new grads in psych

  1. Alright, I think I'm officially out of my 'going to drop out of school' phase, but I'm still in the no way in hell do I want to be a med-surg nurse phase.
    As part of my soul searching, I was trying to think of something that I enjoyed, really honestly looked forward to in school, and the only thing I came up with was psych. I loved psych so much, I actually was excited about going to class and to clinical. So that's where I'm going to do my senior practicum and that's where I am going to try to land a job after graduation.
    So my question is... what are your feelings about new grads going into psych? How important is med-surg?
    If I have the opportunity, I think I would go directly into psych with no qualms whatsoever, but I wanted the opinion/input/feedback of experienced nurses, especially psych nurses.
    Let me know what y'all think... anyone here go into psych as a new grad? What were your experiences?
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   sanakruz
    Psych is awesome . Really. You will meet some of the most creative and unique individuals who will really touch you.
    1)Joan of Arc
    2)Vincent Van gogh
    3) Thelonious Monk
    4)John Nash
    5) Jesus Christ
    A few famous schizophrenic individuals
    ( I realize its controversial to speculate Christ was schizophrenic but I'll stand by this with all due respect) I bet if we look we can find more.
  4. by   2banurse
    Although I was not a nurse when I worked in Psych, I did work four years as a medical secretary in a continuing day treatment center...I loved it...the staff I worked with (nurses, social workers, psychologists, RT, etc.) were the greatest group of people. It is actually my former supervisor, an RN who is also the program coordinator that is my role model for pursuing nursing. I miss them all so much because they are up in NY and I'm now in FLA. You'll even find the MDs a lot easier to handle (definitely less stressed than surgeons!).

    Go for it!
  5. by   delirium
    I think I will, even though a lot of my classmates don't seem to think its 'real' nursing. Its cool, it has a totally different culture than most other nursing units, and I really dig that.
    I think I'm going to apply to do my senior practicum where I had my psych clinicals, and if that works out I'll see if I can land a job there. I love that unit...
    If that doesn't work, I may try a larger, psych hospital.
    We'll see.
    I'm excited about it.
  6. by   2banurse
    Good luck Delirium! I think the most important thing is to go in those departments that you have enthusiasm for...can you imagine being in a hospital where the nurse who is taking care of you is so very unhappy with their choice? Not me...because I know for sure, I am not doing med/surg...I'm leaning towards PICU myself....The one good thing about the shortage, it does give new graduates a wider spectrum to chose from.
  7. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by psychnurse.com
    Psych is awesome . Really. You will meet some of the most creative and unique individuals who will really touch you.
    1)Joan of Arc
    2)Vincent Van gogh
    3) Thelonious Monk
    4)John Nash
    5) Jesus Christ
    A few famous schizophrenic individuals
    My mom (the most awesome psych nurse I know) has a magnent on her fridge that is covered in names of people that are affected by mental illness. Like, hundreds of names. Very cool, and very thought provoking.

    I've always said that if women quit having babies, I'd do psych. As long as you're not easily manipulated and are on your toes, psych is an awesome firld.

    Heather
  8. by   delirium
    I've seen those magnets, Heather. Its wild.

    Psych is awesome. I had a great time in clinical... I dig psych because its such a different kind of nursing, and I really enjoy the psych patients (even the borderlines... ).

    I think I'll have a better idea if I truly want to work psych after my 90 hour senior practicum there... but its the only place I can truly imagine myself working, out of all the rotations I've had thus far in nursing school.
  9. by   maureeno
    of course psych is real nursing, go for it.
    that pitchfork symbol next to a patients name often gets them less adequate medical tx, you'll be surprised about how much problem finding and advocacy you will be doing for your patients.
  10. by   susansing
    We have a person who does not have med-surg background and she is so lost when it comes to meds other than psych meds. She is missing some of the pieces in patient care. We see the difference. Our advice as seasoned nurses working elsewhere before psych.....get one year med surg background. I went to Oncology and i have never been sorry...the skills i attained there were great and are still with me. I also floated med surg 6 months.....and the experience was hard but very useful.

    Hope this helps. SusanH...RNBSN, Naples, Fla.
  11. by   pattyjo
    I worked 6 months med surg before going into psych which was and still is my first love. Did those 6 months help? Not sure, it was so long ago! I guess I feel like any experience is valuable, but would I have been a good psych nurse without it, sure. It's up to us as professionals to stay on top of changes in nursing. Things change so quickly that meds, for example are completely different from what I used years ago. That's true for medical, surgical, cardiac, AND psych. WE have to take responsibility for our practice, and that might mean looking up the newest cardiac med our patient is taking, just like a med/surg nurse may need to look up the new antidepressant a surgical patient is taking.

    I guess what I am saying is if this is what you want, go for it. I agree with Maureen, of course this is "real" nursing. I have cared for people with schizophrenia AND diabetes, depression AND heart disease, and a couple of women who were bipolar AND pregnant, as well as patients who have only a psychiatric disorder. You will see an incredible variety of patients who need your skills and education. Good luck, if it is what you want you will love it.
    Patty
  12. by   oldgirl
    Don't ever feal that you would not be doing "real" nursing. If that is where your gift lies, then use it there. Believe me, I do Med-surg, and I like it-but my hat comes off to any one who does Psych stuff because I absolutely could not. We all fit somewhere and we are all different. Hope you are able to make your dream happen!
  13. by   Woodchuck
    Psychiatric phenomena constitute my first love, too, especially as they involve terminally ill patients with all their accompanying anxiety, depression, etc. I almost went into psyc right out of school but wound up in med-surg for the experience. I'm surprised at how competent I became at tasks given that I'm not real task-oriented, but I still never got into the real groove of the med-surg environment, as it can be very creatively tedius. However, med-surg units still get there share of mentally ill patients, and I'd always ask for them before assignments were made (especially the ETOH de-tox, geriatric/dementia, and schizophrenic folks who tend to have all kinds of compounded medical problems). The other RNs were usually happy to oblige my request and loved me for it.

    Now that I've been in med-surg for 1.5 years, the prospect of leaving makes me anxious. Besides all that I've learned is what I realize I have yet to learn. I underestimated how much internal medicine knowledge is out there. The science is interesting and it feels cool knowing how to start IVs, catheters, place NGs, interpret lab values, etc., but after about a year when my basic skills became strong, they began to feel overly tasky. Still, those basic skills seem essential to me, especially with the number of psychiatric geriatric patients on multiple meds these days. I know of some nurses who after a year or two of med-surg experience switched to psych or hospice but kept working one shift a week on a hospital acute care unit to keep their med-surg skills current. Just a possibility.

    Good luck. It's a tough call for me, too.
    Last edit by Woodchuck on Jan 7, '03
  14. by   Lainanu
    Hi all! I am brand new to this board and thrilled to be here. I have been a nurse for 24 years. I worked in LTC and hospitals through my many years of nursing. I recently began a new job in a private psych. hosp. in Philadelphia. Psych. nursing is the most fulfilled I have ever been in my life. This is my first time working exclusively in this capacity and it is amazing. I have met some of the most incredible and wonderful patients. I cannot believe how fortunate I am to be in a field helping people who need this help the most. Anyone who has the desire to be in this field should just go and do it. I wish I would have done this sooner!

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