a med-surg floor.
    I, too, am interested in psych nursing. I'm actually interested in several specialty areas (ER, acute care, too) and am looking forward to getting my first job as an RN so I can get moving and figure things out. Today, I talked to a friend who is a counselor in the psych unit of the hospital where I do clinicals. He is good friends with the in-patient director. I am applying for a PRN mental health associate's job and hoping I get it so I can see if I like it and if it's a good fit. They are anticipating some RN job openings later.

    Pammc000, I'm glad to hear about med-surg opportunities in psych. I really like med-surg and would want to keep doing it in some capacity.

    Good luck to the rest of you who will be graduating soon (May 07 for me) and let's support each other if we get hired!
  4. by   MALE*RN*777
    Should have no problem getting a job, especially in a state facility although you are usually the last stop for many psych patients and can't discharge patients as quickly as you could in a private facility. We start off at about $42,000+ a year. The best part is working with true psych patients the worse part is working with those who just are looking for a maid to take care of them or want to get out of jail.
  5. by   NurseCard
    Heh... I could have written that last post, word for word. =)
  6. by   tlc365
    I work as a psych nurse at an inpatient eating disorder treatment center. It is not a formal hospital but must comply with hosp standards and are JHACO accredited. I work in the state of AZ. Our facility hires new grads. I had never worked in this realm before and they did not mind at all. The payed a relocation expense and payed my interview traveling also. I am an lpn and make 20.54 per hr and have just received a tuition scholarship to continue in the nursing program. See my post under Eating Disordered Pts also. Our facility wants more RNS and is almost desperate at times to hire them and they get 10-15 more an hour than I do and do the same tasks.
    So I say go into psych nursing you will never regret the skills you learn.
  7. by   Sistermoon
    I graduated this past May, and entered into a great 15 week internship offered by a psych hospital in my area. It gave me the opportunity to cycle through various areas and assess my true strengths and interests. I got to explore working in a substance abuse/co-occurring unit, adult psych unit, an adolescent floor and even a pediatric unit. I had the greatest preceptors all the way through. They loved what they did and it showed, and they loved teaching us, too. No nurses "eating the young" here! There were five new grads in this program, and two are working with the youngsters, two with the adults, and I'm working with the substance abuse/co-occurring unit.

    I was so lucky to find this opportunity. I work with bunches of nurses and mental health workers who've been working here forever; they're truly dedicated to providing exceptional care to the patients they care for. And I've got plenty of opportunities for on-going learning. I can honestly say I've never enjoyed a job more. The drawback are the frequent flyers...the ones that come back again and again no matter how steady a program of support you have ready for them after they leave.

    For anyone graduating who might be interested, the internship program will be accepting new grad applicants within the next few months. E-mail me and I'll get back to you with contact information.

    I found this opportunity by attending a health care symposium last April in Manchester, NH. I'll bet now is a good time to seek out symposiums in different parts of the country. It's a great way to find out what's out there for new nurse job opportunities in your area.

    Best of luck in your seeking! A heart for this kind of work is a true gift. I hope you follow it through and find a good place that will support your growth as a nurse and as a caring professional.
  8. by   Morgan314
    I love being a psych nurse for many reasons, probably for the same reasons you like it. I feel comfortable with psych patients, and enjoy being around them. It is rewarding to see them improve and sad to see them relapse. I never felt comfortable with machines, monitors, and gadgets when working on med/surg, and in psych nursing, the only technology I have to use is a set of scales, bp cuff, and the occasional breatholyzer.
    PAY? I have worked in the same outpatient clinic for 8 years, have been an RN since 1983, and if graduate nurses can get $24/hour in your area, that would be a RAISE for me. I think the hospital pays more. When I worked in a hospital inpatient psych unit, I made then (left in 1994) the same thing I make now.
  9. by   purplekath
    You really sound like you have the heart for psych nursing...good luck!!
    I work in an acute psych unit, 25 LDU beds, 5 HDU beds btw.

    1. What do you enjoy most about your job/dislike?

    I love going to work every day not knowing what weird stuff is going to happen. Nothing is a given. Nothing is predictable. You deal with people who are going through the scariest period of their lives and YOU have the ability to make it easier for them. I just love lurching from crisis to crisis. I cannot imagine working in a place where there is some kind of "routine". I love getting in at 7am for handover, then being so darned busy that the next time I glance at my watch it is 3pm! Shifts just fly by.

    Dislikes? Well, sometimes a sheer twist of fate means our unit is full of violent people. That can get scary. But it is also kind of exciting too. I guess psych nurses have to be adrenelin junkies?? And I dislike that I can't "debrief" with other people after work...nobody else seems to "understand"..lol. But I love my job more than anything. Really!! Mind you, it is mentally and physically exhausting. That is a down side. Unless I am working, I am comatose by about 7.30pm. There is no "down time" at work...it is all go.

    2. How much do the entry level nurses get paid in your area?

    Well I'm in Australia so it is different..but entry level gets paid $45000 per annum. But of course, you ALWAYS get paid more than that because you work so many shifts and overtime.

    3. Is it difficult to get a position in psych nursing, I was thinking it would be difficult because I would think that the burned out nurses in the hospital would want a change, not that psych nurses never get burned out but the hospital appears to burn many nurses out so I would think a position in this field would be difficult to attain.

    I almost laughed out loud!! lol.... we are soooooooooo short staffed it is not funny. It is only union regulations that allow me to ever have a day off. It is not unusual to work 12 days straight, with a few doublt shifts in there as well. I started in my job as "casual/on call"....from week one worked at least 70 hours per week! It is common to work 40 hours of OVERTIME in a week. NO, not difficult to get work..lol
  10. by   crb613
    I was offered a job at our school's clinical site before I graduated. I absolutely loved psych. I turned the job down to get med surg experience first (instructor's urging)...I also love med surg. Funny thing there are a lot of psych pts in med surg.....It seems everyone noticed I have a nack for working w/these type of pts....so I get to do both. I will take a psych pt any day just please don't give me anyone w/a trach!
  11. by   Psychaprn
    Sorry-I can't answer your question about job availability. I worked inpt. psych. for years, got my master's and APRN now. Now I work in an outpatient private group practice. I love the unpredictability of the job, meeting and helping new people. Psych. nursing is the only field where you use yourself as a healing tool vs. machines, dressings etc. The only thing I didn't like was the attitude that some people had that psych. was easy or not "real" nursing. Good luck and go for it. I would suggest you call hospitals in your area to check about jobs. You may want to or work in the general hospital inpt. med./surg. units to get a foot in the door. You can also apply at private psych. hospitals in your area. VNA's also hire psych. nursers.

    Inpt. psych can burn you out in a few years so try to advance your education and move into outpt. settings once you get some inpt. experience. Consider getting your CADC degree if you want to work in the field of Addictions.
    Last edit by Psychaprn on Feb 2, '07

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