alternatives to hospital-based psych nursing?

  1. I went to nursing school to be a psych nurse as a second career, but now, a couple of months into my first job in a psych hospital, I'm not sure I'm cut out for working in a hospital like this. I am just not fast enough, and am swamped with paperwork and I keep getting told not to talk to the patients so much (this means more than about 7 minutes per assigned patient or about 30-40 minutes total in an 8-hour shift).

    I'd put up with the paperwork and lack of meaningful patient contact, if only in the hope that I would eventually get faster and be able to finish the paperwork faster and squeeze in some extra time with the patients, but I'm not even sure they want me.

    Is there anything else in psych nursing that I might be able to do as a relatively new grad? Any other settings where you can actually engage in therapeutic communication with patients? And where speed isn't as essential as it is for a floor nurse?
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    About greenbeanio

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 201; Likes: 202
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in mental health


  3. by   Imei
    If it's an option to continue on for a Master's Degree, consider mental health counseling, with an emphasis on dual diagnosis clients. Clients with poorly controlled diabetes, eating disorders, mood disorders in combination with recovery from an injury -- all of these people can benefit by seeing a medically-trained person, not just an LMHC.
  4. by   Wabi Sabi
    It can be frustrating sometimes how little time we have to spend interacting with patients. Since you work 8-hour shifts, I imagine it would be hard to spend time with your patients. I work 12-hour shifts and usually we have some downtime in the afternoon where we can walk around and talk to patients more. If you want more 1-1 interaction, maybe you should consider something like out-patient clinic or something.
  5. by   birdsongRN
    There is lots you can do, depending on your area, I guess. Assertive community treatment is a really fun option for psych nurses who want to have (much) more interaction & longterm therapeutic relationships with clients. Also, community based clinics like Healthcare for the Homeless or other non-profit healthcare systems. Some of those don't pay as well, but there are huge benefits in the rewarding interactions you are able to have with your clients. I left inpatient pysch nursing for the same reasons, less than a year out of school & have never looked back. Don't give up searching for the right fit.
  6. by   greenbeanio
    Imei - thank you for the suggestion. So would that be a CNS degree or an NP degree? And do you know of any good programs where you actually learn how to do psychotherapy, not just prescribing?

    Wabi Sabi - any idea of what a psych nurse's duties might be in an outpatient clinic and whether or not they might include counseling?

    birdsongRN - thank, thank you, for your words of encouragement! And for letting me know about ACT.