The Psychiatric Nursing Profession...a thread to begin learning about it - page 3

I wish to give credit were credit is due....Thanks, danu3, for locating this website, which will be very helpful to members who have questions as to what the psychiatric nursing profession is all... Read More

  1. by   SoxfanRN
    Quote from nursing804
    I am very interested in the psy field. I would like to spend my career there. I am a new grad about take the NCLEX on Wednesday. I am unsure if I would be able to go straight into psyche or if i will have to work on a med surge floor to gain my 1 year nsg experience. if anyone knows about this, please let me know.

    I am also a diagnosed Bipolar pt. I had a rough childhood and my teen years are included in part of a very colorful past filled with bulimia, depression, mania, anxiety and even alcohol abuse. I have also lost a child, and am the daughter of an alcoholic father and a negligent mother. I feel I have a lot to offer many patients on a psychiatric unit, I have also been admitted to at least 5 facilities since the age of 11. I was a runaway and a teen parent.
    I wonder if my position as a psychiatric nurse would become compromised if they found out any of this.

    Could any of the forementioned issues prevent me from working on a psyche floor? Could anything benefit me? What would happen if they found out, and during an interview if i was to be asked why I think i would be good for the job, of course, I think I would be wonderful for the job, being as that I can relate to most people about anything. I have been on both sides of the unit( nsg clinicals and as a patient myself) I know how anxiety feels and what helps, I know how I coped with having to bury my daughter and I know how I survived an alcoholic abusive father.

    I would like to know what I should say in an interview and if I should mention anything about why I feel I am personally qualified for the job.
    They say there is a reason we psych nurses get into the field we do. Many of us have had expeirences with mental illness whether through ourselves or with loved ones. But your past is just that: your confidential past. Disclosing your past to anyone is a personal choice. I have seen such disclosures go both ways: the person was lauded for strength and courage or they were stigmatized. I, myself, would only tell people I know I could trust with the information. I do not think I would mention it in my interview. I would probably tell my manager once I got to know them and trust them, especially if I was having a hard time and needed their help either through time off or referrals.
    If you can use your experiences to be a more empathetic and caring nurse, then you should do that. Just do not let your experiences cloud your judgement or become rigid to what treatments work or not.
    I, myself, went straight into psych from nursing school. I had absolutely no desire to do med-surg. However, I began my career on a research unit where I had to utilize many of my med-surg skills to implement the research, so I didn't really lose much skills-wise. Many RNs that have gone into psych let their med-surg skills slip away. That's fine if you plan on staying in psych. But if you have any inkling that you might want to do some kind of advanced practice, it isn't always a good thing to be pigeon-holed as a "psych nurse." If you want to get into psych, my opinion is to do it. I would, however, really try to keep up my med-surg skills: Get ACLS certified, learn EKGs and cardiac arrhythmias, jump into mock codes, jump into any medical happenings with your patients.
    I hope this helps.
  2. by   hppynurse2
    I have worked in a long term care psychiatric facility since 1997. First as a CNA then moved up to LPN position. I couldn't imagine ever doing anything different.

    I work with chronic mental illnesses like schizo, bi-polar, psychotic, and borderline personality disorders. These clients have been in and out of psychiatric wards for most of their life. They cannot function out in society anymore.

    It's not really a physically hard job, but it can be very mentally taxing. But I love it. You do have to deal with delusions from clients daily, and learn what works for each patient. You have to be very compassionate and caring, and very willing to listen to their concerns and fears. When you develope a friendly relationship with them you can learn how to care for each individual theraputically.

    for example client 1 is very paranoid. They believe that someone is going to hurt them. I remind them daily that their safe and no one can hurt them. One intervention is to allow them to sit by me. Another is to stay in their line of site often. When I go to lunch I let them know when I will be back. When I get back I stop to tell them I'm back.

    Psychiatric care is a great field. Most nurses are afraid of this field, but it;s not that bad. One thing its like OB care. You either love it or you hate it.
  3. by   RiiCa
    Hello everyone! Im working in the biggest mental hospital in Finland. I would like to know how r these kind of hospitals in America?
  4. by   SoxfanRN
    The state facilities tend to be large campuses for psychiatric patients. Different buildings house and treat different illnesses.
  5. by   pleeaustin1842
    Quote from hppynurse2
    I have worked in a long term care psychiatric facility since 1997. First as a CNA then moved up to LPN position. I couldn't imagine ever doing anything different.

    I work with chronic mental illnesses like schizo, bi-polar, psychotic, and borderline personality disorders. These clients have been in and out of psychiatric wards for most of their life. They cannot function out in society anymore.

    It's not really a physically hard job, but it can be very mentally taxing. But I love it. You do have to deal with delusions from clients daily, and learn what works for each patient. You have to be very compassionate and caring, and very willing to listen to their concerns and fears. When you develope a friendly relationship with them you can learn how to care for each individual theraputically.

    for example client 1 is very paranoid. They believe that someone is going to hurt them. I remind them daily that their safe and no one can hurt them. One intervention is to allow them to sit by me. Another is to stay in their line of site often. When I go to lunch I let them know when I will be back. When I get back I stop to tell them I'm back.

