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Psych Nurse w/o Military Experience - Insight?

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by NCindasun21 NCindasun21 (Member) Member

2,876 Profile Views; 50 Posts

Greetings!

I've found myself with an opportunity I'd like to explore. The facility I work at is starting to see a lot of returning soldiers with PTSD. I've been studying up on the topic and have completed the VA's PTSD 101 course. I've not yet approached my supervisor about transferring to that ward because I want to be able to present a well thought out proposal.

I have been a psych nurse for quite a while and I'm considered one of the senior nurses in the facility. I'm the go-to nurse for everything from med questions to calming out of control patients and family. My biggest hurdle is that there is "competition" for the positions from 2 vets. I would NEVER take a job away from a vet. Both of them are employed by the facility and are in no danger of losing their positions.

In your opinion, does NOT having military experience hinder or help my ability to provide a positive experience for the patients struggling with PTSD? On one hand I've done as much of the academic preparation as I possibly can and my other skills are very strong. I am older and calmer than most. I've worked with some of the toughest patients without the need for restraints and Thorazine is used only as a last resort.

On the other hand, I can't possible be able to relate to their experiences but I've also never been in a gang, raped, been addicted to drugs, etc, as my other population has. Do the vet nurses run a risk of triggering their own PTSD or being drawn into "commiserating" with the patients?

Am I over thinking this? I truly only want what's best for the patients and the opportunity to expand my skills is very exciting. Your thoughts?

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nurse2033 is a MSN, RN and specializes in ER, ICU.

3 Articles; 2,122 Posts; 28,437 Profile Views

I do think you are over-thinking this. You want to help vets. You have experience and skills. Go for it. You're a nurse. Male nurses treat female patients, old nurses treat young patients... whatever. If you get the job it is because you are the best candidate, and therefore can provide the best service for your patients. You seem to have a passion for this area, so use that to do a great job.

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357 Posts; 4,370 Profile Views

I like nurse2033's response and I think it is good to keep in mind. I would go for it. I am also interested in working with vets in a similar capacity and have asked myself a similar question. In talking with some vets I realized that you may run into some people who feel that you can't relate, but hopefully your passion will help them get over it. If not, they may need to find someone else to help them. Not all relationships are good ones. Good luck with it!

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