Why are we as Psych nurses seen as bottom of the barrel? - page 2

by dreamingofbeing

8,596 Views | 41 Comments

I'm just wondering because every time I tell someone that I quit my IVR job to go to children's psych they act appalled. I know it's different but I'm still a nurse. Even my family acts appalled.... Read More


  1. 3
    "Only those who have tasted the dregs of bitterness will stand out among others."

    A neat quote. I don't know the Author.
    hanasea, Lucky724, and Jules A like this.
  2. 9
    I wouldn't take it personally because every speciality is seen as the bottom of the barrel by someone. If they're not putting down psych, they're putting down LTC...or L&D...or school nursing...or administrative RNs...and so on.

    We are doing a lot for psych patients. We may not be inserting tubes, assisting in surgeries, delivering babies, monitoring heart rhythms, or trying to bring people back from the brink of death (ok, we are actually doing that last one a lot, especially with the suicidal patients). But we are taking care of some pretty significant patient needs because a patient is not just a body, but a mind as well. And not only are we taking care of that mind, we find ourselves taking care of that body as well because patients don't check their medical issues at the door when they are admitted

    Also, if YOU are happy with your job, then that's all that matters. Who cares what anyone else thinks?
    GooeyRN, Kooky Korky, RoseRN10, and 6 others like this.
  3. 1
    I've gotten a lot of flack about being a psych RN, from family, neighbors, hair stylist, gym instructor etc. People in general are very frightened by the mentally ill. It is by far "another world" for sure, and you don't really know about it, until you work in the field. I personally love being a psych RN. It is harder to find a job though, in this field, especially in CA. I will tell you I have had numerous RN's tell me they are in Psych because they don't want to deal with "Poop or blood". I have also met many RN's that work in Psych because they can't hang on the med/surg floor any longer, and they tell me is "easy" in psych for them, they are usually the bottom of the barrel psych RN's also, it really bothers me that you have to deal with the bottom of the barrel RNs many times. When I worked at a psych hospital in another state, all of the RNs I worked with had been on "Contract" d/t drug abuse and could not get a job anywhere else, so they wound up at this psych hospital, that would hire just about anyone with a RN behind their name. Sad, but a true story.
    carolmaccas66 likes this.
  4. 7
    Im as proud as I can be of being a psych nurse.. This idea of "well its not really nursing" is ********. Id like to see a general nurse deal with people on an acute admission unit WITHOUT a "chemical straightjacket". Or help someone deal with awful audio hallucinations WITHOUT drugs....
    Psych Nurses ROCK....... the rest are just jealous !!
    eklecticsol, hanasea, GooeyRN, and 4 others like this.
  5. 6
    I'm a nursing student that is going to school specifically to become a Psychiatric Nurse. When asked during the first week of school what specialty we were interested in, I said "Psychiatric/Mental Health" and got gasps from a lot of classmates. I don't know that they necessarily look down on the profession but there are a lot that said that would never do it themselves.

    I think that a lot of people don't understand or trust things that they can't see and that they haven't experienced. Look at the stigma surrounding depression even though it is so prevalent in our society. If you think those people are whiners that lack motivation and just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, then it makes sense that you would look down on the people that treat/"coddle" them.

    Luckily we know better, and slowly society has been waking up to the importance of mental health. It's not where it should be, but it's better. It wasn't long ago that no one had ever heard of PTSD, now there are whole military training courses dedicated to it for a population that, historically, was never supposed to show emotion or weakness.

    Maybe mental health will never get the recognition that it deserves, but you know when you've made an impact on someone's life.
  6. 1
    I'm ashameed to admit I actually was one of those nurses who used to think "oh, so you're depressed, SNAP OUT OF IT!! you are just weak, and want to be taken care of"...........UNTIL.........I took a job on a psych unit as Supervisor (due to my prior adm. exp.) I started working the floors on all units....boy, was I in for a surprise !!! I did a complete turn around in my thinking and have been happily working psych now for 10 years !!!!!!!!!
    I love it and would never go back..........
    SO, IGNORANCE IS 99% of the lack of respect that we get.....we work hard, harder than I ever did on a med/surg floor..........it is emotionally draining.......
    Lucky724 likes this.
  7. 0
    Where I work there are both psychiatric and medical nurses employed. I have served in both classifications. One thing that does not help the image of the psychiatric nurses is that many have developed a complete aversion - which they openly state - to doing anything even remotely considered to be medically related (such as running an EKG).

    Some psych nurses are the victims of their own actions in making themselves less accepted by their more medically-oriented colleagues.
  8. 3
    Psych freaks a lot of people out. Even nurses, who should know better. They don't want any part of it because they either, a) don't have a clue how to manage a patient population that scares them, or, b) think psych issues are bogus and that patients are faking or exaggerating, or, c) a combination of the two.

    That's okay. Less competition for psych nurses.

    Hold your head up, and remember that you are doing something important.
    hanasea, 1uvakindmom, and carolmaccas66 like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from Orca
    Where I work there are both psychiatric and medical nurses employed. I have served in both classifications. One thing that does not help the image of the psychiatric nurses is that many have developed a complete aversion - which they openly state - to doing anything even remotely considered to be medically related (such as running an EKG).

    Some psych nurses are the victims of their own actions in making themselves less accepted by their more medically-oriented colleagues.
    I'm a BSN RN and I'm studying for my Graduate Diploma in Psych Nursing. I was the only one on two large, busy psych floors the other night who could do an ECG (EKG) - none of the RMHN's could do it, so it's good to have the general nursing experience. Just letting students know do your BSN first, then psych - it will stand u in good stead.
  10. 0
    anyone can learn to give a shot, hit a vein, follow the diagram to do an ECG, etc. etc...............but........not anyone can calm a schizophrenic, talk to a labile pt., LISTEN to a heartbreaking story from a 13 yr. old of how her father molested her, etc. etc. etc............
    We are unique...............I agree with the post.......good thing, we have less competition for our jobs !!!!!!!!!!!


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