Currently psychiatric rn, want to be more...

  1. I've been working a little over a year now. Originally I started in ICU and was so miserable that after only 2 months I requested a move to the ER. I worked in the ER for 10 months and while I didn't love it, I enjoyed it most days. The stress finally got to me and I went per diem, working once a week in the ER. A tense relationship with my direct supervisor eventually led me to leave that position for a fulltime psych position in another ER closer to home. I started working in psych 6 months after graduating, concurrently with my ER time so by now I have a year of critical care/ER background and a year of acute care psychiatric care.

    I really enjoy my job, I like going to work and I enjoy dealing with psych patients. My problem is that I've noted other nurses, namely those in medical nursing, don't feel psych nurses are "real" nurses, despite the fact that they admit they wouldn't want to deal with the patients I treat.

    I need to find a supplement to my finances and I feel almost guilty about leaving the medical side of nursing, but I also know that I was under an extreme amount of stress in ICU/ER and wouldn't want to do that again. I don't think I'd like a regular floor due to the fact that I disliked ICU for the "floor work" that I had to do there.

    I was considering an OR position as a per diem or part time position. I don't want to give up the hard earned skills I picked up in ER, but I am looking for a less stressful environment than the ER.

    I'm looking for opinions from more experienced nurses.
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    About New2ER

    Joined: May '06; Posts: 83; Likes: 29

    6 Comments

  3. by   zenman
    Not a real nurse????

    As a psych nurse, you could walk into any kind of unit and serve a purpose, which might be different for other nurses. I've seen ICU nurses for example, come unglued on a med surg unit.

    As a psych nurse, you can keep your hands in your pockets and help people. No high tech equipment needed for you....super nurse.

    Due to the condition of the world today do you not think that mental health is not a really big concern?

    There's lot's more but this should make you feel better about being a psych nurse. Whoops, I helped out without even being in the same state as you, lol!
  4. by   nursemike
    As much as I disapprove of people who aren't nurses calling themselves nurses, I find it equally odious to discount the credentials of one who is a nurse. There are all sorts of nurses.

    I have hesitated to pursue my own interest in psych nursing, because I'm really new and want to develop my med/surg skills. I know...nursing instructors and experienced nurses consistently say things like starting IVs and dropping NGs aren't the important part of nursing. I still felt it would be good to be able to do these things, and I didn't think I'd get a lot of practice in psych. My intuition is that if I get comfortable with some of these mechanical tasks, even if I later get rusty because I'm doing something else, it will be easier to rediscover them if I need to.
    Plus, working in neuro/neurosurg has a fair little bit of psych in it, too. Also some elements of LTC.
  5. by   Almabella
    Quote from New2ER
    I've been working a little over a year now. Originally I started in ICU and was so miserable that after only 2 months I requested a move to the ER. I worked in the ER for 10 months and while I didn't love it, I enjoyed it most days. The stress finally got to me and I went per diem, working once a week in the ER. A tense relationship with my direct supervisor eventually led me to leave that position for a fulltime psych position in another ER closer to home. I started working in psych 6 months after graduating, concurrently with my ER time so by now I have a year of critical care/ER background and a year of acute care psychiatric care.

    I really enjoy my job, I like going to work and I enjoy dealing with psych patients. My problem is that I've noted other nurses, namely those in medical nursing, don't feel psych nurses are "real" nurses, despite the fact that they admit they wouldn't want to deal with the patients I treat.

    I need to find a supplement to my finances and I feel almost guilty about leaving the medical side of nursing, but I also know that I was under an extreme amount of stress in ICU/ER and wouldn't want to do that again. I don't think I'd like a regular floor due to the fact that I disliked ICU for the "floor work" that I had to do there.

    I was considering an OR position as a per diem or part time position. I don't want to give up the hard earned skills I picked up in ER, but I am looking for a less stressful environment than the ER.

    I'm looking for opinions from more experienced nurses.
    I completely understand where you're coming from! As a nurse who went into community health/PHN after 4 miserable months in M/S, I also feel I'm losing the "technical" skills. On one hand, I'm proud of my ability to quickly assess over the phone, my case management experience, all of the pt ed I've done, etc etc...

    But now that I'm searching for a more flexible, hospital job (in an area of the country where there's apparently no shortage!) I find myself wishing I would have stuck it out in M/S. Then at least there would be more options available to me. My feeling is that many NM don't even want to consider me, when they could hire a new grad and put as much time/effort into training them, and pay them less than a nurse with experience. So, at least you do have the ED experience to fall back on.

    Maybe per diem work in the OR wouldn't be a bad idea, so you can continue to use your more technical skills. That would give you a chance to try it out and decide if you'd like to move into a f/t position.

    Good luck in your decision!
  6. by   BBFRN
    Don't devalue your expertise. I for one am grateful for Psych nurses. I know I couldn't do your job! I have heard Psych nurses say that other nurses don't think they are real nurses, but you know what? In 11 years of nursing, I have never heard this said about Psych nurses. Be proud of what you do- you are working in a specialty that not everyone can handle. If you like your job, and have found your niche, I say stay put and enjoy the lower stress level.
  7. by   buddiage
    I just got out of a psychiatric facility clinical rotation for three weeks (I am a nursing student). Let me tell you, that is a job that I could never do, and I told my husband that I had the upmost respect for psych nurses. I had no idea, and I appreciate what they do.

    Not a "real" nurse? Please...please... psych nurses have grit and guts. Watching what they did made ME feel inadequate.
  8. by   Terp/RN
    I for one will tell you that Psych. nurses are real nurses...and very much respected. I worked in psychiatric nursing for 8 years. The one benefit my experience as a psych nurse has given me is a deeper patience and understanding when dealing with difficult patients that a lot of my coworkers actually envy. Never ever feel down on yourself for choosing this career field. People require nursing care for their mental problems and their physical problems. Also, when I was in the military I found out that the psych nurse is one of the most respected nurses in the group. During wartime or wartime training someone (health care providers...officers and enlisted, and soldiers) will either suffer the effects of stress, anxiety, or depression, and maybe they just need someone who can listen and help them work through their problems.
    On a side note, the only reason I got out of psych. was I started suffering from burn out (which can happen in any clinical setting), and I needed a change.

    If you want to feel better look into taking some classes to help you enhance your physical assessment skills (even in psych, this is important). With your ER background and psych together, you will be a valuable commodity. Early on when I started working in psych, I made it a point to attend as many inservices on the med-surg units as I could. Also, I took ACLS,...which helped because I was the only ACLS certified nurse on my shift on the floor where I worked. I found out they needed at least 1 ACLS certified nurse per shift, so they reimbursed me for my class. It also came in handy too, because as you know codes do occur on psych. floors too.
    Last edit by Terp/RN on Mar 27, '07

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