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Psychcns 16,468 Views

Joined: Feb 10, '06; Posts: 883 (44% Liked) ; Likes: 874
Psych APRN
Specialty: 30 year(s) of experience in Psychiatric Nursing

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  • Jul 1 '17

    I wanted to post this for new grads who are perhaps in the same position that I was in about 6 months ago. I did nursing as a second degree, my first love was always mental health. I've always been very passionate about protecting the mentally ill. As I was nearing the end of nursing school, I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted to be a psych nurse... I could feel it in my BONES but it seemed like every time I had a thought about psych nursing as a new grad, I had another thought of "well... maybe I should do some med surg first. Just to be safe. Just in case." Because that's what everyone had told me to do.

    Just to be safe from WHAT? I hated med surg during my clinical rotations. I learned a ton and I respected the process of healing on a med surg floor.... but I hated it. So why should I have done med surg nursing "just in case" when I knew I was never going to do med surg? But... that didn't stop those "just in case..." thoughts from invading my head as I was choosing my future.

    I met with a nursing instructor/mentor before graduation to talk about my dilemma. To this day I am so grateful for her pushing me to do psych. She told me quite bluntly to just follow my gut. She told me that in her opinion, nurses on med-surg floors should get mental health nursing experience before walking onto a med-surg floor because mental illness hits everyone, everywhere. She gave me that "push" to do what I know I'm meant to be doing. She told me that psych is the future.... more and more people are carrying the weight of a mental illness.

    I have been lucky to begin working as a new grad on a unit with an incredibly supportive team, a phenomenal nursing manager who coaches me and mentors me and supports me, and a very steady, consistent orientation in a hospital where therapeutic communication and milieu safety are of up top most importance. On my unit, I have only seen one restraint, and it was absolutely necessary at the time. It's been 3 months. My preceptors are supportive, my manager creates a safe working environment and validates my concerns, a lot of the time my coworkers are laughing and dancing to music hour or zumba group... I can't say enough good things about it. I lucked out.

    HOWEVER, with that being said.... I wanted to tell all of you brand new nurses who are about to go out there interviewing TO LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. I was smart. My first interview was on a different unit in a different facility where the nurses looked burnt out, the unit looked run down, the furniture was torn up, the manager offered me the job 5 minutes into the interview..... and I went home from my interview with a bad, sinking feeling in my stomach. Nursing is a small world and I still hear stories about the nurses being miserable and treating each other poorly on that floor. I had a feeling not to accept a position there. I was lucky enough to receive an offer at the same time from the employer I work for now, but I just wanted to say.... if something feels off to you, if the facility seems a little shady, if the nurses look really tired and burnt out... chances are you may burn out quickly too. If your interview lasts an hour and a half and your future manager is asking you so many intense questions that your head is spinning... take it as a good sign. He/She knows what she's doing. If an offer is granted to you within 5 minutes... be wary.

    I am so thankful that my nursing mentor pushed me to do psych nursing that I want to pay it forward and inspire those who may be thinking about doing psych nursing right after graduation. I am so happy where I am. There isn't a day when I don't come home satisfied from my job. I think it is a privilege to be a psych nurse, to be there for that patient who is SO vulnerable and SO impacted by their mental illness that they would do anything to release the pain.... it is a privilege to be the person who has opportunity to begin a conversation with that patient, to ask them for their story. I feel like I am where I am supposed to be, and I don't intend on leaving this unit or this hospital or psychiatric nursing until I retire! No, I don't feel like I'm missing any "skills." Yes, we still insert foley catheters. Yes, our patients still require wound changes. Yes, our patients are still in wheel chairs with arm and leg hard casts and require skin care and ROM exercises. Yes, our patients do need immediate medical attention. Yes, I am still learning medical skills! Yes, I am IV certified! Almost all nurses are trained to perform "skills" but how many nurses can sit down with a patient who is hearing derogatory auditory hallucinations, and make him or her feel safe?

    If you want to do psych nursing, just DO IT. Follow your gut. But be smart. Keep your eyes open and your mind sharp when you're going in for interviews. Observe the unit, the patients, the environment. Don't settle, unless you absolutely have no choice. I do not regret for a SECOND that I didn't start with med surg or any other unit like that. I hear my friends from nursing school talk about everything they experience on their med surg floors and I just sigh... because I know I would be absolutely miserable there, and I am so thankful I didn't put myself through that "just because."

    Do what you love and you will be happy. It's that easy.

  • Jun 14 '17

    When I was young and VERY dumb, I was in nursing school and decided I didn't want to be a nurse so I quit going to classes (did NOT drop them) and joined the USN and left the next week.

    Fast forward 12 years and I'm now not quite so dumb but I have a not so stellar 0.8gpa. So...I was admitted on academic probation for pre-reqs. I started slowly and built up to full time.

    Try some general masters level classes without declaring a major and raise your GPA that way.

    Best wishes.

  • Jun 14 '17

    I had a 2.8 undergrad... Took the GRE and did well, got into a masters of nursing program in leadership... finished that and now am finishing a post-masters NP program, both at brick and mortar schools. If that one school denied you, not all of them will. Keep trying.

