Psych Nursing - Boring? - page 2

Hi all, So I'm a nursing student and we are halfway through our mental health clinical rotation. I am finding it completely boring, and so are many of my classmates. It seems as though the nurses... Read More

  1. by   NotMeanJustAverage
    One of the things I enjoy most about psych nursing is the ability to structure my day however I'd like... to an extent. True, there are tasks that must be completed each shift. There are groups and meetings that you cannot reschedule. Charting can be time-consuming and keep you more acquainted with your sticky keyboard and broken chair than your patients. But the extent of patient interaction is really within your control. Can you be a psych nurse who works from inside the fishbowl and emerges only when nature calls, doing your "assessments" while en-route to the loo? Sure. But can you work towards maximizing your efficiency in computer tasks, log out, and go mix it up in the milieu? Heck yeah.

    When an A&O patient with intact memory comes up to me and says, "Who's my nurse?"... I know I've been spending too much time at my computer.

    Boring? I say it's largely what you make it.

    Best!
  2. by   Smoo218
    I am a CNA, so I guess I can't fully answer your question, but I would say psych nursing is most definitely what you make of it. You can choose to pass your meds and then make yourself unavailable for the remainder of your shift, but you can also do so much more! I work at two facilities, one is a hospital with more medical issues, and one straight psych, but both places I can usually find plenty of patient interaction and things to do. Some of the nurses I work with leave patient interaction to the CNAs and then ask us for info when charting, so that may be the problem where you are. I've heard amazing stories some nights and spent some nights physically active in keeping patients safe, dodging punches, and distracting exit-seekers. As a previous post said, it is what you make it.
  3. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from hrnurse
    I was not thrilled by my psych rotation either, probably because the preceptors had us sit in AA meetings and not much else . If you enjoy psych, it's far from boring. Perhaps you just need to find your niche facility.
    The problem with psych rotations in nursing school is that they let the nursing students do precious little. In other specialty rotations, students are doing a lot of hands-on patient care. But in most psych rotations, they can't pass meds (and so miss out on many opportunities to do IMs), they can't do physical assessments, they can't participate in codes, they are often limited in which patients they can interact it--sometimes for genuine safety reasons and sometimes because their CI is too anxious/cautious/paranoid...so yeah, it's not much more than taking vitals, sitting in groups and talking to a select few patients.

    If that's all you get to do, it's going to be very boring. The real job is far from that...it's just a shame that students don't get to experience it.
  4. by   3peas
    Is psych boring? No. You state you want to work psych and that is awesome! I would talk to your clinical instructor and he or she might be able to give you more insight. Remember there are many different areas to psych besides acute inpatient. Your situation could be the floor you are on:
    * Related to type of patients (addiction, low psychosis, gero psych (would not be boring), intellectual differences)
    * Related to physician: are patients being over-medicated and zombie-like?
    * Related to Nursing: Understaffed and only have time to pass meds/chart? Low morale? Hospital attitude where they prefer clinical staff to interact more with patients?
    * Related to protecting you: When I have had student nurses I really didn't have much for you to do or witness because our hospital was so acute I feared for their safety and I kept them away from patients. They were not trained in our safety measures and I honestly didn't trust their instincts or my patients not to sense fear.

    I love psych and we need passionate nurses. I left critical for psych because ICU was just too predictable for me, so to each their own. Good luck!
  5. by   3peas
    Quote from Smoo218
    I am a CNA, so I guess I can't fully answer your question, but I would say psych nursing is most definitely what you make of it. You can choose to pass your meds and then make yourself unavailable for the remainder of your shift, but you can also do so much more! I work at two facilities, one is a hospital with more medical issues, and one straight psych, but both places I can usually find plenty of patient interaction and things to do. Some of the nurses I work with leave patient interaction to the CNAs and then ask us for info when charting, so that may be the problem where you are. I've heard amazing stories some nights and spent some nights physically active in keeping patients safe, dodging punches, and distracting exit-seekers. As a previous post said, it is what you make it.
    Love our psych CNA's!!!!!
  6. by   FolksBtrippin
    I do not find psych nursing boring. Once in a while on the child psych unit we had very low census, and that could have been boring.

    Some facilities put excessive paperwork on the nurses. Then nurses spend a lot of time behind the desk and they get less job satisfaction.

    At my last facility, there was no unit secretary, so all of that stuff fell on me. It sucked. I like time with patients.

    Now I work on a pact team. (Program of assertive community treatment) I spend most of my day in the community with patients (clients). I like it so much. Research it and see if it's for you.

