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Is any RN experience good?


Hi all,

First thanks for taking the time to read this. I graduated in May of 2012, and got a job offer in October of 2012. The only problem is that it a psychiatric nurse position at a residential treatment center for adolescents. I am deadly afraid I am committing career suicide (it is probably an irrational thought) by being there because I don't want to be known as "a psych nurse." Don't get me wrong, I like my job, and I am happy I was able to find one.... But I miss the regular nursing. Does anyone have any insight? I started applying to jobs again and hope to find something because my biggest fear is losing my skills and not being able to be a nurse at a hospital which is my ultimate goal. I should also add that I am currently going towards my BSN, as of right now I have my Associates degree.

Thank you in advance. :)


PS- Nothing against Psych nurses, I just don't feel like its something I want to do permanently.

what is "regular nursing"... as a psych nurse, I plan, I give meds, I assess, I prioritze, I delegate, I document, I transcribe, I keep a unit safe, I NURSE--- I imagine your idea of "regular nursing", is straight caths, ivs, trach care/wound care etc? if thats what you mean, pick up a part time in the LTC.. you will get that as well...


Specializes in Home health, psych.

I too am a psych nurse and by no means take offense to your post. I have been told by numerous people that I will lose my skills but here's my response... I learned those skills over a span of two years, often with only a few weeks of practice. If I worked on an adult med surge unit I would gain little focused skill in being a nicu nurse (or insert a number of other specialties). What you will gain is time management, assessment (psych patients still have physical issues), communication with patients, families, and staff. I could go on and on but the point is focus on the positive and when it ones time to move on highlight what you have gained versus shortcomings.

I also would like to point out there are so many specialties in nursing and many of them require significantly different "skill sets" all with a foundation in therapeutic communication and patient advocacy. At the end of my career I'd rather be known as the nurse that took time with my patients and helped them through difficult times than being the best dressing changer or the best at IV's.

Good luck with whatever path you take!!

TerpGal02, ASN

Specializes in Psych. Has 6 years experience.

Well color me pigeon holed then because I am a psych nurse and love it. I started my career in community psych and worried I would never be able to get an inpt job (in psych of course) but that wasn't true. After the first 9 months working I landed right where I wanted to be, inpt psych! I heard all that stuff about losing skills and frankly didnt care as med/surg does nothing for me, but as the previous poster said, I most certainly AM a nurse. And your skills definitely do NOT go by the wayside, esp p if you work with adults. Psych pts do not leave their other illnesses at the door, and many of the mentally ill aren't in that great of shape. COPD from massive chain smoking, diabetes and all that goes with that from the meds and poor lifestyle choices. We do wound care. I have spent shifts trying to manage chronic COPDers O2 levels. We aren't supposed to get anyone with unstable medical issues but we do allllll the time because referring facilities like to take liberties with the truth because they don't want em on the med surg floor. All of a sudden, "a few wheezes" turns into a an acute exacerbation of COPD with O2 stats in the toilet, the "mostly healed" self inflicted wounds from a suicide attempt become 17 stab wounds to the abdomen, 10 to each arm, and more to the legs which are a week old, gaping down to the subcutaneous tissue oozing puss. And we really don't have a setup to run IVs, not to mention how unsafe it would be to have IV setups in a locked psych hospital. So yeah, Is say I use my skills alright.