Quote from El_Tea
My instinct is that it's crazy to enter nursing school not wanting to be a "traditional" nurse, but I've seen NPs working in this type of setting before.
I entered nursing school not ever wanting to be any type of nurse. (Basically, I had just gone through a traumatic marital separation and needed something to do.) I didn't really have any interest in nursing. That is, until my first day of my psych clinical rotation. I have talked to many nurses, and many start out in nursing school believing that they will want to work one specialty and end up discovering a passion for a different specialty.
My advice would be get through an RN/BSN program, first. From your post, it sounds like you may have degree but are not yet an RN? One step at a time. Nursing school is no walk in the park, no matter what your background or how fabulous your GPA may be. Next, pass the NCLEX and obtain your license. The jobs are out there after these steps are completed. I don't know about others, maybe it was easier for some out there, but each one of these steps presented hurdles for me. PMHNP programs will be there if you still decide to go that route -after- you become an RN.
Consider the clinical rotations on other units as an extension of your passion for mental health. Patients (not to mention; their families and visitors) in ALL settings need to have mental health issues addressed. Conversely, you WILL see medical issues in some psychiatric patients, especially in the senior population. Confusion, agitation and hallucinations are common in elderly patients who are experiencing a UTI, for example. These patients are admitted to a psychiatric unit after meeting criteria, however, all they needed was treatment for the UTI.
I have considered PMHNP school myself, but I think that I'm leaning more towards law school (aaaahhh!) and trying to justify that move at this stage of my life. Anyway, all of this is just my opinion. It's wonderful that you have so many routes to choose from.