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Question for the new grads?

by Latomian Latomian (New) New


I was just wondering if anyone knew if all nurses started out in a hospital and then branched out to different areas later? See, I have a Bachelors in Psych and I'm driven to Psychiatric Nursing (I'm trying to get a mental health tech position). I'm currently a pre-nursing student applying for Spring 2011 admission (fingers crossed).

However, I was wondering if after nursing school, I would have to resign to working in a hospital at first to gain some experience (which is an area I pretty much want to avoid) or do other areas hire new grads? I was pretty much told by an advisor that as a new grad, my options were limited to LTC and hospital nursing but I just wanted to hear what actual new grads had to say about it.


I think thats great that you know what you want to do and where you want to go...In my opinion since you are pretty specific, I would sit down with a nursing advisor at your school or contact a future potential employer and tell them your "goal" what you want to do and see what they say...sorry I am not much help however I think this is the best route to go to get you where you want to be- good luck and congrats!!

if mental health nursing is what you want then you should have no problem getting a job right out of school I THINK. I hear at least in my area that they hire new grads every year. However I am refering to an inhospital mental health unit so you would be working in a hospital technically :)


Specializes in stroke/telemetry. Has 1 years experience.

I am a huge believer that networking is the key to getting any job. If you know you want to do mental/health nursing when you graduate and not in a hospital you need to start contacting the places where you would like to potentially work when you graduate. Ask them if you could shadow a nurse for the day; see if you can volunteer, etc. Also, if your school allows you any say in where you spend your clinicals, you may be able to spend some clinical hours in the office where you would like to work. This would give you the perfect opportunity to network and mingle with prospective employers. You have to chatter!!!

From what I have heard it is not difficult to get a job in a mental health setting as a new grad. It does not seem to be as popular of an area (all the better for those job seekers who are passionate about it). It is an area that is in desperate need of competant, caring nurses. My first day as a student in my psych rotation, my patient was elderly, confused, trying to escape, had been there for a few days. Her diagnosis of depression didn't make sense with the clinical pciture. I talked to the family and it turns out she was supposed to be on an antibiotic for a UTI. The order did not get transferred when she transferred to the Inpatient Psychiatric Facility. I couldn't believe that nobody had noticed because UTI is the first thing you think of in a confused elderly patient!

I would suggest looking into the different areas that nurses work in mental health to see if you are interested in that particular scope of practice. I did nursing with a mindset that I would do mental health but after my mental health rotation I am not so sure if I could handle it in the adult inpatient setting. I was too intimidated. I am still thinking about working with children in an outpatient mental health setting, however. Good luck! :nurse:

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

New grads can get hired in psych, never fear :) And you don't necessarily have to work in a hospital's mental health unit either...you could work in a freestanding psych hospital, residental homes, outpatient treatment facilities, private practices and home health (the last is not recommended unless you have a few years' experience under your belt). But see how your psych clinicals go first because that will give you an idea of what it will be like to work in psychiatric nursing.


Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 3 years experience.

So I just got the results that I passed my NCLEX exam last fri so I'm a new graduate. I graduate in 12-20-2008. I also like Mental Health. I'll tell you what I did. I worked as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) on a medical/surgical floor. Even though I wasnt certified they took me b/c I was a 2nd year nursing student. If I didn't get fired for doing something stupid, they were going to take me to work there as a RN after I passed my nclex exam. Hospitals is where you get the experience and work 1-2 years before going into a specialty. These days, some hospitals will take you and train you in a specialty right out of school. Im sure you could find a job in detox center, or mental health facility right out of school, especially if you worked there while you were in nursing school. For me, I want to be able to maintain the skills I was taught in school like putting in IV's and NG tubes, catheters, ect. Nurses dont do any of that in a mental health setting. So that is the difference. Know that if you decide to work at a hospital for a year or so to 'get your feet wet' you can pretty much go anywhere and get hired and they know you have some experience and will be willing to train you further in that specialty. You will see what the rest of the nursing students are doing with their time during school when you start.

I had to take a test called the NLN to get into school. Good luck with everything. Just take one step at a time. I just received my license after starting college in 2001. Although I didn't start with nursing right away. Focus on getting into nursing school. Everything else will fall into place, you'll see. I would just reccomend getting a job in a health care facility, even if you're a secretary. A nursing assitant would be even better and they you'd have a job lined up for after school. Sorry for repeating myself if I have.

Good Luck