Should I be a [Psych] Nurse? Requirements?

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    Hello all. I've just joined to start this thread, though I've been lurking, unregistered, for a bit longer. Prepare yourself; I can feel a novel coming on...

    For several years I have been interested in mental health. When I was probably about 14 or so, I decided I wanted to be a Psychologist. I've gone back and forth, trying to find something that suited me better (less schooling especially) but I never found it. I HATE the idea of going to school for years and having to take classes that are completely unrelated to one's major just to get a degree, which is the one big thing that has put me off of Psychology. I've been searching for all kinds of careers that I could get into that focus on what you're studying and don't require many years of schooling. Everything I've had some interest in has been in the medical field. I don't really have interest in anything else. I guess I don't really know what I want to do. But nothing has ever interested me like the human mind.

    Then I heard of Psychiatric nursing and read that you need a Master's degree to do it. Then I read elsewhere that didn't mention any additional degrees required, just need to be an RN and maybe need experience to get the job - so which is true? And what is it like to be a Psych nurse?

    Psychiatry doesn't really interest me (way too hard to get in anyway) as it doesn't seem like they even spend much time with their patients. I would get into this sort of work because I want to help people, I want to see them grow and overcome the trauma they've endured. Ever since I can remember, it's like I've been a magnet for people who've experienced trauma, and it has made me want to get the education needed to help them. I want to observe the patients, know what they're like, just know them. I don't feel like Psychiatry or Psychology would offer that. I would absolutely want to work in an inpatient clinic and be able to spend hours around the patients. Mental disorders really fascinate me as well.

    For general nursing, honestly, it wasn't something I really thought of before. I like people for the most part and I am interested in making lives better. Physical ailments don't interest me as much as mental ailments do. I have no aversion to blood, feces, etc. I've got a pretty strong stomach I think. I've had to reinsert a skunk's um...rectum - whatever falls out in a rectal prolapse - and was not at all disgusted, just concerned for the skunk's health. I've cleaned up LOTS of animal feces so I've really gotten over any disgust that would cause. I'm sure human feces is kind of a step up in being a bit more gross but I think I can handle it. I've always been good at science, excellent in English classes, great communication skills, empathetic but emotionally strong also, not good at math. I don't know that general nursing is a calling for me but to work a Psych ward or something would be amazing. THAT I can feel such a strong pull to more than anything.

    Sorry for the novel. I promised it would be a long one. So what do you all think? Could I be a nurse? And what would it take for me to be a Psychiatric Nurse? Are there actual certifications or something that would grant one the title of "Psychiatric Nurse" or does it just go by where you work/what field you're in? If a Masters degree is required, then I think it's a dream I'll probably end up ditching, unless somehow, I'd be able to focus entirely on Nursing/Psychiatric classes (doubtful -.-).

    Thanks for reading.
  2. 6 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I don't know why this says "Yesterday, 11:57 PM" when I wrote it today, October 28th, 2011 at about 7:00 PM...
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    I wanted to be a psychiatrist but schooling was too long and decided on nursing. Got my associates in psychology so Im a lot like you. I am a new nurse with a associates degree and just got hired as a full time employee at a hospital on their psychiatric floor. Everyone else there has 10 plus years experience, Im the only one with none but my interview went great and I got hired. You dont need a masters just your associates, all areas of nursing ask for experience but you will get your break somewhere.

    Im starting in a week so I cant tell you how it is but its a med surg/psych floor so I will be starting IVs, wound care etc: which Im super excited about.

    It seems like you would be a good nurse, the decision is all yours.
  5. 0
    Thanks for your response! Glad to hear there's someone like me out there. I'm sure it'll be tough to get a job (entry levels wanting years of experience these days it seems *eyeroll*) but hopefully I can manage - when I finally get to that point anyway.

    I hope your new job goes well for you. I'm sure it will be a great experience, if nothing else. Thanks again!
  6. 0
    If you want to work in Psych nursing, its best to work in Med/Surg or
    another area of nursing first. Many Psych patients also have medical issues,
    so you will need to be prepared if a medical emergency arises.

    That said, best wishes in pursuing a career in Psych nursing, once you have
    experience you can then decide if you want to pursue more education
    and work at a practitioner level...
  7. 0
    Quote from jahra
    If you want to work in Psych nursing, its best to work in Med/Surg or
    another area of nursing first. Many Psych patients also have medical issues,
    so you will need to be prepared if a medical emergency arises.

    That said, best wishes in pursuing a career in Psych nursing, once you have
    experience you can then decide if you want to pursue more education
    and work at a practitioner level...
    med/surg isn't really preparation for emergencies
  8. 0
    If you really want to do something in your life in the area of psychiatric nursing, then go ahead and study. I understand that now you need to get into general nursing first and then specialise ie. take more studies!
    I was one of the last nurses in the UK to specifically study and qualify in psychiatry as a 'Mental Nurse' - then I carried on and studied general nursing etc. etc. refer to aspergers and suicide. Go for it! do'nt stop at one qualification.
    write a thesis.
    Mister Chris (2004)


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