Psych RNs - what is rewarding for you?


I'm currently in nursing school and about to start my Psych clinicals. I have been interested in psych for a long time, but after my initial orientation at the psych facility where my clinicals are, I realized that my idea of Psych nursing is probably not that similar to what actual day-to-day psych nursing is.

So, for those of you who have been or are currently Psych RNs, what did you find rewarding about it, if anything? Did it feel like you were making a difference in people's lives? Was therapy/therapeutic communication something that you participated in often with patients? Because I guess those are some of the attributes I'm looking for in my future nursing career.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,643 Posts

Psych RN for 20 years and I do find my job very rewarding. It is also stressful, difficult and frustrating. You do have to know what your role is. I take great pleasure in my daily interactions with my patients (Currently adolescents 13-17) dealing with their parents is another story. I am not licensed to do therapy but I do engage in something called therapeutic communication. My favorite things to do are to help my patients with goal, plans and actions, as well as medication education. The very best part is when a patient suddenly gets it and you see improvement.



MedTrans68, ASN

Specializes in Psych nurse. Has 9 years experience. 23 Posts

My paycheck

armygirlabn, ASN, BSN, CNA, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg/Tele/ER/PICC/Psychiatric nurse. Has 14 years experience. 53 Posts

I enjoy seeing the true person after they have been stabilized with medications. They arrive psychotic and leave totally different, stable.

Tenebrae, BSN, RN

Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative. Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 1,790 Posts

On 2/11/2020 at 10:47 PM, MedTrans68 said:

My paycheck


Also seeing patients who came in really unwell, leaving happy and healthy

Edited by Tenebrae


Specializes in Psych, Substance Abuse. Has 11 years experience. 210 Posts

What's rewarding for me are the rare days when law enforcement officers DON"T drag in "patients" who should have been arrested, i.e., the guy who interferes with a traffic stop, the guy who leaves a bar without paying and tries to drive away while drunk, and the woman who refuses to hand over her child to the dad who has a court-ordered custody agreement.



Has 10 years experience. 198 Posts

+1 on paycheck. And I agree about the police bringing in people who are just trouble makers, as opposed to mentally ill folk. The police love to dump folks on psych hospitals, just so they can avoid work. Outside of that, not much is rewarding. The tiny percent who need and want help are few and far between.


boogie_girl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 10 years experience. 7 Posts

I agree with the paycheck ? And for me it’s my schedule of no weekends or holidays since I work in a government clinic.

Though I have my reservations about working in psych, I think it’s rewarding when patients say thank you or that they tell you they appreciate your help. Some psych patients I deal with aren’t rational enough to communicate their needs in a calm way so it’s great when they are pleasant and cooperative. But also understand that they also have a mental illness. It’s not the easiest specialty to work in but there are good points too.



7 Posts

When I see someone clear up. It is amazing to me to see a mother, a father, a teacher, a lawyer, or a doctor, come out of a psychotic state and be able to live and work independently again. Our work is probably one of the most thankless nursing jobs, we are verbally abused most days, but if you can learn to not take it to heart, and realize that they're sick, the work is very rewarding.



507 Posts

Thank you all for sharing. Very inspiring insights.