I just read your post, and it was a wonderful "trip back" for me in time, thirty years ago when as a new grad I was confronted with the same questions. I never could "narrow it all down" though and it was a period of time when Nursing Specialties were not yet as well defined as they are today. That is simply because the hospital settings were also not as specialized....i.e., having separate and distinct units for certain diseases, illnesses, medical and surgical problems. As a result, over the years, I've literally "done it all" in terms of bedside Nursing.
Let me say this: I'm now 57 years old, with 30 years in Nursing "under my belt" (now expanded with middle-age spread), and am in a position to share "wise" and wonderful thoughts with a New Grad such as yourself. :0)
First, do your best to quiet the "swirling confusion" running rampant, rent-free, in your head. You are young, have many years ahead yet, and now is the time to be very smart about your initial "choices." And it sounds like you are headed in the right direction in that respect.
I would say to you that the greatest gift you can give to yourself (in ALL things in your life, not just your career), is to LISTEN TO YOUR HEART. You obviously are "driven" by a passion for this field, Psychiatric Nursing. Also "listen" to your "gut" - that place inside of us that gives us "visceral" confirmation that something is true. When your heart and gut "line up" in respect to your desires first, then your next "choices" for yourself become the footwork around that. End of confusion!!
The passion and desire you feel for this field is your "gifts, talents and potential - coming alive - so to speak." Don't deny yourself the expression of your own special gifts to this field. Even if, after you enter it, you find it is "not what I expected", there are enough "sub-specialties" within this discipline, that you will eventually "find your nitch."
One other thing........as a New Grad, it is highly recommended that you obtain a minimum of one year of clinical experience in a hospital setting (perhaps on a Med-Surg unit) to reinforce and enhance your beginning skills, before launching into your planned career in Psych Nursing. This will also provide you with a time period to make your plans in that direction.
There is much more I could and would like to say to you, but it is probably too "lengthy" for this kind of forum. If you would like, you can e-mail me privately at: email@example.com
since I see our "e-mail" capabilities on this site are temporarily caput. :0)
Best of luck to you, and I enjoyed sharing.
Bonnie Creighton,RN, MHCA
Mental Health Consumer Advocate