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Excited for psych clinical!!

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by decembergrad2011 decembergrad2011 (New Member) New Member Platinum*

decembergrad2011 has 5 years experience and works as a Nurse.

1 Article; 10,626 Visitors; 462 Posts

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HyperSaurus, RN has 5 years experience.

11,121 Visitors; 756 Posts

I have Psych and Community this semester. To be honest, I'm not thrilled. I think that is mainly because I really don't know what to expect and I know that therapeutic communication is not a strong skill for me. We will be doing our psych and community clinics concurrently. For community, we are assigned a home health client and then self schedule the rest of our community hours to reach 120 hours.

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SarahMaria has 15 years experience and works as a Forensic Nurse.

4,326 Visitors; 253 Posts

Did you start out in psych or did you have experience somewhere else first? And would you recommend a new grad start out in psych?

Just curious to know the opinion from someone who is in mental health.

If you have a desire to work with the mentally ill, then go for it. Psychiatric patients need nurses who are caring and passionate about their work. I started on OB, and have been on Psych for 8 years as a PCT. I plan to work as a mental health legal advocate when I graduate.

We would love to have you!

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ImThatGuy works as a Police Officer.

16,271 Visitors; 2,139 Posts

I did not say communication is not important. Yes, you do learn a lot about the patient, I just don't think communication alone is enough. We do not do anything else besides talking to our patients. We are not allowed to take VS or do any assessments. I learn a lot in lecture, but no so much during clinicals.

So what you just had random, forced conversations? Yeah, I wouldn't enjoy that either.

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yai J, RN works as a Behavoral Health Nurse.

2,584 Visitors; 34 Posts

Did you start out in psych or did you have experience somewhere else first? And would you recommend a new grad start out in psych?

Just curious to know the opinion from someone who is in mental health.

I got my BSN 12-2008, and started my first job 5-2009. I love my work with adult psychiatric (behavioral) patients! I believe it is important to appreciate your gut feeling and follow your passion. My job is never routine and I look forward to meeting some very interesting and very vulnerable people. If you think you'd like it, you probably will!

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6,146 Visitors; 270 Posts

I'm really surprised your psych rotation isnt until your 5th semester! I just had my psych rotation last semester (my 2nd semester) and I really think it should be during first semester because it really helps with learning how to communicate. Like others have said there wasnt anything hands on, my experience was communicating with patients and going to group sessions with them. I personally am a hands on type person, so psych is not the area for me however I did find the experience very valuable and interesting. I loved actually witnessing people with some psychiatric illnesses because you can read about them in a text book a hundred times but I dont think you fully understand it until you see it. Plus the most rewarding part for me was witnessing a patient who during our first week there barely spoke a word, we all got to watch his personality emerge over the weeks, and by our last week there he turned to a classmate of mine and said "im really glad you guys are here." :nurse:

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streetbob66 works as a Psychiatric Nurse for 15 years.

742 Visitors; 17 Posts

Doing my psych rotation in school over 15 yrs ago made me decide to be a psych nurse and that is what I still do today. What you are allowed to do as a student just barely touches the surface of what you get to do as a nurse working on a psych unit. Find a nurse that is willing to spend time with you while you are there and take that chance to pick his or her mind (no pun intended) this is how you will get the best picture of what a psych nurse really does. I still find it a challenge and exciting job, so much so that I am almost done with my BSN after being a nurse for over 15 years and looking for a new postition and want to stay in psych. It can be a sad job but also very rewarding when you know that you made a difference in another person's life. I see many of the same patients over and over again as the nature of mental illness is a terrible cycle that is difficult to accept and break. Always be cautious as the behavior is always unpredictable but always remember the the patients no matter what the diagnosis are people that deserve to be treated with respect and a caring attitude. I always try to spend time with students to educate them about what a psych nurse does hoping to foster an interest in the field, too many nurse are afraid of the patients or don't treat them like "other patients". If you find it interesting I would encourage you to look into working in psych as there are not many that want to do it and even fewer that are good at it. Good luck and hope that you find your rotation to be a rewarding and exciting experience, I know that I did and after 15 years still do.

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streetbob66 works as a Psychiatric Nurse for 15 years.

742 Visitors; 17 Posts

Though I went right into psych and do not regret it I would encourage you to get one year med/surg experience first, I have worked a pediatric home health case that was very much medial and my psych experience gave me an edge on helping the family cope with a dying infant. Now that I am looking for a new postition the lack of med/surg experience may make it more difficult for me to find the postition that I want but I am still confident that I will find what I am looking for, always remember that the more exeperinece that you have in any area of nursing makes you more marketalbe.

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TerpGal02 has 6 years experience and works as a RN Community Mental Health.

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I have psych next semester too and I am SOOOOOOOO excited! Psych is the area of nursing I feel most drawn to as well. I can't wait!

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healthstar works as a To laugh out loud.

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So what you just had random, forced conversations? Yeah, I wouldn't enjoy that either.

Yes!!!

