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How does working as an R.N. beforehand help in being a nurse practitioner?

I want to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner however I don't think R.N. duties would give me experience that would help me in that career ex: giving insulin, giving pills, helping patients brush teeth. The two career paths I could take is either getting a BA not in nursing and then doing an accelerated MSN program in which I won't have to be an R.N. or I can get a BSN, be a nurse and then pursue my MSN. Although I would really love to avoid being a nurse beforehand in what ways would being a nurse beforehand help in a NP career, specifically psychiatric?

P.S. I don't really have a passion for nursing I just want to practice psychiatry without actually going to medical school and being psychiatric nursing practitioner seems right for me.

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice.

Not an NP here, but I seem to recall that the operative word in the title is "nurse". The credential was originally created to capitalize on the clinical experience of seasoned nurses and expand the ability of nurses to practice nursing more automatously.

You're essentially asking how to become a nurse without actually becoming a nurse.

Perhaps physician's assistant would be more your cup of tea. Or clinical social work/ psychology degree that would allow you to provide psycho-therapy.

But if you want to be able to prescribe meds or manage severe psychotics, you're stuck with getting a credential that will allow you to do so: MD, NP or PA.

Not an NP here, but I seem to recall that the operative word in the title is "nurse". The credential was originally created to capitalize on the clinical experience of seasoned nurses and expand the ability of nurses to practice nursing more automatously.You're essentially asking how to become a nurse without actually becoming a nurse.Perhaps physician's assistant would be more your cup of tea. Or clinical social work/ psychology degree that would allow you to provide psycho-therapy.But if you want to be able to prescribe meds or manage severe psychotics, you're stuck with getting a credential that will allow you to do so: MD, NP or PA.

This. So much of this.

And believe it or not, but being a nurse is so much more than handing out meds and helping people brush their teeth. When I was in the ED I worked with psych patients a lot. If I wanted to go on for my NP in psych my backround as a NURSE would be invaluable to me, because of what I learned working with that population.

Edited by OlivetheRN
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I want to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner however I don't think R.N. duties would give me experience that would help me in that career ex: giving insulin, giving pills, helping patients brush teeth. The two career paths I could take is either getting a BA not in nursing and then doing an accelerated MSN program in which I won't have to be an R.N. or I can get a BSN, be a nurse and then pursue my MSN. Although I would really love to avoid being a nurse beforehand in what ways would being a nurse beforehand help in a NP career, specifically psychiatric?

Is that seriously what you think we do? If so you have absolutely no idea what nursing is all about and frankly I find your viewpoint to be insulting.

Is that seriously what you think we do? If so you have absolutely no idea what nursing is all about and frankly I find your viewpoint to be insulting.

Yea, that too. I'm kinda waiting to see how long it takes for her to get flamed.

NightNerd, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg/tele, palliative, psych.

RN experience will be IMPERATIVE to your career as an NP! Being a nurse, while it certainly does involve getting your hands dirty with tasks yot seem to feel you're above, is about so much assessment and evaluation. RNs spend a good chunk of time giving medications and watching how they effect the patient, and can recommend dosage changes or notice if the patient is having adverse effects. Their assessments are also invaluable in determining what comorbidities, psychiatric or otherwise, a patient is experiencing, because treatments for a variety of disorders can be tricky when considering medication interactions and the like. Being an RN is absolutely fundamental to becoming an NP, as it hones your observation skills, your communication skills, and your familiarity with the treatments and therapies available to your patients. Also, RNs spend a ton of time educating and reinforcing the teaching done by other professionals with their patients, which is another piece of your job as an NP.

I'm sure you didn't intend this, but your post comes off as rather condescending, like you find the work of an RN to be futile and boring. I'd like to recommend that you volunteer at a mental health facility and shadow both an RN and NP if possible. I think that would give you a wealth of insight into the tasks involved in both roles, and help you make am informed decision about your career path. I genuinely wish you the best of luck in finding a career that suits you.

Do you realize that psych patients also have medical problems which may still need to be addressed while in an inpatient unit? They may have diabetes, hypertension, a colostomy bag, or any other number of problems which the psych NURSE will be responsible for addressing. They may be taking psychiatric meds that have the potential to cause serious physical adverse reactions. If the NP has actual experience with and competence in patient assessment and delivery of nursing care, she will be a better NP than one who only has theory to revert to when addressing the patient's needs (that may go well beyond the psychiatric).

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

Yea, that too. I'm kinda waiting to see how long it takes for her to get flamed.

I don't consider answering in kind to be flaming. The original post was condescending and insulting to the specific audience to whom it was directed.

However, I'm guessing that the poster is young and idealistic and misguided, so I'm willing to make allowance for that. Perhaps he/she will learn something from these replies.

BSN16

Specializes in ICU, trauma.

What about working as a psych nurse. That is more beneficial than anything to become a NP in that field.

But with that type of mentality i'm not sure if you would like nursing school lol

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult any RNs out there. You're right in that I really don't know that much about nursing which is why I made this post; I am trying to learn more about what nurses do and what type of experience they gain.

