New Grad Psych vs. Med Surg

  1. I am graduating in May and have been trying to figure out what I want to do since I started school. I currently work at a long term care facility as a CNA, which I love, but I get burnt out fast and it just makes the job less enjoyable. I also just accepted a position at psych facility as a tech for now and RN after I pass my NCLEX. I also have an interview for a new grad med surg program coming up. The more I think about it the less I want to take the med surg position. At this point I have spent 2 years on med surg floors in clinicals and I am bored. I don't like med surg. I hate the idea of just seeing a patient for a few days and then never seeing them again and not knowing what happens to them, which is part of the reason I love LTC. I know a med surg job I would learn so much, but I'm afraid I will get burnt out, not like it and I also hate the hours. 3 12 hour shifts rotating nights and days. I have always loved psych I almost majored in it instead of nursing. At this point I am thinking I will work at the psych facility full-time and the LTC facility per diem. Any suggestions on what I should do?? I just want to make sure I am making the right choice.
  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    If psych is your passion, don't bother with M/S---go for it! So many nurses feel they have to get that magical 1-2 years in acute care before they venture into a specialty, and ordinarily that would be my advice too, except you *know* you're not going to like it. Just keep an open mind, and only go PRN at your LTC if you think you need to keep up your bedside skills (or you need the extra income). You never know; you may end up working a gero-psych unit and have to deal with chronic conditions such as incontinence, wound care, diabetes etc.
  4. by   nursingstudent2018
    Thank you so much! I actually just got to shadow the psych facility today and I loved it! I am pretty sure I will be staying at the long term care facility per diem and will take a full time psych nurse position.
  5. by   PsychinSC
    Glad you loved it! In my experience, the "feeling" you get walking on the unit can tell you a lot. I have worked in the OR, in Clinical Research, and in Gero-Psych. When you know - you know! I liked all of my positions, but felt "at home" moving from the office environment of Clinical Research to my Psych position. I am also in nursing school currently and work as a Therapeutic Assistant at an IOP. I had similar thoughts regarding attaining the med/surg experience first, but think you should just go for psych out of the gate. Good luck and Congrats!
  6. by   Graduatenurse14
    I didn't like my med-surg clinical rotations and had been a nursing assistant on a medical unit and didn't like it, BUT when I graduated I took a med-surg job just to get the experience. I wanted to actually use what I was tested on in my skills labs (IV, tube feeds, foleys, chest tubes, etc.) I was there almost 3 years. I'm very, very glad I worked in med surg and wouldn't change it.

    I now work on an inpatient adult psych unit and I like my patients a lot. I've been there for almost 1 year but don't see myself staying nearly as long as the last job due to things like scheduling, a few co-workers who aren't so nice and it's become monotonous in some aspects which makes sense as it's over 90% easier than med-surg nursing. It's been a very good experience overall and will only be a benefit as I go forward in my career.

    Do med-surg for 1 year then go on to psych. There are important things that you learn in med-surg because you just have to, that are at times necessary in psych. I can't tell you how many times I've known both important and random things that the psych-only nurses did not.

    One of my best friends from nursing school has wanted to be a Psych Nurse Practitioner for years and even she did one year in med-surg for the experience and to make herself more marketable. She now works at another inpatient psych hospital.
  7. by   Just.Blessed.RN
    After graduation I actually did both Psych and MedSurg as a new nurse. MedSurg full time, Psych PRN. I needed the hours/$$$ to get married and put a down payment on a home with my husband, and I realized that a lot of my MedSurg patients had psych issues so I became a great asset to my unit and I learned a lot! I'm still doing it 3 years later!!
  8. by   Meriwhen
    If psych is what you want, go for it! A year of med-surg, while it couldn't hurt, is not required to be a successful psych nurse. And if your heart isn't med-surg, you're only going to make yourself miserable for that year.

    Working at both a psych hospital and a LTC sets you up nicely for working in both psych-med or geropsych.