Will starting in psych put me at a disadvantage in the future?

  1. 1
    I'm in an accelerated BSN program, due to graduate in December. I'm very interested in psych nursing and have an MS in addictions counseling. Whenever I tell classmates/teachers/other RNs about my interest in pscyh, I get a very negative reaction. The reaction that concerns me the most is when folks tell me I should not get a job in psych right off the bat b/c I will lose my "basic nursing skills" and look less desireable to recruiters if I choose to change specialties down the road (I'm also interested in the ED). Any reaction to this? I've been told that getting my feet wet on a med/surg floor is the smartest idea as it will prepare me for whatever eventual direction I want to take my career, but this simply doesn't interest me. Advice needed! Will starting at psych put me at a disadvantage with future, more medicine-based nursing jobs? Thank you
    Joe V likes this.

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  2. 19 Comments...

  3. 0
    Each hospital is very different. The psych unit where I work.... all patients are medically cleared and the educator does nothing to help the nurses keep their skills up to date. Most have no idea how to start an IV, draw blood, suction a patient, hang an IV drip, etc. Nurses coming out of my psych unit don't get jobs on medical floors because they are more behind than a new grad in a lot of ways. I asked a nurse yesterday at work and he hasn't used a stethoscope in 22 years! Other psych units might be different. Others might have educators that do a great job at keeping the nurses up to date. Others might have patients that are not medically cleared so you get more of that type stuff.
  4. 2
    You need to look into this yourself and not take my word for it, but from my research Psych NP are the highest paid. Just sayin'.

    With your background and interest, it might be a great match. Do what you love!

    If psych is your love, DO IT! Don't burn daylight if your passion is psych.
    Ashleym9831 and NRSKarenRN like this.
  5. 0
    Oh I agree. A RN I work with just became a psych NP and she's working 20 hours a week doing outpatient med management only making $150k a year. No joke. Saw the contract.
  6. 0
    Quote from foreverLaur
    Oh I agree. A RN I work with just became a psych NP and she's working 20 hours a week doing outpatient med management only making $150k a year. No joke. Saw the contract.
    I only know one, and she worked her butt off. But she was well compensated. It's a highly specialized field. That's why you don't need to worry about med-surg!
  7. 1
    It totally depends on the type of psych nursing.
    I work in geriatrics and get plenty of med-surg action.
    I would recommend this as a possible compromise.
    mollyjam9888 likes this.
  8. 0
    What about a medical floor with lots of medical patients in withdrawal/suicide hold/altered mental status etc? I'm a float CNA doing quite a lot of 1on1 on a floor like that now. Do what you love. Or find what you love in what you do.
  9. 0
    My psych clinical instructor had a background in a trauma ICU. she said all her patients were in withdrawal or suicidal. she said she did psych nursing every single day in the TICU. If depression is your thing, you could work with patients with chronic illnesses (such as oncology).
  10. 0
    If you want to specialize in PSYCH you really dont need the traditional skills...psych nurses have their own skills.
    I would sh*t bricks if you put me on a pysch unit and I am incredibly skilled with IVs etc. But put me in a room with a schizo or a sudicide pt and I am bound to make things worse for them..lol If Psych is what interests you then go for it!
    You can always take refresher courses if you change your mind.
  11. 1
    I'm in psych currently and landed it when I passed my boards. Wouldn't want to be anyplace else, but I do hate that some of my skills I was just beginning to pick up in school have fallen by the wayside.

    I also know that if I were to switch to med surg, I would learn whatever I needed to make it!

    My de-escalation skills are pretty good and my 6th sense, even when I'm out, is tops. I can talk the talk with any if my pts and can say that everyday is different and if I go the NP route, I will stay in psych. Love it and have no regrets at all. Good luck!
    Meriwhen likes this.

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