I agree with most of the above posters. Even if you only want to deal with psychiatric issues, as a provider you're going to need spot on assessment skills to work with this population.

How else will you be able to differentiate between a mental illness, adverse reaction to a medication, or a new onset somatic issue? Especially since many patients with mental illness have a difficult time articulating what is wrong.

I strongly suggest you shadow a few different types of mental health professionals in order to get a clear idea of what you may be getting into.

Rocknurse, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Critical Care and ED.

I was a nurse in cardiac critical care and I learned how to titrate vasoactive drips, recover patients from open heart surgery, identify post op complications early before patients deteriorated, recovered them from hypotensive episodes and interpreted ABGs, as well as performing CRRT, monitoring IABPs and therapeutic hypothermia. As an acute NP student I will find that experience invaluable when I come to be an NP in a critical care unit. Without that experience I'd be completely lost.

Yea, that too. I'm kinda waiting to see how long it takes for her to get flamed.

I'm over here sitting with a drink and some popcorn, this will get interesting.

Also, OP, you might want to change your username if the np part refers to being a Nurse Practitioner.

Only those who have actually attained such credentials are allowed to list them as part of their username. Hence, my username, I am not yet a Nurse Midwife, but it is my goal.

an important thing to remember when considering becoming an advanced practice nurse is that you must become a nurse and master the basics in the first place. if your goal is to practice psychiatry without going to medical school and you believe that the best way to do this is to become an RN then I think you need to do some really hardcore reconsidering. You will do nursing and a lot of nursing before being competent enough to be allowed anywhere near your dream job.

there are direct entry programs to cut out general ed courses sure but you will first have to survive those years of core clinical assignments and that means lots of nursing education that you would probably hate. I say this based only on what you just said about your feelings toward becoming an RN. Even those who do have a passion for nursing can find it extremely wearing on the body and soul (nursing education and clinicals, I mean). I think if you're smart you'll give a whole lot more thought to this!

I'm over here sitting with a drink and some popcorn, this will get interesting.

Being that yesterday was Monday, I have started my diet over again (yet again), so I have my no butter, low salt popcorn. If it were Thursday, or if I was being really good and had waited till Friday to say screw it, I'll start over again next Monday, I'd have to good stuff, but since it's only Tuesday.... *sigh*

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult any RNs out there. You're right in that I really don't know that much about nursing which is why I made this post; I am trying to learn more about what nurses do and what type of experience they gain.

Actually your post came across as quite dismissive of the nursing role. In fact you said "Although I would really love to avoid being a nurse beforehand." But whatever, thanks for sticking around and continuing the conversation. I think what most of us want to impress upon you is that if you already (prior to any experience whatsoever) feel that it's unnecessary or undesirable to be a nurse, why do you think that you would enjoy being an advanced practice nurse?

I think the suggestion of exploring the PA role is great. Unlike NP's, there is no prior role in which experience is expected/required. PA is based upon the medical model, rather than the nursing model. That might work better for you.

*and to reiterate what a previous poster said, please change your username. You have not earned the title.*

HelloWish, ADN, BSN

Specializes in IMCU, Oncology.

Assessment, critical thinking, problem solving, intervention, assessment, assessment, and assessment....

I really wouldn't want an NP to treat me or my family without first gaining experience as a nurse, if they chose to be an NP. If they are a PA, it is different as you are trained differently. But nurse practitioners are nurses however at an advanced practice level!

Dogen

Specializes in Behavioral Health.

As a newly minted psych NP, I'll reiterate what Horseshoe said above. Psych patients have medical issues and if you start a psych med that interacts with something they take for a medical condition or exacerbates that condition then 1) that's your own malpractice, and 2) you're hurting the people you're supposed to help. For instance, I had a transgender patient who was on "an androgen blocker," but couldn't remember the name. They also had frequent nightmares. My preceptor started them on prazosin, which treats nightmares but is also a blood pressure medication. The patient started fainting. Turns out they were on spironolactone, which is an androgen blocker and a blood pressure med. The patient wasn't harmed, but could have been. My experience in med-surg has helped me avoid drug interactions or exacerbating someone's heart failure or diabetes more times than I can count.

You could also work in psych as an RN and that would be beneficial. It will allow you to observe psych symptoms and recovery, drug dosages, side effects, etc. I worked inpatient psych while I was in grad school specifically for that reason and it helped a lot. Now when I have a patient decompensating I can ask myself if they present like the patients I saw admitted to my inpatient unit and decide if I need to send them to the ER or if I can safely treat them outpatient.

Dogen

Specializes in Behavioral Health.

Also, PAs are uncommon in psych. If a person wanted to get into psych then suggesting PA school may be doing them a disservice.

You learn almost as much your first year working as a nurse as you do in nursing school. If you want to just be a psychiatric nurse then by all means go straight through school. If you want to be a well rounded nurse capable of managing your psychiatric patient's other medical issues then get some practical, real world experience before going to an advanced course.

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