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Psych Nursing Opportunities

gptrn gptrn (New) New

I recent got two job offers in two different fields, one being a psych nurse, I was wondering what kind of career opportunities can I find in the future if I do go the path of a psych nurse. I've already been told that nursing is a big field that I can always try to go another direction if I don't like the direction I took but I'd really like to invest my time in a career I can advance in instead of hopping around to different fields. I don't want to be on the floor as a psych nurse all my life, I'm hoping to start my Master's Degree soon, where could I go in the field of mental health nursing later on?

And another thing, I have experience working at a SNF and it was pretty chaotic with pt's with alzheimers and bipolar or psychosis and your occasional drug seekers, would I expect a psych hospital setting to be as chaotic?

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

There are a wide range of populations in psych facilities, and you will find that except for the ICU and geropsych units (both of which are their own beasts), psych hospitals are not quite as chaotic as you think. Many of the patients in psych facilities are just regular people who are currently experiencing a crisis or relapse of some kind. There are bound to be moments of craziness, same as in any facility.

As far as what to do with the masters, there's always education, administration, research, CNS and NP opportunities.

Even if you don't pursue the masters, you will find that what you learn in psych nursing will serve you very well in other nursing specialties, since you will find patients with psych issues everywhere (as you've already seen). I always tell nursing students that psych patients don't check their medical issues at the door when they're admitted...it works the same way when medical patients enter the med-surg unit: they bring their psych issues with them :)

Well I would think Mental Health Nursing would be a great experience to get into. I am just a brand new Grad nurse looking for work. I have been an LPN for the past 8 years and working on an Acute Rehab floor for a local Hospital. Based upon speaking with other Nurses, they luv Mental Health Nursing.

I do have an interview in the afternoon as a Mental Health Nurse. Hoping I can get onto that unit and start specializing in this field. Lots of avenues to look into Nursing. Take all advantages you can to find your niche.

YOu just described a psych unit as your job but more ;-) GL I have found it hard to go from psych to any other nursing. They say once a psych nurse always a psych nurse but I still don't know why lolol!~

I am a second career nursing student and will graduate in December with my BSN. I was laid off for almost a year from another field and I will start working as a mental health tech on Monday in a psych/substance abuse facility. I am really excited about the job and attend school with a few people that work there and they absoutely love it. It is part time and they are going to be very flexibile with my school schedule. I am not sure yet what field of nursing I want to go into at this point. It might be mental health and then again maybe not. I guess my concern is I hear people say if you are nurse is psych then it is hard to get hired in another speciality. Do you think that would be the same if I work as mental health tech while in nursing school will I then have trouble find a nursing job on say a med surg floor after I graduate if I decide psych is not for me? I did apply to some PCT jobs in hospitals but didn't hear back from them. This MHT posiition also pays much better than a PCT position in a hospital. I don't want the job to back fire on me but I also really need the job.


Specializes in Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Nursing.

Overall, from what I've heard from other psych nurses that started out in MedSurg, is that psych nursing is much better because the pace is reasonable and a lot less involved (less treatments, not as many medical devices involved such as IV pumps, etc.). For a MedSurg nurse coming from having to literally run and stand on his/her feet all shift, it's a nice change for the better. What I've also heard is that psych nursing is more interesting than MedSurg because it's less cookbook-ish in it's approach.

Anoetos, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 2 years experience.

I've requested a psych preceptor for my final semester in school, if nothing else, to "rule it out". I am very interested in it so these comments have been helpful.

Any suggestions on mental health opportunities besides state psychiatric hospitals? I am interested in mental health. Most recently I resigned from a state hostial for safety/staffing issues. Thanks!


Specializes in Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Nursing.


Usually most larger and medium sized hospitals have psych wards. Alot of these hospitals also are starting to staff their emergency rooms with psych specialty nurses/doctors so be sure to also read the full descriptions of ER openings as well. Scour the job posting boards of these hospitals for openings on the psych unit & in the ER.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

For a MedSurg nurse coming from having to literally run and stand on his/her feet all shift, it's a nice change for the better.

A warning to people looking to come into psych: the pace isn't always calmer and more sedate than med-surg. There have been many shifts where I've never had a chance to sit down. I may not be running after my patients with an IV pole or Foley, but I'm certainly running.

Is the pace better than med-surg? In all honesty, it often is better...but not always, so be prepared to stand and run when necessary. Is psych a "put your feet up" kind of job? Hell no :)

I am a recent licensed RN and i LOVE mental health; i knew that before i started school. I have applied to jobs with no luck. I am tempted to apply to other fields and i will have to if i have no answer but as part of the requirements, they ask for a Crisis intervention certificate. Where can i get that? What else could i do to make my otherwise empty resume look appealing? I have no prior experience only a heart full of desire to do my best!