Graduating Soon - Having Doubts


  • Columnist
    Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development, Freelance Writer. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am a student that will be graduating in May 2017. I currently work as a Tech in a Psychiatric Unit. I am very thankful at this position as it is my first experience in the medical field. It is assumed that I will continue on as a psychiatric nurse by family and friends as I already have my "foot in the door". I initially thought so too. I am now having doubts as I want to make sure that I keep the skills I have obtained recently. New skills medically is very limited in our Psych units. I really enjoy the cardiac and ICU units that I have previously done clinicals. So as a new nurse is it better to start with a "for sure" position in Psych or solidify my skills and knowledge on a med/surg or tele floor? I plan to eventually go for a MSN but finances need to fall into place first. I have family to support, a young child and teenager, nursing school and work to balance. Any advice would be appreciated. I have asked a fellow employee at my job and I am weighing the options. I don't really see this as a "bird in the hand" scenario but many are trying to make me feel that way.

Dear Having Doubts,

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

Your intuition is right. I would not stay in Psych just because you are there now in a different capacity.

Psych is a narrow field, and going straight into a narrow field may seriously limit your options later. You will not ever have difficulty going from Cardiac or Med Surg to Psych;

you may very well have difficulty going from Psych to Cardiac or Med Surg later on.

Start applying for other opportunities now. Hope this helps, my friend :)

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth


Specializes in medical surgical. Has 5 years experience.

I just told my son who is graduating in May with his BSN to get his grounding in med surg for at least 2 years. I would tell you the same. You can always work PRN in Psych. Many more doors will open for you with a background in med surg. The exception, I believe, is if you plan to get your PMHNP. That is the only reason I would remain in Psych.