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Anyone successful in switching from psych to med/surg?

Guest321574 Guest321574 (Member)

Good day all! I've been working in psych for a little over two years now...and still feeling the urge to get some med/surg experience under my belt. I've tried a couple of LTC, but left shortly after always due to feeling like the conditions are unsafe. What I'd really like is to find a hospital that is willing to take a chance, and give me a month or so to orient on a med/surg floor.

Just wondering if anyone has recently been able to make this kind of switch, and any practical tips on how to do so? Or what worked for you? I'm working on BSN, have ACLS, but these haven't helped, and relocation isn't really an option.

My hospital isn't really hiring much at all these days, but if anyone has tips on how to discreetly approach managers where I work I'd be interested in hearing about that too, I'm not to keen on my current manager knowing that I want to switch right now (unit politics, etc).

Thanks in advance!

xenogenetic

Specializes in Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Nursing.

God bless you, why ever would you want to do such a horrific thing. :-)

Your best shot would be to somehow convince your workplace's current nurse manager in charge of the M/S unit to orient you in hopes of possibly doing overtime on that unit. Be persistent and nice. :-)

One thing you might want to be fully aware of and research is the possibility that you might not be able to come back to your old position. The unit you are leaving will most likely have to fill your hours by hiring someone else.

:) Thanks! To be honest I am getting burnt out with psych. Tired of dealing with "behaviors," tired of the threat of physical violence (almost got punched in the face by a huge man the other day), and I hate that I have a very limited knowledge of medical stuff. I started in it straight out of school (due to a lack of other options) and it was okay at first, but I feel the call to do something else. Med/surg definitely wouldn't be my final stop in nursing, but I recognize its my best shot at getting to any other specialties.

Do you (or anyone) think that offering to train on my own time would be an appropriate thing to offer? I kind of feel that is a silly thing to do, and possibly a liability issue for the hospital, but I'm (almost) desperate...

Simply Complicated

Specializes in Med/Surg, Neuro, ICU, travel RN, Psych.

Is your psych facility part of a larger hospital? I thought most hospitals had a transfer policy when it came from transferring units. I would check with your HR department. If you stay with the same hospital, internal employees are usually given preference.

I work with a girl who switched to M/S about 8 months ago. She had never done anything except psych for a few years. Same as you, she really just needed a break and wanted to get some medical experience. She says while it is hard, and totally different she enjoys it. She's learning a lot, and had no idea the amount of things she didn't know.

Good luck to you! I'm the opposite I'm burnt out on the medical side after 6 years of M/S and ICU. I love psych, haha

chevyv, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gero Psych, Ortho Rebab, LTC, Psych.

I've been a RN for just about 1.5 yrs and was lucky to land any job. It happens to be in the county Psych hospital. I have been thinking about the possiblilities of changing to med surg but am so scared that I won't be able to make it because I'm used to the other kind of busy that psych nursing is. I feel very limited doing what I do and feel opportunities would open up a bit more if I were to switch. Could I handle it? If not, I would be out of a job in a time where jobs are sooooo scrace. Decisions decisions :)

Hey chevyv, I understand what you are saying! I think at the very least you would be able to go back to psych if it didn't work out. I would probably stay on pool in psych, if I had the chance to try out med-surg.

Have you tried going for internship, the hospital that takes you might not pay you as a 2yr nurse but they will train you for at least 6wks.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

I went from psych (15 yrs) to corrections, then med-surg. It felt very intimidating to start med-surg late in life, but I lucked out and got a great orientation. I think I was also lucky that the hospital was hiring and I did have 20 yrs total nursing experience by then.

I don't know if that helps you, but the point is, it is doable to do med-surg after psych. Keep an eye on the local postings; hopefully a great opportunity comes up for you soon.

NurseNinja81

Specializes in Mental Health/Long Term Care/Rehab.

Im a recent grad and I started out in psych as well. I was having the same problem feeling that i wasnt really getting the experience I wanted and needed. I can deal w behaviors all day long, but was starting to feel like I wouldnt remember how to use any of my other skills. I approached my supervisor, and told her that I felt in order for me to be the best nurse for my patients AND the facility that it would be beneficial for me to have med/surg experience as well. When I approached it in a way that it would help them because I could float, they were very open to the idea, and now I am able to work both units. I think its only fair to yourself to get experience in as much as you can because as they say, if you dont use it, you lose it! :)

BTDT a couple of times with 2-3 years of psych between med-surg or LTC. No big deal. I've gotten a lot out of anywhere I worked. GO for it :)

hello, were you still working as a psych nurse? tell me what did you to be able to switch your field in a medical surgical.. we are on a same boat thank you

silhouettedreams

Specializes in Med surg, psych.

I'm not the original poster, but I recently made the switch from psych to med surg! I worked as a psych nurse for two years, I've been working in med surg for four months now. I applied for every possible med surg-ish job at the two hospitals in the area my husband and I planned on moving to. It took me about a month to start getting calls back. I did two interviews, and was offered both jobs. In my interviews I really focused on what skills I learned in psych that could be useful in med surg, and emphasized the fact that I kept myself up to date on med surg nursing by reading a med surg textbook and ECG textbook in my spare time. At the job I decided to take, I was given a ten day orientation period. That seemed crazy to me, but I was surprised how much I remembered from school. I'm constantly learning new things, and I ask a ton of questions. I really enjoy med surg, I'm glad that I made the switch. It's totally possible. Good luck!

I'm not the original poster, but I recently made the switch from psych to med surg! I worked as a psych nurse for two years, I've been working in med surg for four months now. I applied for every possible med surg-ish job at the two hospitals in the area my husband and I planned on moving to. It took me about a month to start getting calls back. I did two interviews, and was offered both jobs. In my interviews I really focused on what skills I learned in psych that could be useful in med surg, and emphasized the fact that I kept myself up to date on med surg nursing by reading a med surg textbook and ECG textbook in my spare time. At the job I decided to take, I was given a ten day orientation period. That seemed crazy to me, but I was surprised how much I remembered from school. I'm constantly learning new things, and I ask a ton of questions. I really enjoy med surg, I'm glad that I made the switch. It's totally possible. Good luck!

OMG how did you do it with a 10 day orientation? I would be so scared!!!

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