Switching out of Psych

  1. I have been a Psych RN since graduating with my BSN 7 years ago. I never intended to pursue psych nursing but those were the only jobs available in 2011, and I had loans to pay back. I started with a great hospital system and figured after a year I could cross train or transfer to a different unit. I have learned that managers don't usually hire psych RNs because they want RNs with experience in that specialty.
    I have done well in psych and am board certified. I have worked on extremely acute psych floors and psych EDs. I have also
    workws as a clinical instructor. While psychiatric nursing has given me lots of skills working with patients in distress, I long to gain medical skills and work with patients in a more medical setting. I am willing to pay for training or shadow someone for free. I think Med/surgery would be best, and hope to work in emergency medicine eventually. Any ideas would
    be welcome, especially if you have switched into a new specialty in which you needed more training. TIA.
    I am in Nor CA btw.
  2. Visit alyceunison profile page

    About alyceunison

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 2


  3. by   squishyfish
    As an internal candidate, apply to jobs at your facility (med-surg, ED) that interest you. Next contact the manager or nurse educator for that unit, let them know that you have applied for the position and request a shadowing opportunity. Treat your shadowing experience as if it were an interview with the staff. Show them why they want to work with you. After you finish shadowing, send an email to the manager thanking them and the staff (refer to who you shadowed by name), re-express your interest in the position. You have learned many, many marketable skills in Psych and you are certified in your specialty. Since you haven't work in acute medical settings since nursing school, taking a refresher class or signing up for some telemetry monitoring/IV skills classes that your hospital provides would show great initiative. Best of luck!
  4. by   alyceunison
    Thank you for taking the time to share some
    great tips!
  5. by   Meriwhen
    Facilities have been known to offer programs that allow nurses to cross-train to a new specialty. See if yours does.

    Also, since you are in CA, UCSD offers an emergency nursing course online that you can take to start gaining the ED specifics. You can also complete an ED preceptorship when you are done, though it would be on you to find an ED willing to let you do it there. They'll help you set it up once you find one. I was able to set mine up through one of my organization's EDs.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on May 7
  6. by   ivyleaf
    My friend got some experience per diem in geri psych (there is a lot of turnover there). From there, she transfered internally from psych to med surg. Now she works @ one of the best hospitals in the country on a vascular floor. She started out at a tiny psych only facility. It can be done!
  7. by   SheriffLauren
    I would also say that if you are open to non traditional nursing jobs you could apply with your state for public health positions, dshs/med floors, or at the corrections dep they also have med wings. these places are not so glamorous and often hire with no experience needed and are willing to train.