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Seeking Nurse Psychotherapist Point of Veiw

KatieB. KatieB. (New) New Nurse

Has 4 years experience.

I have been a "floor" nurse for 3 1/2 years, I love being with my pt's and actually providing care for them. I want nothing more but for them to feel the best they can. I love the small amount of time I do get to spend with them and love it when they ask for me by name or smile when I enter the room. Those times I feel like I'm able to make a difference for them.
The last 2 years I have noticed I am not the same as my counter parts. I tend to advocate harder and tend not to wait as long as most would to seek help. But the other side of that coin is that I feel more responsible for my pt's outcome. I feel the need to catch everything and put an extreme amount of pressure on myself to care for my 20 something pt's.

I work in a small nursing home in a small town and yesterday was the first day in a LONG time I did not feel the heavy weight on me. Yesterday I worked as a CNA and my entire shift was spent with my pts. Don't get me wrong I'm not a good CNA, its an art and take incredible stamina. I felt exhausted but so satisfied with how my day was spent.

Being from a small town I have no resources to reach out to. My question is for anyone who has been where I'm at and is where I want to be. Me and my husband have talked a lot about me returning to school so I can preform psychotherapy. Is the stress better/different than what I'm being faced with now. And if it is and it is as liberating but difficult as I imagine. What is the best way to fulfill it making sure I have the education I need to be successful as a psychotherapist. I currently hold my BSN and am contemplating PMHNP school but fear the focus is not on psychotherapy but the other aspects (meds, Dx..).

Confused as what to do. Help please.

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

You are correct that for most PMHNPs the focus is not on psychotherapy but on diagnosis, assessment, and treatment (primarily medication focused treatment). While there is some therapy education in NP programs - it is fairly minimal compared to what other disciplines receive, and it is far more cost effective for most organizations to employ a social worker, counselor, therapist, or psychologist in role of therapy rather than PMHNP (for whom revenue generation is primarily tied to medication management).

You can either complete PMHNP and know you will need additional training/certification post-degree for therapy if you want to be good at it, and will likely need to work in private practice where you can dictate more of your hours being devoted to therapy. (Which is certainly doable - I know several PMHNPs who have gone this route).

OR - consider getting a different credential such as social work or counseling if psychotherapy is your primary goal with transition. OR look for another area of nursing where you have a smaller patient load and can spend more time providing that 1:1 care and interaction you enjoy.