Interview this week in Acute Adult Psychiatric Unit!

  1. Good day Nurses!

    I am a new graduate unhappily working in med/surg. The unit is not that bad, I just know it's not where I want to be and where I plan on continuing my career. Fortunately, I was offered the opportunity to come in for an interview in adult psych this week and I am so excited. Mental health has always been a HUGE passion of mine and I am so happy that I get this opportunity. Growing up with a mental illness was very tough but allowed me to be empathetic to people who are suffering from mental illnesses. The only issue that I am having is that I used to be a psychiatric support technician in an acute adult unit and let's just say...it didn't go so well.

    I loved it when I started, I loved the patients and I loved the environment. Unfortunately, I wasn't properly trained and there was a predicament where I was thrown a cup of water on my face and was called some very bad things from one of the patients and I did not know how to react. I ended up quitting eventually because I was in shock and wasn't prepared, I regretted it weeks and months after that.

    I want to be prepared this time, I want to thrive in the field of mental health because I know it is where I see myself forever to be honest. I want to be more prepared to handle insults and manipulation from patients and what to do when patients are rude and tend to be aggressive. I want to care for this vulnerable population and be the best possible nurse I can be. Any advice to help a new grad become a successful psych nurse will help! I've read numerous posts from the psych nursing board and love reading everything. I am very excited about this opportunity. Thank you guys!
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  2. 37 Comments

  3. by   NWeems
    Hello! (: I'm in the same predicament. I don't really have advice, but I'll say a prayer for you! Good luck!!
  4. by   kingvonnBSN2017
    Quote from NWeems
    Hello! (: I'm in the same predicament. I don't really have advice, but I'll say a prayer for you! Good luck!!
    Good luck to you as well! :-) I appreciate it!
  5. by   kingvonnBSN2017
    I just got another call today for an interview for a geropsych nurse position as well! I am looking forward to any advice that anyone can give me about adult psych and geropsych, interview tips? Anything would be valuable information!
  6. by   Juryizout
    Hi,

    I've been in psych since I graduated, and have always had a heart for anyone struggling with psych issues. There is a book another poster referred me to called, "Verbal Judo". I picked it up on Kindle and it's a great read for the types of situations you will find yourself in. The hardest part is to not take what they say personally. Just last week, a challenging patient asked me if they paid me. I said yes, she said it did not appear so since I looked so bad and needed a haircut. other times, I get hurled insults at just because I deny their request for certain meds, or can't do what they ask at the time I'm available. Some days I just come home and de-stress by not saying anything about my day. I work Geripsych which means lots of co-morbidities, such as heart, liver, cancer, etc. We are somewhat like a nursing home as we have to change people, and convince them to bathe, take meds, eat meals, and go to groups.
    The turnover is great due to people accepting the job not knowing what to expect, and then finding out its not for them. Then there's the safety issue, especially in acute. I worked on a woman's acute unit first, and had my share of physical situations. Our facility does training for this.
    Just know that psych is a true calling. You either love it, or hate it, but you'll know fairly soon which it is.
  7. by   GeminiNurse29
    I currently work in psych. We had an intense 3 month orientation to everything from going hands on to how to deal with patients' etc. ask lots of questions about their orientation and expectations. For the geriatric psych, find out their ratios and the acuity of the patients. Often times, the elderly tend to have comorbidities and medical stuff as well as the psych.

    Good luck, it's an eye opener for sure!
  8. by   kingvonnBSN2017
    Quote from Juryizout
    Hi,

