What is the psych rotation like?

  1. I'm going into 3rd semester and the second half of clinical is our psych rotation. I have absolutely no idea what is really expected of us during this rotation besides therapeutic communication. Can anyone tell me what is expected of the student and how much independence we're given in this kind of setting? I'd also like to know what some of you experienced and what this rotation was like for you.
    Thanks in advance! :spin:
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    Joined: Jul '04; Posts: 816; Likes: 67


  3. by   Jules A
    I looked forward to the psych rotation and really enjoyed it after coming off 8 months of nursing homes and acute care...no bed baths, lol. For the most part all we did was therapeutic communication while we were there as well as care and teaching plans based on the client that we spoke to. It was relaxed, we didn't have assignments we were allowed to just interact with whoever might be interested in talking with us. If you are allowed to one of my favorite things was going through the clients charts. It was interesting to see how the clients viewpoint of the situation differed from what was listed in their chart etc. Hopefully you will enjoy the experience. Jules
  4. by   rags
    Psyc is one of those rotations that depend very much on your instructor. Ours was great (a group of 6 students) but our counter parts (the other 24 students) were board to tears.

    We were assigned one client. We had to look over their chart and history and figure out a 'need'. With that information in hand we had to then find another students client that had a similar need. We worked together to find an intervention that would address that particular need. They client got to invite 'a friend' and then we did an activity as the intervention. What was wonderful about our rotation is that we got to see how the nursing process works from one end to the other and we did it all ourselves.

    Many clients have a need to interact with each other, or at least work on their interactions... We actually ended up having two different groups that ended up being the same 6 clients. The first session we made sock puppets and while doing this were able to provide a great atmosphere for therapeutic communication without the clients feeling threatened. They all had so much fun with it that we decided to do another session and we made bead necklaces. They (the clients) decided they want to 'band together' and form a group/gang. They decided on a name (with much guidance to keep them from getting upset or arguing) of The Street Beetles Gang. They then made the decision that the necklaces was their membership tie. They were given the idea (by us) to invite others into their gang and when they did this they offered the the person they were inviting their bead necklace.

    We did our rotation first and when the other students did theirs at this facility they were totally confused as to why residents were offering them necklaces and talking about the Street Beetle Gang. When we explained it to them they felt gypped with their psyc experience. They were only allowed to 'interact' and be a part of facility scheduled events or activities.

    If you have any say at all in what you do with your rotation, I would highly recommend something similar to what we did. It really was a therapeutic experience for us as well as the clients we had.

  5. by   AdobeRN
    We had to go to a state mental hospital for 2 days. The first day we were given a brief tour of the units we would be assigned to, then we were let go and had to do a couple of mental status exams and write a quick report about it. The next day we were assigned to a different unit - some of us sat in on therapy sessions, others participated in group activities (sports, crafts etc) and the rest observed treatment teams. It was interesting but I could not wait to get out of there - psych nursing is not for me.
  6. by   Ohmygosh
    Quote from SoulShine75
    I'm going into 3rd semester and the second half of clinical is our psych rotation. I have absolutely no idea what is really expected of us during this rotation besides therapeutic communication. Can anyone tell me what is expected of the student and how much independence we're given in this kind of setting? I'd also like to know what some of you experienced and what this rotation was like for you.
    Thanks in advance! :spin:
    I think it depends on the type of facility you will be going to. My school uses two different facilties....one is very structured and we were assigned a specific patient an told what we could discuss and what we could not discuss. The other facility was more laid back and we were allowed free-reign in the facilty-- were able to speak with just about anyone we wanted to and were not given topic restrictions. At both facilities we attended group therapy sessions and had to write a brief description of the session.
  7. by   abbythetabby
    I loved my psych rotation. We rotated through different units at a psych facility and worked with patients one on one. Adolescents were the toughest group to work with because they tend to bond with each other very quickly and there was a us vs. them (staff) dynamic. We also sat in on groups, which can reveal a lot about a patient. Because we weren't giving meds and spending half the day waiting for an instructor, there was lots of time to really work with the patients. Basically, it's one of those rotations where you get out of it what you put into it.
  8. by   Sheri257
    We went to a criminal psych facility which was fascinating, to say the least. When you look at some of those case files ... whoah. It's a whole another world dealing with those people.

