Psych Nurse Wannabe :)

  1. Hello Everyone!

    Thanks for viewing... I am at a point where I really need some help!

    I am about to graduate with my B.A. degree in social sciences (Psychology, Sociology). I decided that I want to be a nurse... and most likely a psych nurse. I still need to take nursing courses in order to get my RN.

    Does anyone have an suggestions about things I should do as far as school and jobs during school go? What did you do that worked for you? Or is there anything you wish you did? Any help from seasoned nurses would be great! Or new nurses that have just been through this whole process would be great.

    Thanks a lot!!


    P.S... I will be living in the Pittsburgh area, if anyone is from there/has lived there and wants to provide specific information
  2. Visit emilyjoy profile page

    About emilyjoy

    Joined: Feb '10; Posts: 49; Likes: 1
    from US


  3. by   Rhone
    Hi Emily. I have a BA in Psych and worked in human services direct care positions for a few years before going back to school to become a nurse. I'm now an LPN and just got my first nursing job (in a Psych facility), and I plan to go on to get my RN.

    The worst part, for me, is that it took me nearly 5 months (after passing the NCLEX and getting my license) to get that job, because in the current economy even the nursing homes (which are usually desperate for staff) are turning away new grad LPNs.

    In light of that, my suggestion for people switching careers to nursing in general would be try to work part time or per diem as a CNA during school, ideally at a facility that you would want to work at as a nurse. The people in my nursing class who had the easiest time getting jobs were the ones who were already CNAs and were able to move up to nursing positions in their hospitals.

    Since you know you specifically want to work in Psych, look specifically at Psych facilities. Some may use CNAs, but some may have similar direct care positions that don't require you to be a CNA (they are "mental health workers" at my facility). Be prepared to get relatively little pay while being in the position that spends the most time with the patients. It's not glamorous work, but it will give you a higher comfort level with psych patients than other new grad nurses or even experienced acute care nurses. That will put you in a good position when you interview at a psych facility after getting your nursing license, especially if you stay in the same facility and have already shown them that you are a dependable and competent employee.
  4. by   emilyjoy
    I will look into the mental health worker positions. I was thinking about being a CNA as well. Thanks for your reply!