  • Apr 5 '17

    Here is my 2 cents. I have never worked a strike but I would if given the chance. Why? For the money of course, therefore the compensation would have to be right and I wouldn't cancel a travel job to do it since they often cancel before day 1. Having said that I am pro union, in that I wish more places were unionized like TN where I am from. In TN staff are treated so poorly and paid so little that I feel a union would help alot. CEO's have too much power and can treat thier staff poorly while lining their pockets. So why would I work a strike in another state? Not that it really matters to anyone other than the nurse working it but my thought is they are paying out big money to strike nurses and therefore it hits them where they notice (wallet). I am anti CEO's

  • Feb 11 '17

    I always find it helpful to reframe this type of question: If you were presenting to a healthcare facility seeking psychiatric care, would you be expecting to be seen by someone specifically educated and credentialed in mental health, or would you be okay with someone trained in internal medicine who is "interested in" mental health?

  • Jan 13 '17

    Wow...I'm so sorry about what you went through. Sounds like they did you dirty. How can one ever do better if you don't even know what you need to change for future jobs? I wish you all the best in your job-search. The one thing I've learned from lurking here (even though I'm still a student) is to never sign a none compete clause. I hope you get the job...I like that you sound optimistic, and are focused more on the takeaways from this experience.

  • Jan 7 '17


    I'm so sorry this happened to you. However, it sounds like the analysis of the "why" it happens does explain a lot.

    Thanks so much for coming back and filling us in on the "rest of the story." wishes with your job hunt....

  • Dec 29 '16

    Hi! I don't know if you are still actively looking for work, but I wanted to see if you have a Minuteclinic in your area. It is a start, and it pays decent money. You will have to work long hours 8:30 am to 7:30 pm Mon-Friday, 9:00-5:30 on Saturday, and 10:00- 4pm on Sunday. You will be the only person working in the clinic, and you will have to do things such as, ordering and putting up supplies, checking temps on frig, looking up Insurance, calling IT when the computer malfunctions, taking payments, marketing, sweeping and mopping the floors, and taking out the trash . I hope that you find work...if you haven't already

  • Dec 29 '16

    Unfortunately I think you didn't do your due diligence on researching the NP market before signing up for a lot of tuition money, knowing that you can't leave the county due to your children's custody arrangement.

    I don't really know what to say except to anyone that might stumble upon this thread that you absolutely need to research the market before getting any degree and know what you're able or willing to do in order to get a job when you graduate. 18 year olds really don't know any better (and their parents need to guide them heavily), but those thinking about graduate school are older and should know better.

    OP, I hope you are able to find a job soon to support your family. Maybe you should consider leaving the kids with your ex as primary custody for a couple of years while you get experience elsewhere and then move back once you have the experience. There are many families that have one parent away for an extended period of time and at least in this situation you could see them a couple of times a month.

  • Dec 29 '16

    Some thoughts:

    1. Go back to court to get custody revised so that you can provide for you children.

    2. Then you could move to a more rural area where jobs are more plentiful.

    3. Work as an RN (unsure if that is what you are doing now?)

    From what we hear at AN, Florida is a saturated market for APRNs - I am sincerely sorry that you having such a hard time finding a job.

  • Dec 7 '16

    Quote from Jules A
    Although I know I'm more productive in real life I also believe the things I write here cause people to think regardless of if they agree or disagree and I also learn about different perspectives from other posters.
    Indeed. Your writings and that of others gave me a new perspective and insight that has served me quite well. It made me hungry for more and for what I deserve, desire, and require.

  • Dec 6 '16

    Preceptor training. We have looked at preceptor training as there is ample evidence from other disciplines that outcome quality is dependent on the effectiveness of the preceptor in their role; sadly many preceptors have never done any formal (or informal) training.
    Bedside nurses have gone through quite a bit of training in many places as preceptors. My job before this one was creating preceptor workshops and nurse residency courses and I trained nurses all over the country. It was fantastic. There will be a NP preceptor course created probably in the next year as grant funding is coming through. The CCNE has accredited many BSN programs, I think the NP one will follow the same teaching methods which is all based on adult learning principles. You are right, however, having a trained preceptor makes a big difference.

  • Dec 6 '16

    lol we all know its just a money bang. schools and BON get rich and people get to wear their white coats proudly. Everybody wins except the students at the tail end of the NP gold rush, currently working NPs, and the patients.
    NP schools are a lot more than you are giving them credit for. There are variances in school quality, but your sweeping statements are factless. I have seen a lot more physicians in favor of NP's than the opposite and if NP's were killing people at alarming rates, we would hear about it. It makes me nervous when I read posts from medical students who have such disrespect for a discipline they will have to work so closely with. If you like medicine better, great, go like medicine, but many physicians also really like working with NP's and value their input and expertise.

  • Nov 16 '16

    Because of this post. I'm sure majority of the nurses are renewing their malpractice insurance. =)

    The good news is... it sounds like the OP is now fully recovered! Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Nov 13 '16

    Quote from casias12
    Since somewhere around 40% of our dollars go to immigrants, legal or otherwise, who have not paid in, I believe a part of the cost savings plan will start there.
    Don't mean to go off topic but please quote your sources especially since you invoked legal immigrants as well who are eligible for legal employment. The data shows that undocumented immigrants actually contribute to state and local taxes at an estimated $11.64 billion annually. I don't support illegal immigration either but I strive for facts.