Jump to content

Mental health nursing and cover letter

Hi All,

I am a new grad BSN and am applying for positions in psychiatric nursing, which is my passion. Part of the psych interest is because I like to help people with psychological problems and part is because I have struggled with depression and ADHD. Do you think a psychiatric hospital/acute care hiring team will look favorably on my cover letter if I include this, or further stigmatize these issues? Your wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks!

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

1 hour ago, psych nurse in training said:

Hi All,

I am a new grad BSN and am applying for positions in psychiatric nursing, which is my passion. Part of the psych interest is because I like to help people with psychological problems and part is because I have struggled with depression and ADHD. Do you think a psychiatric hospital/acute care hiring team will look favorably on my cover letter if I include this, or further stigmatize these issues? Your wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks!

I would not include that information. It seems well-assumed that psych nurses are "a little crazy" themselves, but your own needs and difficulties should never be discussed with your employer in any non-required way. Remember to stay patient focused.

 

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Has 18 years experience. Specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

5 minutes ago, Sour Lemon said:

I would not include that information. It seems well-assumed that psych nurses are "a little crazy" themselves, but your own needs and difficulties should never be discussed with your employer in any non-required way. Remember to stay patient focused.

 

have to agree Sour Lemon on this one- make sure your own mental health house in order befor applying and never talk about your own mental health struggels at work. 

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Has 18 years experience. Specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

10 minutes ago, psych nurse in training said:

OK, thanks for the info. This is about what I expected and rather unfortunate.

It is not unfortunate. It is simpy a fact that regardless of what you ahve been through developing and maintaining strong boundaries is essential in any nursing job , even more so in psych. One must be careful or they will being to experience transferance and then their own mental health suffers. 

Hppy

 

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Has 25 years experience. Specializes in school nurse.

17 hours ago, psych nurse in training said:

Hi All,

I am a new grad BSN and am applying for positions in psychiatric nursing, which is my passion. Part of the psych interest is because I like to help people with psychological problems and part is because I have struggled with depression and ADHD. Do you think a psychiatric hospital/acute care hiring team will look favorably on my cover letter if I include this, or further stigmatize these issues? Your wisdom would be appreciated. Thanks!

If you're a new nurse and haven't yet worked in it, I'd avoid framing ANY sort of nursing as your passion. Simply put, pre-experiential ideas about nursing practice can set you up for big disappointment when you actually get into the setting. This isn't to scare you off, just to let you know that reality can often kick us in the backside...

Chickenlady, ADN

Has 6 years experience. Specializes in ER, GI, Occ Health.

Don't include personal medical info in there.  

 

The reason I brought this up is that I've seen suggestions about describing one's passion for nursing in terms of "this is why I want to work in this field/department." It is not because I sprung from a policy and procedure manual, even though that might be a clean explanation. Transference is an issue in nursing of all stripes in my limited experience. This may be harder to avoid for those who can't/don't acknowledge their hang-ups and past. I'd like to get to the point where employers can help foster emotional maturity and true empathy in a healthy way, rather than a reflexive, "this nurse sounds complicated and I don't want to deal with it." I do take the point that it is not a good thing to put on a cover letter. I'll be more creative/guarded about why I believe delivering quality psych care is important so that I can go work to make a difference. Please don't take offence to this gr8ful, written conversation on forums can't possibly have the nuance or tone it would in real life. I appreciate your feedback.

Jed, I see where you are coming from with the blank slate idea. I am open to changing course as opportunities arise. Nursing is now my second or third career and I think I am more pragmatic and less idealistic than when I graduated with my first degree. Will I seek to change things and will that make some people uncomfortable? You bet. At the same time I want to learn from others and be tactful and collaborative. I also don't want to be cut down by organizational inertia.

I'm OK with boxing myself into psych nursing to some extent given it is what I care most about. That could also play into hospice, community health, etc. I have my eye on being a PMHNP at some point in the future and will try to make that happen when the right situation comes along.

Enough brain dump for now, I think I cleared out some Covid cobwebs. 😉

17 hours ago, hppygr8ful said:

have to agree Sour Lemon on this one- make sure your own mental health house in order befor applying and never talk about your own mental health struggels at work. 

Fair enough.

dallasmiss, MSN, APRN

Has 6 years experience. Specializes in Emergency Psychiatry.

Rather than including personal medical issues, you could address mental health diagnoses/causes that are important to you. There are a wide variety of focuses in mental health and you could use the cover letter to discuss what interests you the most and why. Some examples include:

-General Adult Psychiatry

-Pediatric Psychiatry, Adolescent Psychiatry

-Geriatric Psychiatry

-Addiction Medicine and what addictions interest you the most

-Emergency Psychiatry/Crisis Intervention

-Military/First Responder

-Trauma Informed Care

-Community Based Mental Healthcare

....and more

 

 

Edited by dallasmiss

It is too bad, but I agree with leaving it off. I recently applied to a PMHNP program. As I was writing my personal statement, I decided to avoid talking about my own journey with serious anxiety. In reality, that is part of the reason I am drawn to the field. I see so very many anxious patients who are getting (in my opinion) really poor treatment, and I want to help that population, among others of course. But I just decided that, a personal statement is so short.  I’d basically only be able to reveal “I have XYZ diagnosis” and then explain that I want to help others. That would leave the reader trying to piece together how functional I am, whether I cope well, am I taking benzodiazepines, would I be unreliable due to phobias etc. It’s something I can certainly reveal once I have an established relationship, but to throw it in to a statement or a cover letter or resume just brings up a lot of questions for whoever is reading it. 

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Has 20 years experience. Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

You definitely don't want to disclose your own diagnosis to a potential employer, not even in psychiatry. Hiring managers who work in a mental health environment may not have the slightest understanding of a candidate's psychiatric issues. You have to be VERY careful whom you share your private health information with. I don't recommend it under any circumstances. I have bipolar I and lost two jobs because I let the cat out of the bag at work.

The other consideration is this: There is virtually no place in therapeutic communication for a nurse to share her/his struggles with mental health. The experience is always about the patient, not the nurse. Oversharing with patients can also be used against you, especially by manipulative individuals and those with sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies. Just don't do it.

I wish you the very best in your journey. Take care. Viva

×

By using the site you agree to our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies.

OK