RN to Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree possible ?


I initially started going to college to earn a degree to be a practicing psychologist. .

My choice to become a psychiatric nurse was based on my life's changing circumstances at the time.

I've been a Psychiatric RN for 2 years.

I've looked into other options in the field of nursing in order to find an area in nursing I'd be able to engage more psychological skills and the closes I've come to finding a comparable area to satisfy my desire is a psychiatric NP.

I'm not inclined towards the medical aspects of an NP, particularly the medication treatment, which is a skill an NP must understand well and implement carefully.

Perhaps I should have pursued my inclination towards psychology regardless of my life's circumstances, but I needed financial security, and a degree in nursing would provide financial security in a shorter period of time than earning a degree as a psychologist.

I forfeited my dreams and desire for security.

I choose "psychiatric" nursing as a way to satisfy my love of psychology.

I still feel my calling was in psychology working one on one with patients. I'm very good at it. In psychiatric nursing my ability is not appreciated by other nurses or so it seems.

They tend to the more technical aspects of the nursing field. They seem not to have a love for the concept the application of active listening and all the good stuff engaging with a patient / counseling offers a patient who desires to get well has.

I feel I've made a decision to go into nursing but the real me the person I should have been is not allowed to come alive fully.

I've always dreamed of working as a psychologist and now I wonder, is it to late for me to pursue my dream ? .

My question is what is the likelihood of successfully going from a Psychiatric RN to earn a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) degree starting in my midlife, 48 years old?

I have a diploma in nursing and associates in science.

Any info would be appreciated.


Tweety, BSN, RN

32,755 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

I think you know you would have several years ahead of you. Because first you're going to need a Bachelor's Degree in Psych. or something, which might take a while since your Diploma nursing courses might be a problem, but since you already have an Associates Degree, it hopefully wouldn't be a few more courses. Then a Masters/PhD program. But when there's a will, there's a way. You'd have to want it really bad and keep your motivation and spirits up for a long time.

Good luck!


32 Posts

Hi Terri,

I find myself in a similar situation as yours. Psych was the subject that appealed to me the most when i was still in nursing school. I've been working as a nurse for more than a year already but rewarding as the profession may be, I dont seem to find that sense of fulfillment I'm looking for. I'm considering a career in Psychology, but I dont know where to start. I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing. Some specific fields in Psych i'm interested in are: Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Engineering Psychology, HCI, Human Factors. Right now, I'm wondering what's the easiest/smoothest transition I can make from RN to this field. Is it necessary to take a Psychology degree? Or can i just take a few courses then proceed with grad school?

Any of your comments will be highly appreciated! :)


1 Article; 6,681 Posts

Has 17 years experience.

Hi luna538 -

The thread is a couple of years old, but sometimes original posters do reappear on a thread after receiving some replies.

I have a psych undergrad degree and was at one point accepted to a grad program in marriage and family therapy, though I didn't attend. In fact, I took a completely different direction. Here's what I know though:

- Some doctoral programs require an MA/MS in psychology first.

- Among the doctoral programs that do accept applicants with just undergrad degrees, often a non-psych undergrad is okay. Often there are only a small number of specific prereqs, like an intro psych class, stats, and research methods. Best to figure out what the program options are in your state and look into their specific prereqs and requirements.

I was not interested in I/O psych until I took Research Methods from a prof whose specialty was I/O. Cool stuff! A nursing background plus an organizational psych education would be a really unique blend. Good luck to you!

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