RN Psych interview!!

Specialties Psychiatric


I'm so excited! I have an interview for an RN position for a Psych unit (my dream). I have currently been working full-time on a med/surg unit for the last year (first position since graduating).

I'm just curious how others paths have been when trying to get into Psych nursing. Please share your story and how you believed that psych nursing was for you!

Well, I've been offered a position!! 7p-7a on the Geriatric Psych wing...I still can't believe it....

Question: What things should I be expecting on this type of unit and at these hours?

Well I worked on a general psych unit so I had all psych 18 and up including geriatric patients. Your med/surg experience will be super useful actually. As you know older folks often times have other medical problems --some chronic, some that can come up--acute, and you being able to handle these will be really useful. I had to do a lot of medical things on the inpatient floor so my medical experience helped a lot. Run blood, clean a trach, PEG tube care, colostomy care, IVs, blood draws on lots of patients, EKGs, Skin care--depressed elderly folks tend to be withdrawn and refuse to get out of bed so you will see bed sores.

As far as knowing if you like psych-- well geri-psych is unique as behavior with them can be mental health if diagnosed at an earlier age and are chronic. It can have a medical cause or it can be a form of dementia like Alzheimers--which can create a lot of behavior issues. So it is challenging. But in a good way.

When you leave at the end of the day and will know if psych is for you if you feel really good about the day--feel like you made a difference. Put a smile on a face, consoled a scared patient, kept a patient safe that was not able to do that for him/herself. Yeah geri psych patients can be violent but if you stop and think that most likely they were never violent when well and it is mental illness or disease that has caused this behavior--that they have no control and are often acting out out of fear helps to realize it is not personal.

Good luck to you-- the fact that you are sooooo excited leads to believe you will be great. Just always keep in the back of your mind that mental illness can effect anyone, including you or your family or friends, and treat all patients like you would want those you care about treated--with respect and dignity and make them understand that there is no shame in being metally ill--this will take you a long way. Not all nurses in psych think that way and well..........they are the ones who shouldn't be there! lol

As far as what to expect during the night shift........well usually most sleep, but there are always a few who can't.....who are kept awake by anxiety (common) or pain, or are too manic to sleep. So it can get crazy at times. You do a lot of checking charts for any missed orders, checking new med sheets--depending on how your hospital does it (weekly or daily, etc.) --new admits actually sometimes....then early morning is when most places do blood draws but this may depend on how your unit does things. Oh and if you are at a place that does early morning ECT treatments you may have to get those getting ECT up and ready. then of course with geri patients any medical stuff that needs attention at night--same as you might see on a medical floor--care of chronic issues. Oh yeah and BG's--spme places have night shift do BGs on diabetic patients last thing of the shift--but again that may vary.

Okay....LOL I think that is it-- I hope you love it.....we need more good psych nurses.......Let me know how it goes and if I can be of any help once you start let let me know......



Thanks so much for your reply! After reading it, I'm even more excited! I currently work on a med/surg unit and when I have the time to spend with say an anxious patient and listen to them and let them know that I'm there for them (treating the whole person!) I feel as though I've had the best day! To me, that's what nursing is. I will definately let you know how things go. Thank you again for sharing!


Specializes in Psych.

I'm at a state mental health facility right now. It was actually my first job out of nursing school. I find it to be fun at times, emotionally draining at times, humorous at times, and just about every other emotion out there! I can say that you NEVER know what your day will bring you! You never say that your ward is the "Q" word (quiet) lol.. that's just asking for trouble! Its a whole different kind of nursing. The only thing is that you really don't get to use your medical skills very often, and you can become "rusty" without practice. The only medical skill I do on a regular basis is IM's lol.. But, as far as therapeutic technique you will become a pro. I think by now I can sell ice to an eskimo! I'd be happy to answer any questions :)

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