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Addictions vs. Psych nursing

Addictions   (5,915 Views 10 Comments)
by mingez mingez (Member) Member

mingez specializes in Psych, Ortho, Stroke, and TBI.

6,132 Profile Views; 238 Posts

Hello all,

I'm transitioning over to my true love from acute rehab to my true love, psychiatric nursing. But recently I've been approached by some recruiters to to consider addictions nursing. At first, I blew it off, but after a bit of research and positive accounts, my interest has piqued.

So my question to any of you who have experience in both fields:

What are some of the differences, similarities, pro's and con's comparing the 2 areas. I know there's a lot of crossover between the 2, as addictions/CD nursing is within the psych realm of nursing...

I just wanted to get some opinions about what you think of each area.

Thanks!

(also posted in "psych nursing" forum)

Edited by Joe V
formatting for easier reading

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fawnsternurse has 24 years experience and specializes in psych, medical, drug rehab.

211 Posts; 11,966 Profile Views

Hello,

Personally I have worked both and enjoy both.

There was a time when I worked in Psychiatry and didn't really like addictions. But as a result of many factors I took a travel position in Addictions and saw that I really enjoyed it and had a good rapport with the patients.

Now personally I would rather work in addictions but because I have been a travel RN I work in whatever area that presents a travel /temp job.

I think there is a lot of crossover because many people who suffer from addictions are really self medicating for mental health issues, either diagnosed or undiagnosed.

So we are bound to see both problems in both realms.

Edited by Joe V
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21 Posts; 1,106 Profile Views

I have mainly worked with psych nursing and a little bit of addiction. I love the psych but not exactly crazy about the addiction nursing. You have to have A LOT of patients and be able to tolerate some very manipulative people with the addiction side. Its all about personal choice tho:)

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tom7044 has 30 years experience and specializes in Chemical Dependency, Corrections.

37 Posts; 3,027 Profile Views

I work in a free standing, 20 bed detoxification facility. We also do crisis stabilization for some patients that have mental health problems. the majority of our clients are acutely withdrawing form alcohol and/or opiates. We use a Valium protocol for the alcoholic clients and a Suboxone protocol for the opiate clients. In this detoxification unit you have to have very good medical/ physical assessment skills. Some RNs that have a psych nursing background only do not have these skills and need to develop them rather rapidly. Nurses that come from a medical surgical background do not always have the psych skills like managing a behavioral emergency or suicide risk assessments. The area that I see as the most deficient for many nurses is the lack of knowledge of personality disorders and their role in substance abuse and chemical dependency detoxification and treatment.So i encourage you, if you have not done so already, take an in-depth physical assessment class that offers hands on learning experiences and classes in personality disorders and suicide risk assessment. I have worked in most all specialty areas of nursing and this is the most challenging and rewarding of them for for me. I wish you the best of everything in your new position and keep on learning all of the time.

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mingez specializes in Psych, Ortho, Stroke, and TBI.

238 Posts; 6,132 Profile Views

Thanks for responding. So is it the manipulation you don't like? Because in my unit, there are some very manipulative people.

It's nice to run in to a nurse that loves psych as well.

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mingez specializes in Psych, Ortho, Stroke, and TBI.

238 Posts; 6,132 Profile Views

I work in a free standing, 20 bed detoxification facility. We also do crisis stabilization for some patients that have mental health problems. the majority of our clients are acutely withdrawing form alcohol and/or opiates. We use a Valium protocol for the alcoholic clients and a Suboxone protocol for the opiate clients. In this detoxification unit you have to have very good medical/ physical assessment skills. Some RNs that have a psych nursing background only do not have these skills and need to develop them rather rapidly. Nurses that come from a medical surgical background do not always have the psych skills like managing a behavioral emergency or suicide risk assessments. The area that I see as the most deficient for many nurses is the lack of knowledge of personality disorders and their role in substance abuse and chemical dependency detoxification and treatment.So i encourage you, if you have not done so already, take an in-depth physical assessment class that offers hands on learning experiences and classes in personality disorders and suicide risk assessment. I have worked in most all specialty areas of nursing and this is the most challenging and rewarding of them for for me. I wish you the best of everything in your new position and keep on learning all of the time.

Thanks for your response! It's nice to find your niche. I have to admit that having an interest in psych, but having worked in a medical area is what made me consider addictions nursing. The combination of the two is enticing. I ended up getting hired in an acute admissions unit at a state psych facility which was my #1 choice on my short list...so we'll see a little bit of that, but not to the extent that a CD unit would.

Thanks again!

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tom7044 has 30 years experience and specializes in Chemical Dependency, Corrections.

37 Posts; 3,027 Profile Views

You are most welcome anything I can share with you in the future please let me know.

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Miss Peggy has 2 years experience and specializes in Addiction Medicine, MI/CD.

2 Posts; 925 Profile Views

Hi, Tom

I work in a small (34 bed) all male MI/CD inpatient treatment facility, although only 3 beds are dedicated to detox. We use Librium for ETOH and suboxone for opiates. We are increasingly getting clients who have used bath salts, plant food and K2. There is no clear protocol for these new drugs, and yet we are becoming inundated with them. Any guidance you can offer?

Also, our current population is increasingly requesting their PRN anxiety meds. Ordinarily, we try to increase their awareness to take their meds prior to a full blown anxiety/panic attack and encourage being pro-active, but a few of the guys are simply med-seeking. My nurses seem to be handing out pills instead of doing a real assessment. How do you assess for anxieity? We take vitals and practice breathing techniques, but I'd be very interested if you had more to add.

Thanks!

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srwilkinson2002 has 4 years experience.

16 Posts; 1,626 Profile Views

I don't want to sound like I am only interested in money, but I have to ask. Is there a pay difference between the two?

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srwilkinson2002 has 4 years experience.

16 Posts; 1,626 Profile Views

Curious to know how it is going? I have been working acute care nursing for about 4 years now. I am a float so I work on just about every unit in the hospital except womans and children's units. I have found little satisfaction in my work, and have always had a soft spot in my heart for psych but have never excepted a pysch position.

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