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Straight Into Mental Health Nursing?

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Hi there 🙂 I'm wondering if anyone here has gone straight into mental health nursing??

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

Yes, a lot of people have. It's what I wanted to do, but the places I applied to wanted med/surg experience first.

Years down the road, I'm SO glad for the medical/surgical experience. It's made me versatile, and it's kept a lot of doors open. They're not doors I want to walk through, but it's nice to have options.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

My first hospital job was as a psych LPN back in '84 and as you can see from my experience, I was able to work in various other areas of nursing as well, slove.

Good to know. I'm currently in the process of completing an accelerated BSN program, and have always been drawn to this specialty. Originally, I have a bachelors in psych. I'm considering applying for a mental health associates' position while finishing up my degree to see if it's something I truly would want, considering I won't have the opportunity to complete my mental health clinical rotation in an actual facility...thoughts?

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

16 minutes ago, slove2718 said:

Good to know. I'm currently in the process of completing an accelerated BSN program, and have always been drawn to this specialty. Originally, I have a bachelors in psych. I'm considering applying for a mental health associates' position while finishing up my degree to see if it's something I truly would want, considering I won't have the opportunity to complete my mental health clinical rotation in an actual facility...thoughts?

An MHW/MHA job could lead you straight into a nursing job if they like you. It's good plan, if that's what you really want.

I have been an LPN psych nurse working at an outpatient facility for the same company for 20 yrs. I love my job but unfortunately, if anything financial happens to the facility I work in I am screwed. I have no practical skills and find for some unknown reason employers only want RNS for nurses in the psych field. I think RNS are overrated in this field because where I currently work the RN does the exact same thing I do. and there is no distinction in our day to day tasks.

I find myself becoming very resentful that in psych all requirements are becoming RN with a bachelor's degree. I am 58 yrs old and not likely to go back to school to become a RN at this stage of my life. I would love to know what makes an RN so much more special than an LPN in the psych field especially in an outpatient setting. It is not like you do trachs, vents, IVs or procedures except injections which allLPNs can do.

I hope you continue on your path because working in mental health is very rewarding and I absolutely love my clients and my job. You have to have a thick skin though because they are not always pleasant and cooperative and I have had to encourage some of them to leave without giving them their injections. I find if they are paranoid and think I am injecting them with poison it is much better to tell them it is okay to leave and that I will get them a new vial and they can come back later. It empowers them builds trust and they have always come back within a day or two to get the injection.

Good Luck Slove I wish you all the best.

LBC_RN, BSN

Specializes in Mental Health. Has 8 years experience.

Hi! Yes I went right into mental health after graduating nursing school. I worked inpatient psych for 4 years & have been in outpatient MH for the last 3. While some of my clinical skills (ie IV insertion) may be rusty, I feel like I made the right decision. If you truly love mental health, I say go for it! There are sooo many specialties in mental health, so there are many opportunities for you to continue growing & learning as a nurse.

In my experience in the ER, nurses that come over from psych have a harder time learning the skills of ER nursing than new grads.
Not saying don't do it, not saying my experience reflects how it is all over. Just a data point.

On 5/22/2020 at 10:47 PM, kim holloway said:

I find myself becoming very resentful that in psych all requirements are becoming RN with a bachelor's degree. I am 58 yrs old and not likely to go back to school to become a RN at this stage of my life.

I can only speak to this part of your post, having taking the NCLEX yesterday and celebrating 60 years on the Earth in a few months.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

On 5/22/2020 at 8:47 PM, kim holloway said:

I would love to know what makes an RN so much more special than an LPN in the psych field especially in an outpatient setting. It is not like you do trachs, vents, IVs or procedures except injections which allLPNs can do.

...and you could find out if you went to RN school. 😉 You seem very focused on tasks, but it's more about the knowledge in your head than the way you give an injection ...even more so as you move up the food chain.

As an older (mid 40's) ADN, I find myself unmotivated to go back to school for my BSN- despite the increase in opportunity that it may bring. And while ADNs and BSNs do a lot of the same tasks and even have the same license, BSNs "know a few things about a few things" that I don't know. It makes them more desirable for some positions, naturally.