    Good luck.
  7. by   mryabird
    Psych clinicals in school were boring as heck! It's a sad truth. As students you can't do much, you aren't given much direction and it as awkward as all get out. Honestly, after my psych rotation I had no clue what a psych nurse even did. However, I still ended up in psych despite my largely awkward and boring clinical experience. I work on a pediatric inpatient unit and it keeps me busy. Lots of de-esclation to be done and home-sick kiddos to soothe. I savor the precious moments that do get boring because it is a sign that the kids are all participating in treatment and doing well.

    I do agree with the sentiment that you can choose to make it boring. There are plenty of nurses who spend little time interacting in the milieu. The more time you spend with your patients the less boring it is. Sometimes, however, no matter how much you try and be boring the "excitement" finds you anyway.
  8. by   Kittenx
    Quote from Nimrodel
    Hi all,
    So I'm a nursing student and we are halfway through our mental health clinical rotation. I am finding it completely boring, and so are many of my classmates. It seems as though the nurses only chart, pass meds, and call the physician, with extraordinarily little patient time. I'm SUPER disappointed by this! Psych has been the thing I've most looked forward to my entire time since deciding I wanted to be a nurse, and it was what I most pictured myself doing when I graduate. I've even accepted a position as a tech at a psychiatric hospital. But psych nursing at the hospital I'm doing clinical at seems insanely boring and I think I'd be bored to tears. So far I've been on both the adult and adult ICU units.

    So, I'd like to ask those of you who have experience in the field: what do psych nurses do at your facility? Is it typically "boring"? How much patient interaction do you have on a typical day?

    I'm not trying to offend anyone, and I know that psych nursing is not easy work. I'm not trying to make it out to be a lesser profession; as previously stated, I've spent several years wanting to do it when I graduate. But now I'm questioning those plans and would like to get a sense of what people's experiences are so I can refine my sense of what I'd like to do once I graduate.

    Thanks!
    I would say at first I didn't see as many staff-patient interactions as I would have liked to see. As I worked more, I did see more..

    I had a similar comment from someone I just oriented. Now, this is saying that the ratio at the facility is appropriate and the nurses have time to work with the clients. Psychiatric nursing is what you make of it. You can do one-to-ones, work on your therapeutic relationships/rapport, assess/re-assess, you can work on coping tools, spend time with the clients and be therapeutic with them. Or you can be an over-glorified babysitter who doesn't get involved, passes medications and charts.

    What you do is up to you. Your experience is what you make it.

    Edit: I just wanted to say that during my clinical rotation, I said that psych nursing is where nursing went to die. Its very different from the buzz of a medical unit. Yet I found myself here and I LOVE IT. I don't have the opinion at all now.
    Last edit by Kittenx on May 8
  9. by   SDStudent1
    I mean no disrespect, I am not talking about you in particular. Just offering my 2 cents. From my experience, I find that in psych your level of boredom is directly related to what kind of nurse you are. There are a lot of people who see the profession as glorified babysitters and stay in the nursing station, see the patients the minimum amount of time, chart and then go home. On the flip side you have those who hate charting because it takes away from their time to interact with the patient, learn how to communicate, and de-escalate. Charting is important for your job, interaction is important for your patient. The nurse can choose to interact or not. For example, I have a patient that the last time he was in he got me really good with a headbutt. That was a while back. Today, if he starts to escalate I am able to calm him down because he trust me and I have good rapport with him. That didn't happen from me staying in the nursing station being bored. That took a lot of time and effort to develop. My advice would be if you are bored, then you most likely aren't doing it right. You should be honest with yourself and decide if you are suited to work in psych. Nursing is a huge field and there is no sense to stick to a career you are not meant to be in. Psych can be an emotional roller coaster that not many people are cut out. Doesn't mean anything is wrong with you as a person (probably means you are the normal one in fact lol). Just means it might be worth it to move on to something else.
  10. by   joe007
    I don't think it's boring at all. Creating a therapeutic milieu is what is different from a medical floor -- which I like because I like calm and creating calm environments. If you like crazy non-stop action go to the ER (been there, done that). What's interesting in psych is when you talk to people and get their story. Additionally, I would argue people are a mystery -- you're the detective trying to figure them out. Unlike physical health, mental health a lot of the time remains nebulous at best. Understanding the diversity of people, their experiences, and how they work will make you a better psych nurse and you will start to see patterns in other patients with slight variations of certain diagnosis. If you find human behavior interesting, mental health is a great field.
  11. by   hppygr8ful
    I don't think I've had a boring day in psych in a good 15 years - things were relatively quiet today so we broke out the Karaoke machine and did sing a longs

    Hppy
  12. by   s1716698
    I am in Australia in an Acute Adult unit

    It's a wonderful job, it's not for every one

    It's about connecting with your patients

    Spending time, building trust and rapore

    I use a conversational style

    All the best

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