Should I expect to get paid more...?

Posted
by Zookeeper44 Zookeeper44, RN Member

Specializes in Psych. Has 8 years experience.

I am interested in working as a psych nurse, I'll graduate with an ASN in May but I also have a Master's in Counseling with a couple years' experience as a psych social worker. Do any of you who are already working in psych think I would expect to be paid more and have more responsibility than a run-of-the-mill new grad with no other degrees or professional psych experience? I mean I would certainly think so, but I don't know if that's how it will work in reality, or if they will even quite know what to do with me, since I wonder how unique my situation is?

Any thoughts or opinions? I want to go in knowing what I am "worth" if I do interview. It is my understanding that most nurse managers have a range in which they have some leeway how much to choose to pay nurses that they hire.

Thanks!!

Domestika

Domestika

Specializes in Psychiatry. 10 Posts

I know at least here in Canada that sort of thing is determined by the union you belong to. They would stipulate what previous education will add to your wage, if anything.

Without a union involved...I have no idea. It's probably up for negotiation with your employer.

elkpark

14,633 Posts

Probably not -- the skills you have from your previous degrees and employment are outside the scope of a staff nurse's practice (and the stuff staff nurses in psych do is largely outside the scope of your previous experience), and, for the most part in healthcare, a new grad is a new grad is a new grad.

I'm sure, though, that some employer would be glad to snap you up at their standard "new grad" rate, and that you would find your previous experience useful.

It's also possible you'll find some place that will prove me wrong. :)

Best wishes for your journey.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education. 3,458 Posts

I doubt you'd be paid more. Your Masters in counseling and experience as a psych social worker might get you hired more quickly, but generally social workers make lots less than nurses in psych facilities.

makawiliwili

makawiliwili

24 Posts

Nope. You're still a new grad RN. We've had lots of people with master's degrees come in... in all different fields including psychology etc and all are hired at the same rate of pay. I'm sure you'll have an easier time getting a job though, and in these times that's quite a benefit.

Zookeeper44

Zookeeper44, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 8 years experience. 85 Posts

Thanks y'all. Maybe I am not as knowledgable as I thought I was as to what psych nurses do...? I thought there would be many similarities between my former work and the RN position. That was the case when I worked alongside the RN in outpatient.

I was thinking that the psych experience would prepare me to pretty much hit the ground running (with some training in their specific med dispensing policies/documentation) as opposed to someone who'd never done it, which I was thinking would put me at a little higher rank than someone having to be fully trained. Oh well. Since you all think not, maybe at least it will help me get the job more easily like you said.

elkpark

14,633 Posts

While what the RN in a psych setting is doing at any given time may look a lot like what you were doing in your former position(s), the reality is that what the employer is paying you to know and be able to do is very different. I'm sure you've noticed that, in psych settings, psychologists, social workers, and LPCs can pretty much be (and often are) used interchangeably as therapists, case managers, etc., but none of them can substitute for an RN -- only an RN can do what an RN does. That's because, even though a nurse in a psych setting may not appear to be using it at any given time, we are responsible for not just knowing psych nursing, but the entire medical/nursing spectrum of skills and knowledge (and, as you know from nursing school, there's a whole lot more to that than simply "med dispensing") -- and that's what we're getting paid for.

Zookeeper44

Zookeeper44, RN

Specializes in Psych. Has 8 years experience. 85 Posts

Makes sense...thanks :)

I'll just be happy to get a job AT ALL so if I don't get paid "more" at first that is understandable :D

Rntr

Rntr

323 Posts

I recently interviewed at a State facility and was told that pay is based on "years" of Nursing, (I have 36 yrs exp as an RN) and not on the fact that I have a degree outside of my AS in Nursing..

NPvampire

NPvampire, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in Psych, Geriatrics. Has 11 years experience. 172 Posts

Yeah, the state pays based on your years of RN experience...and it's usually a bracket, like 0, 1, up to 3, 4-6, etc. Even within the state there is usually a range of salary and some hospitals start out higher up that range than other hospitals.