I left my job on an inpatient psych unit in a community hospital to teach high schoolers and then I took time off due to personal reasons. I worked as a psych RN from July 2009 to January 2012. I just started back to work in May and I feel like I'm starting all over as a new grad with nothing! I do have my psych background and I'm good at setting rapport with residents, but I'm super slow at passing meds to 16 residents (I was used to 4-6, maybe 8 patients on psych) and my skills are really rusty. I'm sure some of this is due to being out of nursing for over a year, but I can't help but wonder if anyone has gone from psych to anything else and realized "hey, I kinda did lose my skills!" I'm not complaining at all nor do I regret my time in psych, but it's just a little frustrating to feel like I worked for 2.5 years and was a proficient nurse and now I'm back to a beginner!
This is more of a rant than anything and I'm not trying at all to discourage anyone from going into psych, but this is still something worth considering. I didn't go into psych thinking that I wouldn't do it for the rest of my career, but I also didn't have plans to stay in the same hospital or unit for more than 3-5 years without trying something new.