    Our instructor worked there and was very laid back. There wasn't much to do actually, so I spent most of the time talking with the staff and MD's about the dangers of their job. As it turned out, an RN was stabbed while we were there ... although on a different unit. And an MD had his jaw broken on that same unit ... which was known for poor management.

    It was scary sometimes but, I still enjoyed it ... although I can't say I'd want to work in psych ... especially criminal psych. If someone is a murderer, I prefer to see them in shackles ... regardless of whether or not they're "sick."

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 28, '06
  9. by   marilynmom
    I absolutly loved my psych rotation! It does depend on what hospital and what unit you are on....I know some of my friends were bored to death with their rotations. The hospital we were at didn't allow student to pass meds, I think because so many of them had to be restrained in order to give meds.

    I got to work 4 weeks with juvenile sexual offenders and another 4 weeks with schizophrenics which I enjoyed very much! I just talked with them, played games, watched tv, read charts, whatever. We did process recordings which actually was very helpful with therapeutic communication. It could be scarey at times, some were on assault precautions for instance, some had to be restrained for violence--trying to hurt staff or other patients. I was scared my first day to be honest.

    I really learned a lot, it was one of my best rotations yet. It was neat to see this one guy in particular who was a paranoid schizophrenic come in screaming and yelling about eating people (the cops picked him up off the streetcorner) and the end of the world (etc) and then 3 weeks later he was a normal as you and I after his meds started working. One guy was in there because he tried to kill his wife and kids. You will meet some really interesting people.
  10. by   chysyl
    I loved my psych posting, we worked in a mental hospital for 3wks. It wasnt as stressful as the normal usual hospital posting.We worked in different units, like the wards, adolecent and out patient dept.
    On the wards we didnt have much to told we had time to talk to the patients who were sober enough to talk with us.
    I enjoyed the out patient dept more than the rest cos there we get to take the patient's history and the story is usally interesting and different from the both parties.
    The drug ward was also interesting(that's where drug addicts were nursed). Some of the patients told why they go into durgs and become addicted.
  11. by   nursekatie22
    For me, it ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be, mostly because of the instructor and friends in my clinical section. I was scared ******** the first time I went to a mental health hospital because it was an end-of-the-road type of place and the people there were really far gone. I nearly quit because I was so petrified and scared of the people.
    Now, I understand that it was a vital part of my training, but I still wouldn't choose to work there! :P One of the things that helped me the most when we got to our main clinical site (which had small children up to adults) was taking my teachers' advice and not reading the charts before talking and interacting with the patients. I didn't understand why she said this until I read the charts at the end of the day....if I'd read the charts first, there was no way in hell I was going to try to get close to some of those people!! That, I think, is the most important thing to do. Just keep an open mind, get through the day, and who knows, you may even like it!
    I had several friends who thought they'd hate it and ended up being mental health nurses!
  12. by   BoonersmomRN
    Mine was from 2-9pm at a private Psych hospital and I was the crisis intervention ward.

    MY day went like this

    2-3 pre-conference

    3-3:30 report

    3:30- 4:00 - we sat in the last 1/2 hour of a group meeting ran my the recreational director

    4:00- 5:00 - Therapeutic communication with the clients on the floor. We were told 15 mins max per client.

    5- 5:30- Dinner off floor

    5:30- 7:30 Therapeutic Communication again..but this was also visiting hours so it was sometimes VERY hard to find someone to talk to ....but then we could go look in charts, etc

    7:30- 8 Goals Review group

    8-9 post conference

    Now..somedays FLEW by and others dragged on horribly slow. It all depended on the clientele, the amount of visitors, etc.

    My instructor was pretty OK.

    Overall I did 6 weeks...loved the first 3, hated the next 2, loved the last one.
  13. by   NeosynephRN
    My psych rotation was a joke...but it was nice to have a relaxing clinical for once... We were at the VA..so all military personel and we would wake up our pt's..take them to the med room and then they would go back to bed. We had to each do a group project with as many patients as we could get involved. Otherwise we just talked to our patients or another students patient. Pretty slow and the big problem I had was even after only 6 weeks...I felt like some of my other nursing skills got rusty!! Hope you have fun!!
  14. by   SoulShine75
    Wow. THe psych rotations sound really interesting to say the least. I think we'll be at a state hospital so that should be cool. Thank you all for sharing with me. :spin: