It's v. common to start nursing school
sure that you know you want to specialize in XYZ
, and find, once you've had some basic experience with it in school, that it's not for you after all. I've taught psychiatric nursing in a few different schools
over the years, and, invariably, there were always a few students who were sure they were going to like that specialty best, and a few who really dreaded the rotation and were sure they were going to hate it. Usually, the outcome by the end of the rotation was that most of those students had reversed their original positions -- the people who were sure this was going to be their "thing" found that it was different from what they had expected and they didn't really care for it, and some of the students who had been most sure they were going to hate it ended up liking it. There's nothing wrong with deciding it's not really your thing.
In terms of your specific questions, I've never observed the burnout to be more or less than other specialties. I have
seen a lot of nurses move from another specialty area to psych nursing because they are looking for a less physically active/demanding role and they (mistakenly) perceive psychiatric nursing as "easy." Those people typically don't last, but I don't really consider that "burnout" in the conventional sense. In my experience, the pay is the same as staff nurses on other floors make (or, in the case of freestanding specialty faciliities, competitive/comparable to other staff nursing wages in the community). Outpatient positions tend to pay less than inpatient positions (again, in my experience; your mileage may vary ...). Is the pay "worth it"? That's a v. subjective issue, and would depend on your definition of "worth it." Most of us who are "hardcore" psychiatric nurses would rather go hungry than do other kinds of nursing, so, yeah, it's "worth it." Lots of other nurses wouldn't work in a psych setting no matter how much they got paid for doing so, so they obviously don't feel the same.
As another poster already noted, size has little to do with anything. I've known plenty of petite individuals who were great psychiatric nurses. The goal is always to prevent situations getting to the stage of a physical altercation, and your therapeutic communication and de-escalation skills are much more important than your height or weight. If things do
get physical, you're never alone (or, shouldn't
be -- if you are, that's a place you don't want to be working) and always have help.
Psychiatric nursing and psychology are two entirely different disciplines and practices. Having been interested enough in psychology to get a baccalaureate degree in it doesn't mean you will (or are obligated to
) be interested in psychiatric nursing. Was there something else you experienced in school that you enjoyed more? One of the great things about nursing is that it is, IMO, the ultimate "big tent" -- there are soooooo many different career paths and possibilities (that hardly even resemble
each other, except that they all require an RN license), that there is something for everyone.
Best wishes for your journey!