Why is it so hard for psyc nurses to tranfer to another unit.

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    Why is it so hard for psyc nurses to transfer to another department such as ER, ICU & Med/Surg etc. I hear a lot of psyc nurses say they want to transfer to another department but they always say psyc nurses are not experience enough.
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    Unfortuantely, it is just that. There is not a lot of experience in psych. Let me rephrase, there is tons of experience, just not in acute medical emergency. Ive been in psych a year, it's my 1st job. I would go to med-surg or any of department and aside from understanding orders, delegation, time management, I would be like a brand new nurse. I know the basic wound care, vital signs, our nursing assessment is even different. I have only had to listen to breath sounds or heart sounds 3 times in a year. Never drew blood, started an IV, dealt with an IV, did anything other than basic wound care. It would be very difficult to go to any acute specialty with no other experience.
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    You get very little chance to practice clinical skills on a mental health unit. I did six IV starts in four years. An ER or ICU nurse might exceed that in one shift. There is a perception, sometimes justified, sometimes not, that mental health nurses are not proficient clinically and would require more training than some units are willing to provide. A fast-paced unit doesn't have time to stop and teach clinical skills.

    I went straight from nursing school onto a mental health unit, because that is where the job was. I wound up on unemployment five years later because the place I was working closed, and it took me six months to get hired anywhere else. Having been there myself, I recommend to anyone not to start out in mental health, because it closes a lot of doors.
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    because we dont do much hands on. in 4 years of my nursing career i started maybe 4 IVs (corrections, psych, nursing home). Now the market is so saturated with nurses that eployeers can easily find people with experience in the specialty they are hiring for. Sad but true. I have to say it is not impossible ( one friend just got hired in the ER from psych, and another one also in the ER from corrections) so don't give up.


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