Psych Travel Assign. Question


I have been offered a travel assignment at a behvioral hospital with peds, adolescents, adults and acutely psychotic wings/areas. I am wondering if it would be completely out of line/inappropriate for me to accept the assignment on the condition I do not work with acute psych at all or until I feel confident on that wing or request to do only admissions and discharges? I might feel differently after being at the facility but I have not had a chance to interview in person it was a phone interview. I feel like I have a healthy amount of fear or caution and don't want to turn down the position completely I would love to be able to experience psychiatric nursing but I am leary especially after having read reviews on this facility where previous employees stated that this was not a very safe place to be and that there was no security in place to protect the staff and suggested looking elsewhere. I don't want to base everything on these reviews but it certainly is a concern for myself and the patients. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Has 6 years experience.

Its always better to be cautious. I work in a psychiatric hospital and I HATE getting pulled to another unit because I don't know the behavior of the new patients.

umbdude, MSN, APRN

1,227 Posts

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health. Has 6 years experience.

If the reviews say it's not a safe place, I would believe it. How long is the assignment? If you're very eager to get inpatient psych experience and it's not a long assignment (3 months), maybe it's worth the risk. I would ask about the nurse-patient ratio and how many techs are available. Also ask whether there will be a charge nurse who will handle the most acute patients. Most travel assignments require some acute psych experience. I wonder why they are willing to take someone with no inpatient experience.

Good luck.


32 Posts

Thanks for the information. The nurse who interviewed me over the phone said there will be 2 nurses and one tech to every 20 patients. The one review mentioned that they cant keep anyone/staff and orientation sign never goes down hence the travelers. I did have sine in pt geri-psych experience x 2 months 8 years ago and it was pretty quiet. No acute psychosis though. I have decided to just call and ask if I would be expected to cover acute psychotic patients during the 3 month assignment.


3 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatric mental health nursing. Has 7 years experience.

In an acute setting that seems like an awful ratio. I worked inpatient psych and even when we were short-staffed we would have 2 nurses and 2 techs for 17 patients. On good days we would have 3 nurses and 3 techs.


32 Posts

Thank you for your input, it's super helpful. I appreciate it!


46 Posts

The last travel assignment I worked I made it clear that I wanted to work only the inpatient units and not the psych ED. I even got a letter from Human Resources verifying that I would only be placed on the inpatient units.

First day of orientation my assigned unit was "psych ED"

I said, "That's not happening, I will walk away."

During the two weeks of orientation I was told several times, "Oh, you're assigned to the ED"

Then, when I finally got on an inpatient unit, it took another week to get credentials for EMR and medications. By way of explanation my manager said, "Well, you weren't supposed to be here anyway."

I stood my ground, did my 13 weeks, and got out.

You are entering a legal contract. You can negotiate anything you want to.

If you don't stand up for yourself, nobody will.