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Solnce1981 Solnce1981 (Member)

Psych Unit Job Offer

First Year   (1,033 Views 8 Comments)
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Hello fellow AllNurses' members!

Would you please give your personal opinion?!

I am a new grad registered nurse who just got an offer from the Behavioral Health department in one of the hospitals in Chicago. The patients (male adults) usually stay for 5 days- 2 weeks in the unit to overcome crisis etc.

I was thinking about psych nursing while in school but unfortunately, I did not have any psych rotations. So, I am not sure what to expect during the job. It fascinates me but since I might have another offer coming I want to be surer that the psych position is what will make me want to go to work. Personally, I am afraid of combative patients since I am not a male but rather a tiny little female who does not know how to de-escalate the patient and does not have any defensive skills.

Please, would you share with me what to expect during the job? I absolutely loved the manager and an interviewing charge nurse but I do not want to be afraid at work and not be able to make a difference in a patient's care.

Thanks in advance:)

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Well, my advice since you are a new grad is to get medical experience before coming to psych because you will deal with medical issues compounded with the psychiatric issues. I will not say that violence and aggression is part of the job, because it never should be but you need to have the awareness that psychiatric (and all human beings) can be very unpredictable. As part of your training, however, you should learn de-escalation techniques and safety on the unit. I don't want to scare you. I love working psych. But...Things do happen. That's life and even the most resilient nurses sometimes cannot come back from it. I don't want to sugarcoat what its like. A lot depends on the management, the environment and that nurse:patio ratio, and DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH TECHS!!!!!

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Every facility will look different. The best recommendation I can give is ask for a job shadow, even a few shifts to shadow, and ask loads of questions to the unit staff. They will give you the best understanding of what to expect.

Like every area of nursing, it takes a special heart to work a psych unit. If you feel passionate, go for it. And make sure you know of your safety resources (that goes for every nursing position!)

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Thank you very much for your answers and a valuable link to other threads! It is much appreciated!!!

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I personally love psych, it's what I would do if I could. But, I can't right now. One thing to remember about psych is that the patients are very smart. Crazy just means crazy, it doesn't mean stupid. If you treat them with respect and give them the truth, it will go much better. They will still try and pull fast ones on you, test you, shock you, etc... They are smart and love getting a reaction. Stay focused. Never let your guard down, obey rules of the unit to the T. Hopefully, you will have plenty of big, trained male techs on a male psych unit. I agree with the comment that you need medical experience first.

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I started out in psych straight out of school. I personally love psych and was really excited to start. Like you, I was really nervous about de-escalation and how to protect myself. I found that the team I work with knew I was going to be nervous and worked with me a lot until I got the hang of how to handle things. I know I am never alone on my floor and that people are always watching. You'll find support and watch how everyone handles different situations. You'll learn what works best for you.

Good luck and best wishes as you go forward!

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