Psychiatric Nursing

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    I am currently in LPN school right now, but plan on going the LPN to RN route after. I am VERY interested in working in psych after I get my RN. When I tell people I want to work in psych, they look at me like I'M crazy.

    If I wasn't majoring in nursing, I would definitely be majoring in psychology. I have always loved psychology, and would love to take an abnormal psych class just for fun. Although I feel nursing is my calling, psychology is my passion. I could spend hours reading about schizophrenia and the different sub-types, and not find it the least bit boring.

    Does anyone else feel the same as me? I feel like I'm the only one at my nursing school interested in psych. Everyone else wants to do peds, L&D, ER, etc. I know the chances of me working on a psych unit as an LPN are slim, but I'm still looking forward to the day when I eventually get there.

    Are jobs in psych for new grads hard to come by?
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I started in psych as a LPN so check around if you are interested in working before you get your RN. The good thing about psych is that,at least in my experience, there are always plenty of jobs because not everyone can do this job. I love it and can't imagine doing anything else. Good luck!
    DreamyEyes likes this.
  5. 1
    Congratulations; you will be entering a truly fascinating field of nursing! Your story sounds very similar to mine. I've always had a passion for the mind and new I wanted to go into psych from the start of nursing school. I recently landed a new grad position at the local VA hospital and could not be happier. So to answer your question, yes - there are some new grad positions available in psych but they're somewhat difficult to come by. If this is truly your passion though, stick with it and network your ass off. Good luck! There is always a strong need for mental health nurses, but getting started is tough.
    DreamyEyes likes this.
  6. 1
    LPN Psych opportunities aren't as slim as you think (not as many as Geriatric of course). Depending on what area you work in it is the perfect LPN setting. It takes a strong interest to be a psych nurse and from what I read it seems you have the interest. Psych is everywhere in all settings if you really think about it.
    DreamyEyes likes this.
  7. 1
    I don't know about availability of jobs for LPNs specifically where you are, I know the only jobs I have seen here in psych are for RNs.

    I am like you, one of the very rare people in nursing school who loves Psych. I am in Psych clinical rotation right now. I also have a background in Psych (Master's in Counseling) but felt I could do much more as an RN (not to mention earn more $). I am fascinated with the whole area and I also habitually analyze behavior (which my kids LOVE!! NOT!!) but it comes in handy in Psych to have that ability. I hope to work in mental health when I graduate. ONLY thing I don't like about it is the severe lack of services and resources available to the mentally ill population.

    I used to get the "are you CRAZY?" looks from everyone in school when they found out I liked it but now it's just a given that I am the Psych Girl...they give all the med-surg pts. with psych issues to me to handle
    DreamyEyes likes this.
  8. 1
    I'm very interested in psych as well. It's so cliche that students all seem to pick ER/Trauma, Peds, ICU, and L&D as their main interest for work out of school. I can't tell you how many have already said they want those fields when they graduate. Only a couple have shown interest in something different, but not entirely unrelated.

    I haven't done my psych semester yet, but I hope it reinforces my desire. I know on paper I prefer it, same with neuro. I'll hopefully end up in psych, addiction med, neuro, or something very similar.
    DreamyEyes likes this.
  9. 1
    I just graduated and got my first RN job in an inpatient behavioral health unit. Everyone looks at me like i'm the crazy one as well! Nursing isn't my first career - and i have spent most of my career in a MH/addiction setting in one role or another - maybe that helped? I am excited, and nervous! But I adore psych, i think the patients are wonderful. I agree that you will probably have better luck when you get your RN tho; inpatient psych needs the assessment/delegation skills that are outside the LPN scope of practice. Good luck!!!!!
    DreamyEyes likes this.
  10. 1
    I also just got my first RN job in a behavioral health setting, working in the county facility. There is the potential for violent patients, and that does frighten me. I DO however feel, that a "good" psych nurse is able to communicate and tune into signs that someone is getting aggitated and may intervene BEFORE they start throwing chairs or assault you. I hope I am right. I have had classroom orientation for 1 week, and have another 1 week of classroom, and then we are on the unit for 2 weeks at minimum, unless we need more time. (Given this is my FIRST nursing position, I believe I will need more time that some of the others in my group. There are 2 relatively new grads, but this is not their first position, as it is mine, so I'm at the biggest disadvantage here). I'm excited to have a job in an economy like this, but scared as well due to the threat of violence. I'm on a geropsych unit, so I hope that the age of the population indicates that violence may be less likely, or infrequent. We shall see....

    Good luck in your psych persuits!
    DreamyEyes likes this.
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    I am on geropsych too! I know what you mean about violence and being freaked out. We have 6 weeks of orientation, but it is my first RN job too, so we have been told we are allowed more time if we need it! I just finished my week of desk orientation and start on the floor tomorrow! Nervous and excited, but mostly just want to see what its like! Good luck, Kayte!! =)
    DreamyEyes likes this.
  12. 1
    A lot of facilities are moving away from hiring LPNs mostly because RNs have a broader scope of practice and can do more. Some places may still hire LPNs though, so search around.

    I was able to go straight into psych as a new grad and while I occasionally wonder what I missed by not having done med-surg first, I found my calling and have no regrets
    DreamyEyes likes this.


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