Why do one year Med surg nursing before going into Psychiatry Nursing

  1. I want to go into psychiatry as a nurse but my coworkers a re telling me to go into medsurg for one year before going into psych. they explained about going straight into psych would not be as profitable for me and some organizations require the nurse to do a least one year med surg. Is that true? and Why?
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  2. 57 Comments

  3. by   felixfelix
    My Psych instructor said the same thing, but he went straight in psych nursing and never looked back. I intend to do the same.

    Quote from PurifiedH2O
    I want to go into psychiatry as a nurse but my coworkers a re telling me to go into medsurg for one year before going into psych. they explained about going straight into psych would not be as profitable for me and some organizations require the nurse to do a least one year med surg. Is that true? and Why?
  4. by   NurseyBaby'05
    I think you need the reenforcement of your medical skills before going into psych full time. If you get to psych and find that it's not a good fit, you will not get the same intensive orientation when you transfer out that a new grad nurse would on a medical floor. It would be a much shorter time before you're expected to hit the ground running. So much is learned your first year. Nursing school doesn't even begin to scratch the surface.

    Also, don't kid yourself. You will have plenty of patients to put your psych skills to good use on if you work med-surg. Just because someone has a psych history, does not mean that he/she is free of other medical problems. I can't begin to count the number of patients with a psych issues that I have treated on various "regular" floors.
    Last edit by NurseyBaby'05 on Sep 20, '07
  5. by   elkpark
    There are a number of older threads on this board that discuss the various points of view on this question at great length. You can find them by using the "search" function in the upper R hand corner of the screen, or scrolling through the Psychiatric Nursing specialty forum. A case can be made for either position.
  6. by   rn4ever?
    [FONT=Arial Narrow]I went to Psychiatric/Behavioral Health Nursing after finishing Nursing school and I don't regret that decision. What's the point of going in a med-surg floor for only one year then entering Psychiatric Nursing for the rest of your life afterwards? Just like any other skill, you'll lose it if you don't constantly practice it. Follow your heart's desire---not someone else's and you will be happy.

    Quote from PurifiedH2O
    I want to go into psychiatry as a nurse but my coworkers a re telling me to go into medsurg for one year before going into psych. they explained about going straight into psych would not be as profitable for me and some organizations require the nurse to do a least one year med surg. Is that true? and Why?
  7. by   karynfrances
    It'll be a help to all the psych nurses who didn't do med/surg they'll be able to say that you'll be able to do a procedure better that them(means less work for them) or am I being too cynical?
    I went into psych nursing after only a couple of months med/surg nursing and haven't looked back.
  8. by   <3Nursing07
    I just graduated in May and I went straight into psych nursing and I love it. I was talking to my boss last week and she told me that some people recommend you to go into med-surg before you go into psych, but she also said that if you know your a psych nurse and thats what you love then psych is the way to go. She started off with psych nursing and never looked back and she said that I'm meant to be a psych nurse and I made a good decision. I always hated adult med-surg, I love pediatric though so if I ever go to med-surg I'll go for peds but just thinking of adult is gives me chills. I'm not going to lie though, your skills are going to suffer thats why I plan to go to children's unit eventually to keep up with my skills.
  9. by   karynfrances
    I don't really agree that your skills that you have learnt will suffer, sure if you plonked me in the middle of a med/surg unit I would flounder for a while and would be considered slow by the regular staff, but if we get a patient on our unit who has med/surg issues as well as psych problems I can still nurse this person holistically.
    What I'm trying to say is that just because one does psych nursing it doesn't mean that you throw all your other skills out the window, they can be just as necessary in a psych unit.
  10. by   Shenanigans
    I've been warned by variours nurses, and lecturerers, that going straight into psych, will mean you're stuck there as most might not want to hire you into a general wards later on down the track as they migth not think you have the skill base.

    I really love MH and I want to go straight into it, but I'm not that confident with my other nursey skills so might do a year pior - plus, my parents really aren't keen on me having a MH career, so a few more years might give me time to convince them I'm not going to get shanked in the temple.
  11. by   RN BSN 2009
    Find a big box hospital to work for, work most days on psych and then work 1-2 days m/s or another medical speciality

    good luck
  12. by   RN1263
    Quote from PurifiedH2O
    they explained about going straight into psych would not be as profitable for me
    As far as wages.....private psych hospitals don't pay as well as a psych unit at a regular hospital. As a new grad there is a $3 dollar per hour difference between the two (in my area).
    At a regular hospital as a psych rn you get the same pay as an rn who works on med/surg.
  13. by   CharlieRN
    On a psych unit the nurse is often the person watching and managing the patient's physical health. There is a whole team of folks focused on the psychosocial aspects of the case. You may be the only one who is aware the patient's low grade fever and chronic cough. If you miss its significance, it gets missed.
  14. by   Thunderwolf
    Becoming a "well rounded" nurse is the key.....

    ...be it a psych nurse who is ALSO competent enough in assessing and intervening upon non psych health issues (diabetes, HTN, asthma, wound ulcers, etc)

    as well as....

    a non psych nurse who is ALSO competent enough in assessing and intervening upon psych health issues (depression, anxiety, stress, psychosis, personality disorders, etc)

    Rarely, does a patient come in with just ONE presenting health problem/issue...usually there is more than one...with each issue significantly impacting the other.

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