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khepting khepting (New Member) New Member

Should I Go Right Into Psychiatric Nursing?

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I am currently in my 3rd year of nursing school in Detroit. I have been contemplating on what kind of nurse I want to be and I feel like I should know now because I am such a planner, but I know I still have time. I have completed my Fundamentals, Med-Surg 1, and Mental Health clinical rotations. I loved my mental health clinical and theory class. I could see myself being a psychiatric nurse. I would even tell friends and family that before I started any clinical rotations partly to give an answer other than I don't know and partly because I have always loved watching documentaries and movies to learn about mental health since middle school. The issue I am having is that I don't know if once I graduate I should go right into psychiatric nursing or not? Every person/ current nurses I have asked have said to get a year or two of med-surg under your belt and then go to psychiatric if I want because I will loose my skills if I don't. I do not like med-surg at all right now, I also had a really bad first clinical rotation experience so that probably doesn't help. I don't want to lose my skills and be "stuck" like people say I will be if I go right into to psych, but if I find that I love pysch I won't feel stuck I feel like. If anyone has any advise that would be amazing.

Your fellow future nurse of 2020. Thanks 🙂

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As a new graduate, you won't have skills to lose. I planned to go straight to psych after school, but every unit in my are wanted at least a year or two of med/surg experience.

I now float between psych and med/surg and am very happy I was forced into med/surg to start out with. It has made me more marketable. And from what I've seen, it's much easier to transition to psych than it is to transition away from it.

I don't know what's right for you, but that's my path for what it's worth.

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I knew I wanted to do psych nursing while I was in school. I did go right into it and have not had any issues with it. I love it. I have also seen several nurses who started there then left and have had no trouble finding new jobs when they wanted to move on. My unit is friendly to new grads so it was nice that several of us started together when I started. We seem to hire in pairs or threes so that when we are orienting new nurses they have a buddy that started with them to help encourage them as they learn to be full fledged nurses on my unit.

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There's no such thing as being "stuck" in psych. Do what you think you want to do, and if you don't like it, you'll find other jobs

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You may find a neuro telemetry floor interesting and a happy medium. It's tough work from what I've heard, but plenty of psych patients combined with medical needs. If you really can't stand med surg, I'd say go into psych. I wanted to but accepted a job on a cardiac telemetry floor and I can't wait for that one year of experience to be done.

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I knew going into nursing school that I wanted to go into psych nursing and my mental health rotation only confirmed that fact for me. My first/only job out of nursing school has been in psych. Occasionally I wish I had more med-surg experience - usually when we get more medically complex / medically unstable patients on the unit, because managing these patients is less familiar to me, but I make a point of ongoing learning and asking questions/doing research as things come up, and so far both my patients and I have survived the lack of prior med-surg experience.

As for being "stuck" one of my coworkers just left to take a job in critical care, so psych isn't a permanent curse on your ability to transition to other settings if it turns out to not be for you. If you have a long tenure in psych before transitioning it may make sense to find a unit that will value psychiatric skills as you strengthen medical skills - something like medical-psych, geropsych, hospice or oncology could be a good transition point (or new home).

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I went right into psych. No regrets.

Do what you want to do. The job market is good.

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If you know that's what you want to do, yes.

I've known since I was in high school that I only ever wanted to work with children. I dislike adults. I have never worked a day in med-surg in 11 years as a nurse and I've never had a problem finding a job either.

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Thank you so much for your input and great advise! (:

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Thank you! I do live the options nursing gives me and how versatile it can be. (:

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I have never thought of that option. Thank you for commenting and giving me that thought of option! (:

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