confused psychiatic nurse

  1. Hi,
    I am a new grad just finished my degree in 12/2006 and passing the boards on 3/14/2007. I am very interested in psychiatric nursing because I have a previous Bachelors Degree in psychology and has worked as a Case Manager for the population for 4 years. I also worked at a mental health residential treatment facilty for 3 years while pursing my 1st degree. I have only worked as a psych nurse for 5 weeks and have heard so many other nurses say to me that I should have completed a year of med surg before begining the job. I know that med surge is not the field for me even though it may help with some skills. Being a Psych nurse is all I ever wanted to do, so why are people making me feel as if I am missing out on a part of my career that I can never get back. Is it a must that I complete 1 year of med surg even if have no plans on ever going into this area of nursing. Please I need advice!!!!!!!!!
    Last edit by nya2000RN on May 22, '07 : Reason: miss spelled
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    About nya2000RN

    Joined: May '07; Posts: 2

    16 Comments

  3. by   psychsurf
    I wouldn't stress it. I went straight into psych, and have never looked back. It is a speciality just like any other, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you're good at it, your care will speak for itself.

    You will run into situations where you will call upon your nursing school training, but I don't think you are doing yourself a disservice by skipping out on the "experience" of doing something you don't like (I hated med/surg) to go directly into what you love. You're probably better off as a new grad than other psych nurses who had that one year of medsurg experience more than a decade ago.

    Just be a great psych nurse.
  4. by   nya2000RN
    Thank you for your response it really helped! How long have you been a nurse?
  5. by   rotary
    I don't see why it would matter. Unless you're picking up casual shifts on a general surgery floor or something, those learned skills will fly out the window.

    We have RN's and RPN's who can't and won't start IV's; instead they'll call ICU to send an RN down and start one.

    If psychiatry is all you want to do, forget about med/surg.
  6. by   psychaprn57
    ITA with psychsurf. Try a job as a psych nurse in a general hospital on the inpt. psych. ward. You'll learn all you need. I also subscib to several nursing journals that feature med.-surg. issues. I've been a Psych. APRN for six years and a psych. nurse for 27 years. Good luck and come here for help and support. If psych. nurses gets consulted on medical floors why can't you call a med./surg. nurse to a psych. floor for help f you need it. Also many nurses go to psych. wih medical experience-learn fom them as well.
  7. by   pegbord
    I just love the title of your thread ---- cracks me up!
  8. by   epg_pei
    Quote from rotary
    We have RN's and RPN's who can't and won't start IV's; instead they'll call ICU to send an RN down and start one.
    I thought it was just my unit that did that, phew!
  9. by   mkohut_
    I found this post very helpful, thanks. I'm going to be graduating in six months with my BN and I am doing my senior practicum in psychiatry. Everyone keeps hounding me on going into medicine for senior practicum and a year or two thereafter. I absolutely hate medicine and never plan on working in medicine or surgery. Why would I want to do something I don't like for an entire year or more? People are so biased and think that the only nursing skills are the very physical skills nurses tend to do in med-surg. What about all the incredibly difficult skills that psychiatric nurses do on a daily basis? Stick with what you love doing or you may have regrets. Don't second guess your heart.
  10. by   MrChicagoRN
    In general, yes it would be best to get the year in as it does help to flesh out your overall nursing knowledge & skill base. It's much easier to get experience in a few different areas while your new then it is to apply to work in a totally different arena 10-20 years later.

    However, you've worked in various capacities in mental health & appear to have made your career decisions already. If you are fairly sure this where you want to be your whole career, then don't sweat it.

    Keep doing what you're doing.
  11. by   psykrn
    I have been a psych nurse for years!
    Diversified to Dir. UR/UM, Prison and now Dir of QA.
    No experience with Med Surge.
    I have a bachelor in Psychology and MBA.
  12. by   ASHHSS
    Remember, your identity as a nurse doesn't have to revolve around the number of motor skills you perform during a shift! Good nursing process will serve you well no matter where you practice. Good luck from a happy psych nurse of 11 years.
  13. by   AUMPsychRN
    I have been a psych/behavioral health RN for 6 years who went from school straight into psych - haven't regretted it so far. Skills are great but if you love what you are doing and it sounds like you have lots of experience - keep it up ... go for it..... wagons HO!!!

    Good luck
  14. by   NurseTronic
    I am a new grad (April 07) and took a PT job at a psych hospital in a child & adolescent unit ,which I am loving, and a FT job in an ICU. Honestly, I went to nursing school with the plan to become a CRNA for the money but during clinicals I really felt that psych was my calling.
    I enjoy being part of the mental health team and can see making a career in this field. I am pursuing both paths right now while learning more about mental health opportunities but I would prefer to just do psych and become a psych NP.
    I have the same concern though that I will be limiting myself without traditional hospital nursing experience.

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