Dear Bobbi Jo and Patty Jo,
Thank you so much for your responses! I have to tell you that since I posted last, I took a job as a psych tech. Unfortunatly, I am even more confused and concerned now. I have discoverd that I really enjoy working with the patients. I feel there is such a need in this patient population for good nurses to act as patient advocates. In addition, I especially enjoy the large education component associated with psych nursing that I learned about in school and even experienced in my academic clinical rotation. However, I have to tell you that I am not seeing this in the facility I work at. I don' t know if Im just in a really bad hospital (there is some strong evidence that this is the case) or if this is just the way it is everywhere. I am not trying to be judgemental or offensive, Im just stating what I am seeing at this hospital. The nurses rarely ,if ever, come out from behind the nurses station. They totally depend on the techs (or I should I say "tech"..... sometimes 1:17 patients) to interact with the patients (which is very difficult to do effectively when your trying to do checks every 15 minutes,serve meals, take vitals and fill out your own bit of paperwork on each patient). They then use the information provided by the techs to give report. I do not know what the nurses are doing, but they look very, very busy with paper work. Is there really that much paper work associated with psych nursing that the nurses do not interact with the patients (except when they give meds...from behind the nurses station)? If so, then maybe I don't want to do psych nursing. Or is it possible that to interact with the patients the way I would like requires certification or higher education? Can you advise me? Am I just at a bad hospital? If not, then can you tell me what the expected duties of a psych nurse are? I really appreciate the time you have taken to answer my questions!