Should I get med/surg experience before psych?

  1. I am going to be graduating in May and I am trying to decide where I would like to apply for new grad positions. I have a gut feeling it would be wise to get some med/surg experience for at least a year or two before switching to psych. I feel like getting the basics down would set me up for a more solid foundation. However, I am dreading the thought of being on a med/surg floor. It just didn't feel like the right fit for me. I have always been interested in psych. I was only a few credits short of my LADC before switching to nursing school. Do psych units even hire brand new grads? Has anyone gone in to psych nursing fresh out of school and regretted it? Just looking for some opinions. Thanks!
  2. Visit ljgeronsin profile page

    About ljgeronsin

    Joined: Dec '14; Posts: 3

    9 Comments

  3. by   OldDude
    My dinosaur nursing school instructors all fed the same propaganda, you have to have med/surg experience before you can branch to a specialty. I went from nursing school straight into ER. I've never worked a day in med/surge. OK, well let me correct that. One shift there were a bunch of nurse absences on one of the floors and I was floated, against my will, to that floor for that shift - one shift. You'll learn what you need to know in the department you go to work at. I know there are a lot of those who will disagree. That's what is good about this forum. You can hear opposite sides and make your own decision.
  4. by   Farawyn
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  5. by   caliotter3
    If you want to work in psych and get offered a psych position, take it and enjoy your new job. If you get offered a med surg job, take it, get experience for at least a year or two, look for what you really want, then move on when you feel the time is right. Put your energy and enthusiasm into the job that you land and you will have a good entry for your new nursing resume. Good luck.
  6. by   motor_mouth
    I went straight to psych. I am just NOT a floor nurse! It's been almost a year and I don't regret it. I can't see myself ever regretting it.
  7. by   deza
    Hi Ijgeronsin, I plan on going straight into psych also after I graduate in May, unless I really like ICU this next semester. I'll be starting as an MHT here pretty soon at a hospital's behavioral health department. During the interview the manager said that they do offer a two year contract, so it sounds like to me that they would be willing to hire a new grad. Med/Surg is of no interest to me either.
  8. by   umbdude
    I have 2 semesters left and I will go into psych right away. I'm an older student and don't feel like hopping around areas I don't love. I work in inpatient psych and know it's for me. Many psych RNs on my unit went right into psych and they're great.

    Psych units do hire new grads...more so than med/surg or other units in my area, which is extremely competitive for new grads. That's probably because very few nursing students want to go into psych.

    Some hospital psych units do manage medical conditions as well and you can look into those.
  9. by   Scarlettz
    If you know psych is what you want to do, then go straight for it. Psych was the reason why I went into nursing. I could not find a job in it and landed a med-surg job first. I have been here for two years and still suck at IVs and NG tubes. I can't wait to find a psych job. I might have an interview coming up this week.

    It won't hurt to start in med-surg, it can open up other doors if you decide you want to try something else. But, not necessary if you know you want to do psych.
  10. by   FurBabyMom
    Apply where you want to - you never know. You may get what you want. Or you may not, and something better may basically fall into your lap. I didn't want adult neuro med/surg/tele, I wanted NICU/NICU stepdown or peds somewhere. Because I didn't get the job(s) I *thought* I wanted I wasn't happy and was open to looking, and found my current job (which most days I love). The time where I started wasn't a waste, I learned so much!

    When I worked as a floor nurse I had a lot of psych patients. Where I worked didn't medically (or surgically) stabilize psych patients (an example of the restrictions being that they wouldn't take patients who needed an IV). Often we'd get the patient as an admit, stabilize then transfer to inpatient psych. Not saying other facilities work this way, this is just my experience.

    Psych patients (or family members) are everywhere. They need and deserve to be treated in the ED, they have elective or emergency surgery, they are sometimes so sick to need placement in ICU, etc.

    Go for whatever you want to apply for. You can switch specialties later if nothing else.
  11. by   vegasmomma
    I have a friend who started out in med surg before psych where she is now and loves it. Her med surg experience came in handy when she quickly called Dr for ultra sound when an older patient c/o calf pain. He did indeed have a DVT. She credited her prior med surg experience for the catch.

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