PMHNP advice

Nursing Students NP Students

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I am frozen with indecision on my choice to pursue PMHNP or FNP. Are there any PMHNPs out there that could weigh in?

What does your average day/patient population look like?

What type of facility do you work at?

Are you glad you chose this field of work?

The specialty is good, in that there are almost always job openings and multiple areas to work: solo/group private practice, corporate outpatient clinic, inpatient hospital, substance abuse/alcohol recovery program. Pay varies according to location. At my private practice, i typically see around 14 patients a day, 30 min follow up appts and one-hour new patient evals. Work-life balance is best in private practice; however, benefits like healthcare and retirement are not as good as working for a bigger company.

Thank you very much for your response. I'm feeling good about my decision to pursue PMHNP. In the enrollment process now with Eastern Kentucky University.

Ive researched many schools and I like the EKU curriculum and schedule.

Looking foward to working with various native tribes in my state of Az.

I am a PMHNP and work as a C-L in multiple settings. This is an extremely common dilemma for future NPs, and the question is nearly impossible to answer. Since I know nothing about you or your situation, my default answer is to go the FNP route. You can always go back for the PMHNP cert. There are far more PMHNPs that wish they had a FNP than the other way around.

Good to know. Thank you for the input. I can understand how the FNP would be beneficial up front to get a basic medical foundation then branch off into a specialty such as mental health.

I am a new RN of 2 years, I have not worked in the psych setting. My areas of interest are suicidality, forensic nursing, substance abuse, and medication assistive therapy for recovering addicts.

I would like to shadow a PMHNP for a week to see what their work week and job responsibilities looks like.

I sound like a broken record around this place. But, do you want to make it your life's work to help people in mental and emotional anguish? Furthermore, are you willing to put up with the realities of a system that will try to frustrate the taking care of these most vulnerable people at every turn?

I ask these questions because I see a lot of posts here about how to get into PMHNP school or how to make the previously mentioned decision without a whole lot of mention of really having an impulse to care for the "mentally ill."

It's one thing to have a passing interest in subjects related to "mental health." I assure you it is quite another to get down in the muck and be with people.

Well said for sure. Getting down to the muck of it all day and day out may not be my cup of tea. And yes, I do have "passing interests" in mental health. While I am interested in forensics, suicidality, and substance abuse, the heavy burden of being trapped in a mental illness and trying to help someone get out could definately be a challenge.

Thank you for your post.

Appreciate your comment.

In my experience, i do not think it is necessary to get an FNP for the "medical foundation." Prior to becoming an PMHNP, i spent about 2 years in the ER (some of which was in trauma), 4 years in critical/cardiac ICU, then about 2 years in inpatient psych hospital. After this experience, i'm pretty confident about how/when to order necessary medical workup and refer to appropriate sources. Admittedly, i went this route knowing that i was going into psych eventually and purposefully worked on these medical units for my "medical foundation." The approach to my psychiatric patients does not differ much from the approach i took when i was working those previous specialties as an RN.

Wow. You had/have a very well rounded RN experience prior to becoming a PHMNP. I have only had 2 years experience on a med surg floor so Im a little apprehensive to jump right into the NP role in mental health. But I am going to move foward with coming up with a plan. I know I am drawn to the mental health of a patient rather than the physical. I can do nursing tasks and skills all day long but walk away with only temporary satisfaction.

Your comments are very helpful to me.

Thank you very much.

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health.
On 6/17/2019 at 11:40 AM, mtnbiker said:

I have only had 2 years experience on a med surg floor so Im a little apprehensive to jump right into the NP role in mental health.

Why not get some psych RN experience if you are apprehensive? You can develop important insights into this population working as a psych nurse and whether it is for you.

I am in the process of doing just that. I have requested to shadow a PHMNP and am now looking for behavioral health RN openings in my area.

I live in Northern Arizona, Sedona area. Im checking around for psych jobs in Prescott and Flagstaff

Thank you for your response and being part of my quest for knowledge.

Just finished my psych rotation in nursing school. If you're looking for experience rotating through ASH or St. Luke's psychiatric wards would help lend perspectives. I met multiple RNs currently going through ASU's DNP program with PMHNP cert focus.

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