Just landed Forensic Psych Job - need help about working conditions!

  1. Hi all!

    I am a newer grad and I am so excited that I just landed a PRN psych job at a State Hospital to supplement my full-time job on the floor. I wanted my "medical" experience, but psych is my passion, so I wanted to dive back in. I was offered the job on the spot today (great thing, but could be red flag).

    I am only familiar with an Acute Psych hospital setting where I did my preceptorship, which seems like it runs drastically different than a forensic state hospital. At the state hospital, it sounds familiar to what others have talked about: staffing is 1 RN/LPN, 1 RN, and 4 PA's typically per ward. There are anywhere from 25-35 pts per ward. One nurse is the charge nurse, and one the med nurse.

    I am not familiar with this type of set up and this number of pts, so I wanted to know if this sounds reasonable and doable to all you others with experience. I am excited about the position, but there were some red flags that came up - sounds like they have high turnover and are pretty far behind (no Pyxis, paper charting). I love a challenge, so that does not bother me - just gives me more experience, even if it's not the best. I am so excited to work with this population, so I really want to keep the job.

    Let me know you Psych Nurse's thoughts on this set up, and your experience at forensic hospitals. THANKS for anyone who responds, your time is appreciated and good things shall come to you, hehe
  2. Visit hakunamatataRN profile page

    About hakunamatataRN

    Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 72; Likes: 124
    from US


  3. by   EricaSAFJAF
    I work at an acute psych facility and we have no pyxis and do paper charting...psych is my passion so my only other experience is working as a tech at a medical hospital...I have a charge nurse, I'm the med nurse and we have 1-2 techs...we have up to 16 pts... my work load is very doable...sometimes the paperwork is redundant but there are some benefits of paper over computer for sure...papers never crash lol or have technical difficulties... when I come on at 7p...I pull all my meds that are scheduled for 9p...then start administering those...all narcotics are signed out so I pull those and sign those out (when I first come on I count the narcotics with the previous shift to make sure theyre all there)

    your situation sounds doable...it's a higher pt load but you have more techs..depending on the acuity of your pts and what kinda floor it is depends on how many meds you will have to pass...my pts are lower functioning so I don't have a ton of meds to give and very few med seeking pts...
  4. by   hakunamatataRN
    Thank you SO much for your reply! I don't get shaken up easily, so I'm thinking I can handle it. Thanks again for your help.
  5. by   twinkerrs
    Sounds doable to me. I am the only nurse on my unit. I have a med nurse who does morning med pass then rotates to the other units. I also get 2.5 techs for 25 patients. Of course I work on a long term adolescent unit. So our patients are a bit more stable (not always don't want to jinx my day). We manage but some days are harder then others most psych facilities are still paper because they are the last that have to comply with electronic charting.
  6. by   pinkfish333
    I have worked in forensic mental health for the past year (in Canada). Your workload sounds very doable. You might even find it very slow compared to what you are used to in acute care, etc. The high turnover you are mentioning could be related to the lack of job satisfaction that comes with these patients who are chronically ill, ... and the stigma that is attached to mentally disordered offenders I think takes its toll on staff. Just my experience tho!
  7. by   BentleyJazzie
    Good luck, Amm....
  8. by   TSHPSYCHRN
    I work at a State Hosital. Your work load souds pretty normal. Forenics is prety similar to the Acute unit except you wont get as many admissions on Forenics. We dont ave a pyxis where I work, but do have electronic charting and electronic and paper Mars. Hope you enjoy!
  9. by   canadian.nurse
    Hi pinkfish333, I was wondering whether I can ask you some questions regarding your experience working in forensic mental health in Canada? Thanks!