Do I need psych experience? PMHNP

Posted
by mtg0884 mtg0884 Member

So after shadowing and evaluating my interested, I have applied into a PMHNP school. I loved psych in my undergrad and attempted to get a job in psych upon graduation but was talked out of it by HR who said I would loose clinical skills I just learned and said another unit would be better to start with.

Currently, I'm a male and work in pediatrics. I love our psych patients, not because it's pediatrics but I love the complexity of psych issues. I am a very understanding person, I consider myself to have a lot of patience and truly enjoy helping those with psych issues, wanting to learn more. I have shadowed for many hours psych NPs and enjoy their role a lot. I love pharmacology as well, if I wasn't a nurse, I'd prolly go for pharmacy.

***Should I switch onto the psych unit? Yes, it makes sense I completely agree but my position in Pediatrics is ideal for school and psych will not match it. I only work 9 days a month, its full time pay, full benefits, my managers are extremely accomadating, etc. It will allow me to work fulltime when in school, something I need financially wise that the psych unit will not even come close to matching. I would have to go back to 3-4 shifts a week rotating weekly, etc. and would have to drop to part time most likely, something I cant afford as they will not allow me to dictate my schedule like peds allows.

All night long at work I read psych NP books and research to learn as much as I can.

Opinions?

Jules A

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. 8,863 Posts

Although I'm sure there are some rare exceptions in my experience acute inpatient psychiatric nursing experience is crucial to being able to identify and correctly address the subtleties of both diagnosing and prescribing. I have worked in pediatric and adolescent psych for many years and love it but it is not the same as adult psychiatry. Child psych is much more behavioral and trauma driven as compared to adults where you will see more psychosis, bipolar, addictions and personality disorders. Could you do a PRN gig on an acute inpatient psych unit?

cfinesse19

cfinesse19

22 Posts

I worked inpatient psych for 2.5 yrs before completing my FNP. I absolutely LOVED psych during my undergrad. It was sooo interesting and I loved the psych rotation... HOWEVER, working psych is a totally different ball game than reading about it! After about a year I was extremely burned out and drained! Psych patients can be very difficult and even scary. I had initially wanted to do a PMHNP program, but another NP encouraged me to go for FNP due to the flexibility. THANK GOD I DID! I definitely still have a soft spot in my heart for psych patients and underserved patients in general. But I'm glad I didn't limit myself to just psych. As an FNP I still get job offers to work as a psych NP due to my RN experience in psych but psych became so draining over the years. I would definitely recommend working in psych before choosing to go into a career where you will be limited to something that you have no experience in. You might start working in psych and absolutely LOVE IT! then you know you are making the right decision. However you may have the experience I had and decide to go another route. GOOD LUCK!!!!

Anonymous1257

Anonymous1257

145 Posts

I am currently enrolled in a PMHNP program and work at a residential pediatric psych facility. The roles of the PMHNP and the psych RN are vastly different and while the experience in the psych world would be beneficial, if you are making full-time pay and benefits and enjoy your job all while only working 9 days a month, I'd say stick with that. The experience and skills that you need to function effectively as a PMHNP are going to come from your hefty load of clinical hours in your grad program, not from working as a psych RN.

PeacockMaiden

PeacockMaiden

Specializes in psychiatric nursing. Has 3 years experience. 159 Posts

I believe that working as a psych RN should be a prerequisite to working as a PMHNP. Even though the role of the psych RN and psych NP are different, you still gain valuable knowledge on this population that you aren't going to get from a text book.

I have worked inpatient psych for two years and just started a PMHNP program this semester. My school work is much easier because I understand the population, the diagnoses, and commonly used psych meds and doses.

puravidaLV

puravidaLV

396 Posts

If you haven't gotten your feet wet, then don't kick a puddle.

If you haven't done floor nursing on any level with psychiatric patients then why spend 30K to be a master in it?

I am 50% of my way done with my PMHNP degree, yet I have worked and am of a few that can do any area of psychiatric nursing. I am constantly pulled too many different areas of my facility to do CD, adult, adolescents, and pediatrics. Hell matter fact if you really think you want to do it, work per diem on a youth unit.

Psychcns

Psychcns

Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing. Has 30 years experience. 3 Articles; 859 Posts

By the time I got to my psych aprn I had worked as a psych RN and manager for years so I had a good background. Worked well for me. I have a colleague who never worked as a psych RN and is an exemplary psych provider. Psych aprn is a great field and there are many ways to get there. I think my background gave me more confidence than I would have had without it. As a psych RN you get to observe providers plan of care and ask questions. You also see a lot of different kinds of diagnoses without having to formulate the plan of care yourself and you can learn a lot this way. I say keep the job you have, get a psych prn job where you can study psych in action, and learn all you can in school. Best wishes.

TheOldGuy

TheOldGuy

148 Posts

Peds is great experience - get solid on medical peds then pick up some part time psych. See if you can find something doing crisis evals. As another person mentioned being a psych rn is a completely different role than being a psych NP. There is a huge need for pediatric and adolescent psych. Getting yourself grounded on the medical side will help when you're in an NP role. One of the things that makes me strong as an NP is my ER and ICU experience...along with being on the ER crisis eval team for involuntary holds. Doing evals and having to make on the spot decisions about whether to put someone on a hold or not is great preparation for the decision making you'll need to develop as an NP.

Kathy H

Kathy H

Specializes in Psychiatry. Has 20+ years experience. 88 Posts

Peds is great experience - get solid on medical peds then pick up some part time psych. See if you can find something doing crisis evals. As another person mentioned being a psych rn is a completely different role than being a psych NP. There is a huge need for pediatric and adolescent psych. Getting yourself grounded on the medical side will help when you're in an NP role. One of the things that makes me strong as an NP is my ER and ICU experience...along with being on the ER crisis eval team for involuntary holds. Doing evals and having to make on the spot decisions about whether to put someone on a hold or not is great preparation for the decision making you'll need to develop as an NP.

I agree, keep the job/schedule that works for you with school and get some per diem or part time work as a psych nurse. Crisis work is ideal but you would likely need the psych experience first since that type of work is very independent and you need to have the basics down at the minimum. I've been a psych RN for over 20 years and worked 8 years in a mobile crisis unit. Crisis is where I honed my psych skills hands down. Now I am the director of the crisis unit. I too am planning to enroll in a psych NP program- just looking for an online that is Family PMHNP due to the ANCC changes with the cert exam.

Kathy