    I've been in psych since I graduated, and have always had a heart for anyone struggling with psych issues. There is a book another poster referred me to called, "Verbal Judo". I picked it up on Kindle and it's a great read for the types of situations you will find yourself in. The hardest part is to not take what they say personally. Just last week, a challenging patient asked me if they paid me. I said yes, she said it did not appear so since I looked so bad and needed a haircut. other times, I get hurled insults at just because I deny their request for certain meds, or can't do what they ask at the time I'm available. Some days I just come home and de-stress by not saying anything about my day. I work Geripsych which means lots of co-morbidities, such as heart, liver, cancer, etc. We are somewhat like a nursing home as we have to change people, and convince them to bathe, take meds, eat meals, and go to groups.
    The turnover is great due to people accepting the job not knowing what to expect, and then finding out its not for them. Then there's the safety issue, especially in acute. I worked on a woman's acute unit first, and had my share of physical situations. Our facility does training for this.
    Just know that psych is a true calling. You either love it, or hate it, but you'll know fairly soon which it is.
    I'll definitely look into that book, it seems like something that I really need to read! That has always been my issue, I take things personally sometimes and it will stay in my mind for days and I hate that. I definitely need to work on that.
    Is GeroPsych like another med/surg since you're dealing with many medical co-morbidities?
    I will be sure to bring up safety because even though sometimes it's inevitable, I want to avoid any assaults. Maybe that's not likely..
  9. by   kingvonnBSN2017
    Quote from GeminiNurse29
    I currently work in psych. We had an intense 3 month orientation to everything from going hands on to how to deal with patients' etc. ask lots of questions about their orientation and expectations. For the geriatric psych, find out their ratios and the acuity of the patients. Often times, the elderly tend to have comorbidities and medical stuff as well as the psych.

    Good luck, it's an eye opener for sure!
    Hopefully the orientation is very detailed and informative for me, it'll be a one year new grad residency so hopefully I'll learn a lot of information!
    I assume there is a high turnover rate in the geropsych unit because when I applied, there were about 5 positions open.
    I don't mind medical, I definitely would like to focus more on mental though. I have a 4 hour shadow day so I'll be sure to ask plenty of questions.
  10. by   hppygr8ful
    Welcome to psych. The biggest pieces of advice I can give you is never engage in a power struggle with a patient - Once that happens you have already lost the battle. 2nd don't take anything a patient says or does to you seriously. Let it slide off your back like water off a duck. Finally be prepared to take care of a lot of patients. In my state there are no mandated staffing ratios for psych and I frequently have 10 to 20 patients to look after chart on etc......Oh and buy a good pair of running shoes.

    Hppy
  11. by   Lil Nel
    I am hoping for your sake that your interview isn't at an UHS-owned facility. If it is, RUN!

    I recently spent seven months working at an UHS-owned facility and when I left, I contacted the State to report unsafe conditions.

    For what is it worth, I agree with another poster who stated that you should never engage in a power struggle with patients. They will hurl insults at you (sometimes for two hours, forcing a code to called), lie to your face, dismantle furniture, etc.

    On the Geriatric unit, you can expect to be slapped and punched by patients with dementia.

    My orientation consisted of FIVE eight-hour shifts. Shortly thereafter, I was frequently made charge nurse. That was at a point when I still had no clue as to what I was doing.

    My hope for you is that you will be working at a decent facility and actually provides orientation.

    Good luck!
  12. by   Workitinurfava
    Med-surg is useful in a psych setting as many of the patients have medical issues tbh. Where I work we turn-over staff every 4-6 months. When I started working at this place at-least 5 people left. It isn't easy work and it can be dangerous.
  13. by   Workitinurfava
    I had a few weeks of training like everyone else, you are lucky.
  14. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from kingvonnBSN2017
    I'll definitely look into that book, it seems like something that I really need to read! That has always been my issue, I take things personally sometimes and it will stay in my mind for days and I hate that. I definitely need to work on that.
    Is GeroPsych like another med/surg since you're dealing with many medical co-morbidities?
    I will be sure to bring up safety because even though sometimes it's inevitable, I want to avoid any assaults. Maybe that's not likely..
    Take NOTHING personally. No matter whom it's from and even if it was meant personally. These people are trying to function with broken brains. Information does not get processed properly and what comes out is often not appropriate to the situation.

    In other instances, people have a very poor interpersonal tool chest. They don't know how to handle frustration and whoever is standing in front of them becomes the target.

    Your interview should allow you to ask questions about the working conditions. What kinds of safety measures are in place? What's the protocol when patients become physically combative? This one might be hard to assess in an interview, but what's the unit culture? You'll want to get a sense of it during your probation period. Is everyone trying to be tough? Are they trying to be the patients' friends and be more popular that the other nurses? Are they split (and easy to split by patients)?

    In your interview, when your previous job history comes up, emphasize how poorly-equipped you were to handle the situation, how much time you spent thinking about it, how much you've learned in nursing school and how receptive you are to continued learning and growth. Good luck!

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