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BC Nursing

Posted
by fiba fiba Member

Will picking to enroll in a psychiatric nursing program

close one's opportunities to work in

ER and hospital environments? such as VGH and UBC

is it better to get a BSN to become an RN instead. I thought about psychiatric nursing due to volunteer, work and life experiences with that field, but also find other areas of nursing interesting as well.

Nurse_Bo

Has 4 years experience.

Registered psychiatric nurses (RPN) work in hospitals, as well as community/residential facilities, and corrections/forensic. UBC and VGH are among many hospitals in the lower mainland that offer mental health services. Some related programs in the hospitals may include; psychiatric emergency, psychiatric intensive care unit, inpatient psychiatry, psychiatric assessment unit, eating disorder, child/adolescent psychiatry etc. You should ask yourself 'what exactly do you see yourself doing?' And 'what is your passion?' If you are interested in areas like ER, or medical/surgical then yes, a psychiatric nursing program would be very limiting. RPNs are recognized only in western provinces, Australia, U.K, New Zealand, and a few states. An RPN scope of practice is smaller compared to RN. With a BSN/RN you can work in psychiatry AND other areas of nursing, whereas RPN are generally a bit more restricted to mental health and the areas I listed above. If mental health is your passion, then go for it, it is an exciting field and I personally enjoy it. Even though it may seem very narrow, it truly is a growing field. If you feel like you want a more medical focus, or just more options and flexibility then a BSN may be more suitable, as you can still work in psychiatry or explore other nursing areas with your RN. I happen to have both a psychiatric nursing degree and a BSN. Your life skills and experience may be useful in a variety of areas of nursing, not just psychiatry.

Best of luck to you!

Fiona59

Has 18 years experience.

I've worked with RPNs in both geriatrics and women's health. I think it depends on the manager doing the hiring. I work in Alberta, BC a maybe different

Psych emergency looks fascinating and would like to know more about the psych assessment unit. Honestly I want to see myself work in psych ER and if I can't handle that, then maybe an outpatient setting or community health there is a lot to do.

In regards to programs, it's hard to say,

I know if I get into psych nursing I would be going in with my heart for personal reasons. With the RN I have seen the work of ER, acute care for the elderly, medical units, and one that dealt with cancer as well.

I do not really have an idea on what a med/surg unit entails, nor do I know a lot about critical care or ICU, or pediatric nursing.

All I know is health care is a service I appreciate, for the last little while I felt psych nursing would be a great fit, but having worked as a sitter in hospitals, RN is not a bad idea, I am still currently assessing which program I would get into. For now if I had to pick it would still be Psych nursing.

Edited by fiba

Registered psychiatric nurses (RPN) work in hospitals, as well as community/residential facilities, and corrections/forensic. UBC and VGH are among many hospitals in the lower mainland that offer mental health services. Some related programs in the hospitals may include; psychiatric emergency, psychiatric intensive care unit, inpatient psychiatry, psychiatric assessment unit, eating disorder,child/adolescent psychiatry etc. You should ask yourself 'what exactly do you see yourself doing?' And 'what is your passion?' If you are interested in areas like ER, or medical/surgical then yes, a psychiatric nursing program would be very limiting. RPNs are recognized only in western provinces, Australia, U.K, New Zealand, and a few states. An RPN scope of practice is smaller compared to RN. With a BSN/RN you can work in psychiatry AND other areas of nursing, whereas RPN are generally a bit more restricted to mental health and the areas I listed above. If mental health is your passion, then go for it, it is an exciting field and I personally enjoy it. Even though it may seem very narrow, it truly is a growing field. If you feel like you want a more medical focus, or just more options and flexibility then a BSN may be more suitable, as you can still work in psychiatry or explore other nursing areas with your RN. I happen to have both a psychiatric nursing degree and a BSN. Your life skills and experience may be useful in a variety of areas of nursing, not just psychiatry.

Best of luck to you!

