Stigma against Psych.

  1. I am doing my pre-req's for nursing and many people ask me what field of nursing I want to go into. I am really interested in psych. nursing but when I tell them they scrunch up their face and say "why would you want to do that?" :angryfire Even if I haven't brought it up and I ask the nurses I work with what their favorite/ least favorite part of clinicals were or what area they would never go into, one of them says psych. and they all nod their heads in approval. It's like psych. nursing is lower (in a sense?) than medical nursing. Has anyone else come across this? What's your opinion?

    Keely
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    Hi -- long-time psych nurse here. Yes, that's a v. familiar experience. Most RNs wouldn't work psych for all the tea in China, and can't imagine why anyone would. So what?? There are plenty of specialties out there that make me scrunch up my face and wonder why on earth anyone would want to do that. Again, so what??

    One of the great things about nursing as a career is that there's something for everyone -- so many different possibilities. My advice is to think up a snappy comeback to the "Eeewww, why would you want to do that????" question (because I guarantee you will keep hearing it), and don't let it bother you. Different strokes for different folks, as we old-timers used to say ...

    Best wishes for your education and future!
  4. by   fergus51
    All areas of nursing get this to a point. My NICU friends can't believe I enjoyed L&D (Ewww, vagina and lochia all day!), my L&D friends can't believe I like NICU (Who would want to work with dying babies all the time?), etc. Personally, I am one of those nurses that would never work psych. It just isn't me. That said, most of my friends from nursing school went into psych and enjoy it. Just accept their comments as what they are: personal opinions that have no bearing on your opinion.
  5. by   Keely-FutureRN
    Hmm. I never thought of it that way- that other area's of nursing have those same stigma's to some point. I currently work as a CNA in a cancer specialty hospital and I really love it but when I first applied for the position everyone kept asking me "isn't that going to be really depressing?" I work in surgical services (Same Day Surg., PACU, and OR) and it's amazing at how much variety there is in their personalities and their drive to combat this illness. I don't see it as depressing because I'm there to comfort them when they are scared which makes me feel needed. Maybe their just biased because of their lack of knowledge of mental illness (as they would be for the specialized knowledge needed to work in the NICU). Thanks guys.

    Keely
  6. by   StuPer
    I agree that its horses for courses, everyone has an opportunity in nursing to find their niche, I suppose the only time I get angry is when I hear that nurse educators have been putting student nurses off pursuing psych. There have been a few thread on here about that so I wont linger. Enough to say if psych is your interest, it often becomes a career for life... good luck for the future.
    regards StuPer
  7. by   Thunderwolf
    Quote from Keely-FutureRN
    Maybe their just biased because of their lack of knowledge of mental illness.
    Keely
    I think you captured the reason right there.
  8. by   fergus51
    I don't think it's necessarily a lack of knowledge. I did the same education and clinical as my friends who enjoyed psych, I just didn't like it. I think it's just a matter of taste. I gotta say though, I envy them because they don't have to wear scrubs!
  9. by   PRNMEDS
    I have had similar experience. You have to do what makes YOU happy. If they want to clean bloody wounds, ****** stomas, and all the other things I hated on med surge - good for them. We all have our likes and dislikes, and some of us are meant for Psych.
  10. by   Keely-FutureRN
    I can understand that There are some things I know I don't want to do in nursing. I guess everyone has their own likes/ dislikes...Thanks for your responses.

    Keely
  11. by   Thunderwolf
    Yes, likes and dislikes...agree. But, still there is "the fear" of some going into psych, much which has to do with the lack of adequate knowledge.
  12. by   suebird3
    i would like to know how many nurses have relatives who are depressed, etc. this was a subject often not brought up as recently as the '50's. i also wonder how many of these same people who are "against" psych may eventually "need" some type of psych med. jmho.

    suebird
  13. by   fergus51
    Quote from suebird3
    i would like to know how many nurses have relatives who are depressed, etc. this was a subject often not brought up as recently as the '50's. i also wonder how many of these same people who are "against" psych may eventually "need" some type of psych med. jmho.

    suebird
    i apparently have some psych history in my bio family, but none in the family i was raised with. it's an interesting idea. personally, i'm not "against" psych, i would just never want to work there myself. i think i'm pretty well aquainted with what psych nurses do thanks to 4 of my closest friends all being psych nurses, and it just doesn't appeal to me in the least. it has nothing to do with fear or lack of knowledge. i just like ob/nicu.
  14. by   suebird3
    understood, fergus; it takes all sorts of us for the varied type of patients we care for.
    our ltc facility has "psych" patients....alzheimers, etc. what a fun bag when they are either confused or "with it"!

    sueb

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