I will be a new grad RN as of December (yay! almost there!), and I was relatively certain I wanted to go into psych when I began nursing school. I have a prior BA in Psychology and several years of experience in various psych settings (research, intensive-in-home, psychiatrist/psychologist's office). I feel like my prior experiences and degree will make me a good fit for this specialty, but I am *constantly* hearing about how dangerous psych is, as well as a general attitude that this area of the nursing field is substandard in some way. It is my feeling that a general unit can be just as dangerous--albeit in other ways--and I've never felt more "at home" than I did when I was in my psych rotation (possibly with the exception of community nursing, which often involved many of the same skill sets). That said, I am certainly not looking forward to the possibility of being injured, spit on, or anything else of that sort, and I'm wondering how common that really is. There were a couple of incidents where doctors were attacked in my last job, but it was extremely rare. So my question is this: knowing what you know now about the real risks vs. benefits of this specialty, would you do it again? What advice do you have?
Nov 9, '12
My answer to your question is a resounding yes! Sometimes I fantasize about other specialties..but never enough to regret psych or seriously consider switching over.
With your experience, education, and passion, you sound like you would be an asset to the specialty. You do voice some legitimate concerns regarding safety. I was assaulted on one occasion; I wasn't seriously hurt or injured but yes a patient put his hands on me an aggressive manner. However, this was on a notoriously acute and dangerous unit. I have also worked at places where violence was essentially unheard of. Interesting factoid: the specialty where nurses are most likely to be assaulted on the job is the ER, not psych. I think you will be just be fine..in one's career as with most roads in life, our choices should not be made or stifled by fear. Good luck!