Be prepared for a change of pace! You may find some questions related to labs or signs/symptoms, but most of the questions I received on my unit exams in psych were about therapeutic communication and safety, and applying my knowledge of signs and symptoms to know behavior and milieu management. I highly suggest you check out the Psychiatric Nursing forum under the Specialty tab; they have stickies with tons of information and very well informed nurses who can help with specific questions. I think there are also some recent posts here with a similar flavor, but I'll say what I think is important. I think the singlemost important thing to know is that psych patients are people too. Since the concept of de-institutionalization was implemented, more and more psych patients are in the community, trying to live their lives. According to NIMH, (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publi...ca/index.shtml
) 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 18 suffers from diagnosable mental illness in a given year, and that person could be your best friend, that homeless guy on the street or one of your teachers. There's still a serious stigma related but I think it's getting better. Treatment often incorporates medication AND talk therapy.
Treatment is much less barbaric nowadays (though it's still scary to watch a "take-down" and IMs administered to someone who's agitated), ECT is nowhere near as scary to witness as it sounds, and length of stay is decreased, just like in regular hospitals. The unit I've been hired on as a new grad (general inpatient psych) has an average length of stay of 4.2 days.
Here are some links to threads on here that might help you.
Psych clinical fear
Don't let anyone else's experience color yours. I have a friend who is terribly booksmart and will probably end up in ICU who almost failed psych. She "didn't think it was relevant" if she wanted to go into ICU. You'll encounter patients and families on every floor who have psych issues. Hospitalization is a stressful event and can bring out underlying anxiety and related problems. Hope this helps!