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Should I consider this psych job?


I recently received an unofficial offer for a psych position for an involuntary unit at a local hospital. It is a full time night 8 hr shift position. I've always worked nights since I started working as a nurse 2years ago. I really wanted the next job I accept to be day time. The Thing is , my ultimate goal is to become a psych NP and I cant get the experience by continuing to work on the cardiac unit that I am on. My plan was to do psych with the hope that it would be a 12hr shift unit and transition over to diem on my current cardiac floor. I am wondering if this is too much of a jump into something i'm not sure i'll like or capable of doing? I've liked psych in nursing school but as a nurse ,will I? The HR manager says they'll post it on the psych unit to see if any PT nurses or day nurses wanted to go for it. I strongly doubt that a day nurse would switch over to nights.... SOS!

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Since you have doubts about psych why don't you pick up some extra hours as a PRN nurse? I think it is an excellent idea to see if you even enjoy psych and have a talent for it before signing up for a psych NP program. I agree that inpatient psych experience is invaluable for anyone who wants to start prescribing mental health medications. Good luck.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

I agree with Jules: you do need that hands-on psych experience, especially if your future career plans involve prescribing psych meds. I would consider taking this position, especially since you could return to cardiac as you have 2 years' under your belt. Or if you're really uncertain, keep the cardiac position in some way, shape or form, and get a part-time/PRN position in psych.

Best of luck whatever you decide.


Specializes in Forensic Psychiatry.

I highly recommend getting psych experience before deciding if the Psych NP role is something you plan on pursuing. Right now, it seems to be gaining in popularity, and my state definitely has a shortage of providers so when we do get people they aren't always the "best fit". Some examples: One of our PMHNP's came from ICU and did a one year accelerated Psych NP program and was ready to jump ship after 3 months and go back for ACNP because she was not happy in inpatient psychiatry. She is actually a very good Psychiatric Nurse practitioner though, and I felt bad that she didn't enjoy the environment enough to stay. Then there are those that went straight from their BSN to PMHNP or direct entry NP without ANY nursing experience... that's been a disaster (poor boundaries, trying to over-ride MD and other providers orders - like a patient would be back transferred to my unit from their unit because they decomped and my MD would write med orders and they would call my unit trying to D/C his orders, poor relationship with staff ect).

Every area of nursing has psychiatric patients. Many nurses that choose to pursue Psych NP generally do so because they enjoy working with these patients. Which is awesome - we need people that genuinely enjoy working with this population. However, working with psychiatric patients in a medical setting is different than working in a setting dedicated specifically to the care of psychiatric patients (I've done both and they are worlds apart).

I'd highly recommend getting the psych experience, even if you just take up a part time or per-diem position. See if you like it, learn about medications, legal concerns, behavioral interventions and provider responsibilities. It could further ignite your passion for psych or it might save you from choosing to specialize in an advanced practice area that you aren't happy with.


Specializes in Psychiatry.

awwww JulesA, you always have the best and kindest advice on here. Rock on PSYCH NURSE!! :)