    Psychiatric care is a great field. Most nurses are afraid of this field, but it;s not that bad. One thing its like OB care. You either love it or you hate it.
    Thank you for your post. I worked in an outpatient clinic for the severly mentally ill for two years as a secretary and was in school working on a business degreeand one of the nurses encouraged me to go to for my lpn. I truly enjoy this population and would feel very fortunate and that I had done a service when I would leave for the evening. Unfortunately I had to transfer to another department in order to get the hours in order to complete the lpn program. I will be interviewing for an lpn position in the same hospital tomorrow. I am soooo excited. I have been working in ltc on a skilled unit for the past year. Even though I have not done patient care for this population it was my goal since I started considereing nursing school. Please cross your fingers for me.
  6. by   hppynurse2
    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. We need caring individuals to take care of people. Just remember, it takes special people to care for the sick. I hope you go as far as you want to go. If you're not happy, for the patients sake pick another field. Every nurse is cut out for different fields. If this wasn't true then one field would always be full with a 20 year waiting list while the other fields are way under staffed. GOOD LUCK!
  7. by   pleeaustin1842
    Thank you. The inteview went great but they had already given the shift I wanted to someone else. Well i will be willing to work as a resource nurse. Considerably more money but no benefits. I had a terrible day in the ltc facility but just the idea of having the interview made it great. I hope they will consider me for resource until something else opens up. I really feel that is where I belong.
  8. by   pleeaustin1842
    I was offered the job but I just could not accept due to the salary. It is serious pay cut. I stressed on it for five days. I am very upset about it. I will have to wait until I finish my RN in order to even get near a unit in a hospital.
  9. by   DooWopNurse
    I've always been interested in the psych field and didn't even know psychiatric nursing was an actual title until my second year of nursing school. I've read a lot of people inquiring about salaries of Psych. Nurses, but I think it all has to do with geographical location and experience. I live in NY and I was hired at a ward in Manhattan, fresh out of a 2 year nursing program, and I make about 57k a year. A lady I know has worked there for 6 years, has her AS in nursing, and makes 65k a year. A friend of mine, who went through Nursing school with me, works in med/surg. and makes about 35k a year. It all has to do with where you live and the demand of nurses in the field. In NYC, not many nurses want to work in the psych field so they're willing to pay top dollar even for fresh nurses. Of course, I'm not doing it for the money. I absolutely love my job and wouldn't trade it for the world.
  10. by   mageean
    I am due to take early retirement in october following 30yrs in mental health nursing in Ireland and UK my last 10years have "doubled" to 20 for pension purposes. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every day of it starting as a care assistant in 1977 to now as Head of service.There are choices within psychiatry, Adult care, rehabilitation, forensic work, older poeple. My passion has always been for people with Dementia who present a variety of different challenges. It does however take understanding, tolerance, supportive colleagues to enhance the patients experience of services. I have no hesitation in recommending mental health as a career
  11. by   Elisa51
    Quote from mageean
    I am due to take early retirement in october following 30yrs in mental health nursing in Ireland and UK my last 10years have "doubled" to 20 for pension purposes. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every day of it starting as a care assistant in 1977 to now as Head of service.There are choices within psychiatry, Adult care, rehabilitation, forensic work, older poeple. My passion has always been for people with Dementia who present a variety of different challenges. It does however take understanding, tolerance, supportive colleagues to enhance the patients experience of services. I have no hesitation in recommending mental health as a career
    I have worked as an RPN now for 32 years, in all of the above areas, including substance abuse/dual diagnosis, and I also find that my favorite years have been spent working geriatric psychiatry. I am fortunate in that I work on a unit that specializes in geriatric mood disorders rather than dementia, but we do get a mix. We also have the infirmary for the whole of the 325 bed hospital so we can have a mix of suicide attempts, cardiac cases and paliative care all at the same time. Some express concern that they lose their physical nursing skills, but I think that with the opportunities for continuing education that are available, we don't have to lose these skills. We just need to take responsibility for keeping them current. I just went back in 2003 to get my degree and was pleasantly surprised that I still had the ability to learn! It was great having the chance to converse regularly with other like-minded nurses!
  12. by   nancy36
    I'm a nurse from the philippines with 10 years of med-surg experience,OR ect..after a few months of training at the National Center of Mental Health and 1 year of work at an of institute with children with mental and physical disability,I decided to concentrate on working with special children.

    A psychologist advised that I train/study special education for chidren with autism, MR, down syndrom, etc..not on a hospital setting because we will be training children to be independent(basics of daily living)and not taking care of them.

    Any info on this?
  13. by   wishNhopeNdreamN
    The APNA link from the OP is broken. Does anyone have an alternative link?

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