What do you all think of starting in psych? If I did this would it be the worst choice of my new nursing career? Thats what alot of people say....I like psych, why cant I just try the medical part in a few years why does it have to be now? Any thoughts would be helpful.
May 23, '09
I just graduated a few days ago and will be starting in a new grad position on a general psych unit. I've worked as a tech in a free-standing psychiatric hospital for the past year and I think it will be a great fit for me. I'm not sure that I want to stay in psych forever but I know I'll gain some useful knowledge and that it's a specialty with it's own unique skill set just like other specialties. I really like psych and I'm sure that I'll do well in it. People often discourage going straight into psych because you "lose" your skills but I'm going to try my best to get in on whatever skills are available to perform on my unit and go from there.
I've heard that it may be more difficult to get a med/surg position later down the road but I'm hoping it might be easier for me because I'm in an acute care hospital and would be able to transfer internally if a position on another unit opens up that I'm interested in 1-2 years from now.
May 23, '09
I graduated last year and right after I took my first RN job in psych with children and adolescents working 2nd shift. I was pregnant at the time. I loved that job--and I was one of the students who said "I will never work in psych-EVER!" LOL It was a great learning experience it is really interesting to see how psychological issues can affect people and distort their reality. Even if you are afraid of some clients, do not show it....Now on the other hand here I am one year later and yes it is true you dont get a lot of hands on in psych. Mostly it is all psychsocial and a lot of charting, med passes, groups, etc. Not much clinical things to do unless a client gets out of hand you will do an IM injection or someone codes...This is just in my experience. Now I am kind of feeling like I want to do more hands on and things that I went to school for, know what I mean? But--as I am gaining my year one experience I now have to compete with all of this year's new grads for acute care positions. Go figure! So, yes you make learn to love psych..but yes it is true not much acute care goes on. Maybe you can obtain a PRN job in the hospital or something sometime down the road to keep your skills. Thats what I did. Good luck!
May 26, '09
I can only speak from personal experience. My luck being what it is, there was a nursing surplus when I graduated, so I hired on with a new hospital mental health unit (I admitted the first patient my unit ever received). Four years later I relocated and wound up working for Charter Behavioral Health. Without going into too much detail about the Charter fiasco, mine was one of the dozens of facilities Charter closed in 2000. I found myself pretty much unemployable. No hospital would touch me, because all of my real-world experience was in psychiatry. I drew unemployment for three months at a time when local hospitals were running full page ads in the newspaper. I finally caught on at a rehab hospital, after being turned down by pretty much every employer in town.
My advice is not to jump into mental health immediately. You become pigeonholed as unable to do anything else. I say this as someone who loves psychiatric nursing, but also as someone who has seen what starting out in mental health can do to a career.
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