Adolescent Psych Field?


  • Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, Psychology. Has 3 years experience.

I have been a cardic nurse for four months now since I graduated this past May. I love my job! Just recently though, I had an interesting patient who was high school aged and on my floor for an overdose (attempted suicide). She had a prolonged QT interval which is why she was on a cardiac floor.

This patient got me interested in the psych field (I do have a psych minor as well), but am wondering what sort of jobs are out there for RN's wanting to work with adolescents/psych/suicide attempts? Any volunteer work positions so I don't have to change from the floor I am on for a couple years?



14,633 Posts

Hi, I've been a child/adolescent psych CNS for many years. First, there is virtually no volunteering in psych settings because of confidentiality (more stringent than in med-surg settings, although the rest of the healthcare world is catching up with the HIPAA requirements) and safety concerns. Might you be able to get a prn job somewhere, though, where you could go through the orientation and work some occasional shifts to get a feel for it?

There are plenty of adolescent psychiatric units out there, although people are often unaware that there is one in their community unless they have had some personal experience with a family member needing hospitalization. Child and adolescent psych is a v. interesting and (can be) rewarding field, but it is also extremely frustrating and demanding -- be aware that (even) the vast majority of healthcare professionals who work in adult psych are unwilling to work with kids ...

I would definitely suggest that you participate in some continuing education offerings and find a way to get some practical, hands-on exposure to the specialty before you make a real career switch. This field is definitely not for everyone! (However, those of us who really enjoy it don't want to do anything else.)

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