I'll be graduating in May and still unsure what area of nursing I want to pursue. I feel there are sooooo many options out there its endless. One of my favorite rotations in school, was psych and wanted to hear from the psych nurses out there. When I did my clinicals, many of the pt's said they loved having students because the nurses didn't talk to them like we did. We went into the patient rooms and sat for several minutes and actually talked to them about their conditions and why they were there. And from the impression I got, this was not true of the staff RNs. It seemed the RN's basically passed meds and monitored the safety of the residents. So, I guess I'm confused what the role is of a psych RN? Are you supposed to talk to your patients or is the the MD's job? I know as a med/surg nurse you would do the procedures and patient care, but what patient care would be needed for psych patients? Just curious about this. Also, wanted to know if you enjoy psych nursing and if this type of nursing is as needed as in other areas like med/surg, ICU, etc?? Thanks for the input!
Feb 13, '03
I thought I replied to this somewhere else.....
Feb 15, '03
I've been a psych nurse for my entire 20 year career as an RN and I wouldn't ever think of doing anything else. The typical role I have had in the position I have worked as a staff psych RN is to assess patients upon admission, assist in developing and carrying out the patient's multidisplinary treatment plan, conducting therapeutic groups and activities, doing 1:1 sessions with patients, conducting patient family support and education groups and providing illness management and medication education to patients.
I have worked in other roles in psych in addition to being a staff nurse such as being a psych unit manager, a psych program manager, being a quality assurance manager for a psych department and being a utilization review coordinator for a psych department.
May 1, '03
Ditto to PsychoRN. I have been a psychiatric and mental health nurse for 26 years and my resume looks very similar. Also the duties. When psychiatrist were concerned about not making as much money as the other doctors. Its hard to see 10 patients an hour when you are doing individual psychotherapy for 45 minutes each patient. Psychiatrist became pill pushers and dosage adjusters. This left a void regarding group and individual therapy/education/instruction to go along with the medications for maximal therapeutic results. "There's no magic pill Virginia" These changes offer opportunities for therapeutic involvement and the opportunity to really really make a difference in someones life through patient teaching. I've learned more from the patients in groups, and I think they've learned a lot from our groups. We teach symptoms/diagnosis, medications, stress reduction, coping skills, communication and assertiveness, listening just to name a few. There is much to do in the field, especially if you get involved with the clients and are not just acting as a monitor and paper pusher.
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