Very insightful post, love it! the bold areas are where I would like to work. I did not know an RN can work in mental health settings, I thought only a registered psych nurse could do that. But yeah great post it answered my question about whether a psych nurse works in a hospital or only in institutions and what units they could be found in.

At least as of right now I think working at a hospital would be great. I know many that don't like it, but that's not me.

I've worked with RPNs in both geriatrics and women's health. I think it depends on the manager doing the hiring. I work in Alberta, BC a maybe different

perhaps, I am not familiar with Alberta's health care system, can't be super different I assume.

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

I have a friend who is an RPN. She really enjoys it but you are limited to certain units simply because you won't have the full depth of medical knowledge that an RN has. However, mental health is expanding and there are many opportunities in mental health. Depends what your goals are. My friend never wanted to work medicine or ICU so she's fine with the position she has on an eating disorders unit.

Silverdragon102, BSN

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 33 years experience.

I would also look at whether you plan on living in other provinces and that if you do Psychiatric nursing that you can practice. Some provinces do not accept RPN

I've worked with RPNs in both geriatrics and women's health. I think it depends on the manager doing the hiring. I work in Alberta, BC a maybe different

I thought you were from BC this entire time lol.

I have a friend who is an RPN. She really enjoys it but you are limited to certain units simply because you won't have the full depth of medical knowledge that an RN has. However, mental health is expanding and there are many opportunities in mental health. Depends what your goals are. My friend never wanted to work medicine or ICU so she's fine with the position she has on an eating disorders unit.

I see, that is also an interesting unit.

I would also look at whether you plan on living in other provinces and that if you do Psychiatric nursing that you can practice. Some provinces do not accept RPN

I would do my best to stay in BC, maybe I would go to Alberta as well.

Fiona59

Has 18 years experience.

RPNs are recognized as far to the east as Manitoba,if I remember what our psych instructor said.

Nurse_Bo

Has 4 years experience.

RPN (registered psychiatric nurse) is recognized in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Australia, U.K, New Zealand, and a couple states in the U.S. There may be further qualifications that you may need to consider if you were to work as an RPN outside of BC and Alberta.

It is true that with the nature and environment where many RPNs work they have less exposure and knowledge in medical. I do have RPN colleagues who work in areas that has broadened their medical knowledge and exposed them to a bit more medically focused tasks (ECT on post anesthetic care unit; psychiatric emergency; geriatric/neuro-psych; transitional care; clinic; adult eating disorder). Some of my colleagues had no desire in medical acute care or interest in maintaining skills in that area and just passionately enjoyed mental health, so they went straight into the psychiatric nursing program without hesitation. Like I mentioned before psych nursing is limiting, especially if you want to explore a wide variety of fields within nursing. But mental health is still an exciting field that I personally love, there are many things you could do within that area ( I listing multiple examples in my posts). I took a look at what you highlighted from my first response. General ER would not be within an RPN scope, you would most likely need your RN or (for some employers) LPN.

Nurse_Bo

Has 4 years experience.

I just wanted to clarify, general inpatient psych patients can have serious medical problems and RPNs can have the knowledge and skills to assess and treat some of these problems. And codes do happen on psych units. But the exposure to the medical acuity is less compared to an RN on the med/surg unit.

renzlao, MSN, APRN

Specializes in MS, Emergency. Has 16 years experience.

I work in a downtown ER in Vancouver. We do have RPNs for our psych unit but because we only have 5-8 beds in total, there is not really a lot of opportunities for them. RNs however is a different story, ER RNs are in demand in the lower mainland, one hospital I know that I pick up shifts once in a while have more than 10 full time lines available. This is despite the hospital training RNs every year for specialty courses.

I work in a downtown ER in Vancouver. We do have RPNs for our psych unit but because we only have 5-8 beds in total, there is not really a lot of opportunities for them. RNs however is a different story, ER RNs are in demand in the lower mainland, one hospital I know that I pick up shifts once in a while have more than 10 full time lines available. This is despite the hospital training RNs every year for specialty courses.

ER in Vancouver, so interestingl!!