Working at State Psych Hospital - page 2

I have an interview next week for a RN position at a state hospital in Virginia and I am a little nervous and excited. I have spent almost 10 years working med-surg but have always had the desire in... Read More

  1. by   kaysrca
    margnurse, i have worked in a state hospital in PA. for thirty years. It really is different because usually patients stay much longer than in a general hospital psych. unit . We have patients who have been here as long as I have besides the ones who are here for lee than a year. It provides more time to get to know your patient but now the emphasis is on making stays shorter. I think you will find it different but something that can be quite rewarding.Wish you luck in your new job and hope you find it is something you like. Being leery is part of changing to something new.
  2. by   travel2lv
    Congradulations on getting your job, I have worked psych for quite a few years now and really like it. My only concern for you would be working in a acute admissions unit. I'm working on one now and have in the past (state). It is a fast paced environment and they are unstabilized so you really need to be careful. Now that I scared you half to death (I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you this), all I can say is check it out carefully, ask lots of questions before you start and if I can help further keep in touch.
  3. by   the new girl
    I think you will find that if you are enthusiastic now, it will hold true. You seem to have a deep rooted concern and interest for the mental health of others,... and that's what it takes. #1 Trust your instincts. You will learn quickly, and you will learn from the "veterans" who already work there, I've learned so much from my co-workers, skills you'll never find in a nursing textbook. I've worked in a State Psych Hospital for 2 1/2 years on an acute admissions unit (teens) and they are a VERY rowdy bunch. A wise doctor said to me one day... "It's obvious you are good at what you do, because you love it, and you care, I can see it on their faces, and the way they react to you... do me a favor though , if you ever stop loving it,.. get out. I've seen the psych field destroy too many doctors and nurses... they get burnt out... and that doesn't do the patient any good at all....." I guess I always keep that in the back of my mind, but so far I really really love what I do...
    And aside from budget cuts here and there, ..... life is GREAT!
    So, I wish you the best of luck!!! And I look forward to hearing about the new job!
  4. by   margnurse
    Well it has been almost 4 weeks since I started. I spent 2+ weeks in classes and now I have been on the ward about a week. The orientation has been a little disorganized on the ward but that may be related to holiday/vacation time. A lot of people have been asking me every day if I like it here. And sometimes I do but other times I am not so sure that I do. I am trying to reserve judgement for a little while. Most of the nurses have been great--welcoming and willing to orient/teach me the ropes. But there have been some others that are not as helpful and downright seem upset that I am even there. They don't even want me around when they are communicating with patients. I do love psych but the pace is so different to what I have been doing for the last several years. It is quite an adjustment.
  5. by   travel2lv
    Hi Margnurse, Hope you do great. I've been doing psych for a long time and still have some of the concerns you do so hang in there. travel2lv
  6. by   Woodchuck

    Please, please, please keep us posted on your experience. I applied to Western State in Staunton right out of nursing school (B.S.N. is my 2nd degree) after having worked for a community services board's substance abuse division for years. I wound up taking a med-surg oncology job instead for the internal medicine experience. I still envision winding up in either psyc or hospice some day, especially in an advanced practice capacity if one's available in the central VA area. I love it around that part of the state, but it seems as if there's a real glut of NPs due to its proximity to VCU/MCV and U.Va.

    Do you know if your facility employs any advanced practice RNs? What kind of tuition reimbursement plan does your facility offer?

    Thanks and continued good luck!
  7. by   margnurse

    Things are going pretty well. I am getting more comfortable on the ward and start taking charge tomarrow. I am a little nervous but will have a nurse following me around in case I have any difficulties. One thing that has been hard to get used to is the documentation. They do SOAP noting here and I have done much of that since nursing school 10 years ago.

    I met one of the CNS yesterday. I think WSH employs 3 or 4 CNS. Their role seems to be as resource/staff educator.

    I am also considering an advanced practice degree in psych nursing. It has been a long term goal of mine since I was in nursing school. I am considering the Advanced Practice in Psych Nursing/PNP Program at UVA. One of my nursing instructors had a practice at one point and it always seemed like something I would like to do. I even considered leaving nursing to pursue a MA in community counseling last year.

    I am a little fuzzy about the tuition reimbursement here. I know during my interview they mentioned a educational leave which let you take 3 credits per semester. I think they have total tuition reimbursement but I am not sure if there is a limit per year or semester. They did not mention it much during orientation. Maybe because of the budget cuts. Speaking of budget cuts, the powers that be say that 1-2 wards will be closed here and 46 beds will be cut. They say that there will not be any layoffs but may cut the staff with attrition, but we will see.
  8. by   FIDO

    If you, or anyone else for that matter, is looking towards North Carolina, I'd be happy to provide what information I can about both Dorothea Dix and Cherry Hospital. I've worked for the State since 1995, with over 6 years at Cherry Hospital.
  9. by   ceh
    I have a masters in psych! I love it! I have worked in several state hospitals, main land, and in Hawaii!!!! They deserve good nurses who care about them---go for it!!!!
  10. by   mailnurse
    Hey partner,
    I just finished working 2 1/2 years at a state hospital in a middle atlantic state-chronic unit,average pt age:50,little movement of patients in or out of the Unit as these were the sickest of the sick-schizophrenics and manic depressives with really low function.
    I loved these fruitcakes,and enjoyed joking around with them,hugging them(as they let me),getting angry at them(many like little children),and changing their diapers( 2 so had to wear these).I know they were fond of me(in their own way) and I was almost in tears when I cleared out my locker.
    Plus,I "smoked" them(unlocking courtyard door and doling out cigarettes to them) on occasion(even though that was a duty licensed staff very rarely took upon themselves as it was incuded in the psych nursing assistant's duties)and threw a Unit party or two for them,in addition to doing all the other little things that made them feel special.
    Myself and Administration did not get along too well-I spoke my mind and would not hesitate to bash the cowardly hospital director(figuretively speaking).
    Well,needless to say,when I screwed up they (Administration) lowered the boom on me big time.
    So,my resignation was accepted and I'm pounding the pavement for another job.

    Please stand out from among the crowd-State Hospitals are notorious for harboring deadbeat,paycheck collecting,what's- the -minimum -needed- to -stay- employed Staff(both licensed and unlicensed).The patients are worth more than that,much more.
  11. by   sanakruz
    I agree with you mailnurse.I have stories from my time in a state hosp. in Ct.-It was a very Gothic place, was later turned into a prison, and is now closed for the duration.
    Tell us more. I'd like to see this forum come alive!
  12. by   mailnurse
    Sanacruz,what state hospital in CT were you employed at?