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932 Visitors; 34 Posts

i do my psych rotation the last 8 weeks of this coming semester, and I can't wait either. It is where i want to end up!:yeah:

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44 Likes; 2 Followers; 102,766 Visitors; 14,620 Posts

So what you just had random, forced conversations? Yeah, I wouldn't enjoy that either.

I wouldn't enjoy that, either. However, students are not in psych clinical to have "random, forced conversations" -- you're there to learn about psychiatric illnesses, common, related problems experienced by individuals with those illnesses (there are lots of social issues connected with psychiatric illness), the nursing role and interventions in psychiatric settings (inc. milieu management, safety concerns, crisis intervention, leading groups, etc.), medications and other treatments used in psychiatric treatments, and to practice and develop your empathy and therapeutic communication skills which you will need throughout your career in any of nursing in which you choose to work.

As someone who has been a psych nurse for years and has taught psych nursing in ADN and BSN programs, I firmly believe that students get out of psych clinical exactly as much or as little as they choose to. If someone goes into it expecting it to be a waste of time and expecting to not learn anything, s/he probably isn't going to learn anything. If students recognize it for the significant learning opportunity that it can be and take full advantage of that, they can learn a great deal that they can apply in every area of their life, personal as well as professional.

I have struggled, as an instructor, with facilities not allowing students to do "hands-on" nursing care in psych settings (although, in the places I've done clinicals, students were certainly welcome to assist with VS :)). Those limitations are established by the clinical facilities, not the nursing programs. On the other hand, you get plenty of opportunities as a nursing student to give pills, do physical assessments, etc., in other clinical settings. Psych is pretty much the only rotation where you have the opportunity to (and, indeed, are expected to) spend extended lengths of time interacting with clients, and therapeutic communication is the nursing skill (and it very much is a skill) you are focusing on in that rotation. If your interaction in psych clinical is "random ... converation," you're wasting your clinical time (and a good psych instructor will get after you for that :)) -- every interaction/conversation you have with a client in psych clinical should have a goal/purpose (even if that goal is only to improve your skills, rather than provide any particular benefit to the client -- however, most psych clients are v. appreciative of the extra attention they get when students are on a unit; that, in itself, can be considered a benefit) and a plan, same as any other nursing intervention in any other clinical setting.

I encourage all students to keep an open mind about your psychiatric rotation. I've frequently had the experience (as an instructor) that the students who sought me out in advance to tell me how interested they were in psych and how much they were looking forward to the rotation ended up not liking it at all, and the students who said they were dreading the rotation and knew they weren't going to like it often ended up being the students who most enjoyed it. There is a lot of valuable stuff to be learned, if you just remain open to doing so. Best wishes!

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~Mi Vida Loca~RN has 6 years experience and works as a Emergency Room Nurse.

1 Like; 30,799 Visitors; 5,259 Posts

I wouldn't enjoy that, either. However, students are not in psych clinical to have "random, forced conversations" -- you're there to learn about psychiatric illnesses, common, related problems experienced by individuals with those illnesses (there are lots of social issues connected with psychiatric illness), the nursing role and interventions in psychiatric settings (inc. milieu management, safety concerns, crisis intervention, leading groups, etc.), medications and other treatments used in psychiatric treatments, and to practice and develop your empathy and therapeutic communication skills which you will need throughout your career in any of nursing in which you choose to work.

As someone who has been a psych nurse for years and has taught psych nursing in ADN and BSN programs, I firmly believe that students get out of psych clinical exactly as much or as little as they choose to. If someone goes into it expecting it to be a waste of time and expecting to not learn anything, s/he probably isn't going to learn anything. If students recognize it for the significant learning opportunity that it can be and take full advantage of that, they can learn a great deal that they can apply in every area of their life, personal as well as professional.

I have struggled, as an instructor, with facilities not allowing students to do "hands-on" nursing care in psych settings (although, in the places I've done clinicals, students were certainly welcome to assist with VS :)). Those limitations are established by the clinical facilities, not the nursing programs. On the other hand, you get plenty of opportunities as a nursing student to give pills, do physical assessments, etc., in other clinical settings. Psych is pretty much the only rotation where you have the opportunity to (and, indeed, are expected to) spend extended lengths of time interacting with clients, and therapeutic communication is the nursing skill (and it very much is a skill) you are focusing on in that rotation. If your interaction in psych clinical is "random ... converation," you're wasting your clinical time (and a good psych instructor will get after you for that :)) -- every interaction/conversation you have with a client in psych clinical should have a goal/purpose (even if that goal is only to improve your skills, rather than provide any particular benefit to the client -- however, most psych clients are v. appreciative of the extra attention they get when students are on a unit; that, in itself, can be considered a benefit) and a plan, same as any other nursing intervention in any other clinical setting.

I encourage all students to keep an open mind about your psychiatric rotation. I've frequently had the experience (as an instructor) that the students who sought me out in advance to tell me how interested they were in psych and how much they were looking forward to the rotation ended up not liking it at all, and the students who said they were dreading the rotation and knew they weren't going to like it often ended up being the students who most enjoyed it. There is a lot of valuable stuff to be learned, if you just remain open to doing so. Best wishes!

The bolded part sums it all up!

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