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I am about to enter my second semester of nursing school, and I found out from the previous class that 30 people failed this class. I was wondering what is so hard about this class? How do you survive it? What is your tips? What about the material of med-pysch is so hard for people to grasp? I have taken an Abnormal Pyschology class before, do you think this will help me in this class? I just want to be prepared. Share anything you know please!

Bump, does anyone know anything? please respond with any tips, notes, or anything you may have

jollydogg_RN, ADN, BSN

Specializes in OR. Has 12 years experience.

sorry to hear.... psych was a relatively easy class for us.. but then again its all about your instructor.

however, psych seems to be one of my two problem areas on the HESI (my other being maternity/OB... go figure)

ive heard about other schools psych portion being hard, but honestly, i think its one of the easiest portions of nursing school. you should probably try to find out from the students what they thought was so hard about it if 30 people failed. im sorry that happened. i hope you find it easier!

jollydogg_RN, ADN, BSN

Specializes in OR. Has 12 years experience.

also... three things that seemed to help me...

1.) stay with someone who is depressed

2.) never acknowledge you hear voices or see delusions, and

3.) study hard on bipolar, antisocial/borderline personality, and different anxieties.

sorry, just doin a bit of review myself :p

Okay so basically get the disorders down pack and know the in's and out. Lol stay with someone depressed really hmm I guess that is a real life experience. Yeah I asked a few of the students and they just said the tests were horrible and the instructor. The instructor part is true because she is being replaced. I am guessing that was all to it, but I still want to know anything else you or others may know about pysch, I was thinking of buying the incredibly easy book on pysch, does anyone have experience in using that book?

jollydogg_RN, ADN, BSN

Specializes in OR. Has 12 years experience.

well, staying with someone who is depressed or has problems in general is just a way to get more questions right.

you'll see what i mean! :p

and actually, i used the increadibly easy book for cardiac monitoring... for the dysrhythmias and what not. i liked it. it broke down the rhythms into sections and made it easy to understand! im sure it'll work for psych nursing, because it breaks everything down to make it..... increadibly easy :p

go figure, huh?

but yes, i suppose if you have extra time, any outside information from a different angle wouldn't hurt at all!

Oh okay thanks, I'm looking forward to Pysch. It seems very interesting to me. Was it anything about Pysch that you didnt like, what did you like if anything? I dont start till August so I am just going to spend my summer reading some of the material in the books and working my summer job!

avahnel, ASN, RN

Specializes in Orthopedic, Corrections. Has 5 years experience.

The biggest thing that helped me with questions on exams was that safety is the number one priority, be that yours (don't turn you back on a pt, leave yourself an exit) or the pts (don't leave a suicidal pt alone). Good luck in your class

jollydogg_RN, ADN, BSN

Specializes in OR. Has 12 years experience.

The biggest thing that helped me with questions on exams was that safety is the number one priority, be that yours (don't turn you back on a pt, leave yourself an exit) or the pts (don't leave a suicidal pt alone). Good luck in your class


well... i liked psych simply because it was a change of pace. thats just my personal opinion.. when i actually got to the clinical site, it was OKAY i suppose, it just wasn't something I could see myself doing.

you have to be SUPER patient and understanding to be a psych nurse. kudos to them, i don't think i could do it being a new grad. i mean, a lot of times i try stuff because i think i wont like it, just because i like the challenge, but i dunno... i guess maybe down the road.

psych can also be more entertaining if you have a good professor. in our ADN program and BSN programs here on campus, the psych lecturers are all previous psych nurses, and have really entertaining stories to tell! lol.

just keep an open mind! you'll never know what ya like and wont like. anymore questions? ill try to help as much as i can :p this past two years were kind of a blur though! lol


Specializes in General adult inpatient psychiatry.

Be prepared for a change of pace! You may find some questions related to labs or signs/symptoms, but most of the questions I received on my unit exams in psych were about therapeutic communication and safety, and applying my knowledge of signs and symptoms to know behavior and milieu management. I highly suggest you check out the Psychiatric Nursing forum under the Specialty tab; they have stickies with tons of information and very well informed nurses who can help with specific questions. I think there are also some recent posts here with a similar flavor, but I'll say what I think is important. I think the singlemost important thing to know is that psych patients are people too. Since the concept of de-institutionalization was implemented, more and more psych patients are in the community, trying to live their lives. According to NIMH, (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml) 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 18 suffers from diagnosable mental illness in a given year, and that person could be your best friend, that homeless guy on the street or one of your teachers. There's still a serious stigma related but I think it's getting better. Treatment often incorporates medication AND talk therapy. :) Treatment is much less barbaric nowadays (though it's still scary to watch a "take-down" and IMs administered to someone who's agitated), ECT is nowhere near as scary to witness as it sounds, and length of stay is decreased, just like in regular hospitals. The unit I've been hired on as a new grad (general inpatient psych) has an average length of stay of 4.2 days.

Here are some links to threads on here that might help you.





Don't let anyone else's experience color yours. I have a friend who is terribly booksmart and will probably end up in ICU who almost failed psych. She "didn't think it was relevant" if she wanted to go into ICU. You'll encounter patients and families on every floor who have psych issues. Hospitalization is a stressful event and can bring out underlying anxiety and related problems. Hope this helps!

Thanks everyone for your replies, I will use alll of your suggestions

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

i think what happens with this is the same thing that happens with peds and ob. people lose focus and make the mistake of thinking this is different. well, it is different in that these are diseases of the mind, but they fail to follow the same logic or they never really understood the logic of how to learn med/surg diseases. when learning med/surg, peds, ob or psych diseases there is always an underlying pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, medical tests done to confirm the diagnosis, standardized medical treatment that usually involves drug therapy and medical interventions (in psych there is a lot of psychotherapy) and then there is the nursing treatment. psych is where therapeutic communication is really used a lot more because of the nature of the behavior of these patients. psych symptoms are behavior based rather than what you have been used to where patients have physical things going wrong with body parts. we are less likely to notice behaviors as symptoms of a disease. i would recommend that you go to a library and find several supplemental books about the major psych diseases that have good information in them about the diagnosing and treatment of things like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicide, depression and substance abuse since these are the major disorders and use them along with your textbooks to help you out. there are weblinks on therapeutic communication skills listed on post #38 of this sticky thread: https://allnurses.com/nursing-student-assistance/health-assessment-resources-145091.html - health assessment resources, techniques, and forms

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