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Switching from ICU nursing to Psychiatric nursing

Psychiatric   (437 Views 5 Comments)
by Fursan Fursan (New Member) New Member

567 Visitors; 6 Posts

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I have been an ICU nurse for a little over a year. It’s the only specialty I’ve worked in since graduating with my BSN. I’ve always been interested in mental health and have made it a focus in my practice as an ICU nurse to collaborate with the ICU providers to incorporate treatments to address mental health conditions and the development of ICU delirium during their stay. I am now at the point where I want to pursue my specialty of desire and have been hired at a behavioral health facility PRN. Working PRN, I won’t have an extensive training period beyond just the week long orientation to the units. With no psychiatric nursing experience, will I be able to enter this role and transition with minimal training and orientation? I care for a lot of patients with mental health illnesses in the ICU but I have never worked in a behavior health facility and I am for the most part unfamiliar with the structure of their treatment in these facilities. Will this be a difficult transition? Will I need to request an extended training period? How many training shifts would be adequate for a new psychiatric nurse to function independently? 

Thank you!

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Zookeeper44 has 7 years experience and works as a RN, Behavioral Health.

2 Likes; 1,746 Visitors; 67 Posts

IMO the most important thing you need to learn/receive training for is the safety issues in a psych facility.  How to recognize evolving/escalating behaviors and situations and what to do to diffuse them and not get attacked, how to participate in restraining, transporting, and medicating a violent patient.  You should receive this training to some extent in your orientation period if you are in a decent facility.  Familiarize yourself with the most common diagnoses and pharmacology if you are not already.  I had the advantage of having been a mental health counselor before becoming a psych nurse, so I had a leg up on how to interact, interview, etc. but it's not rocket science...if you have a passion for this population, you will learn what works as you go 😊

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122 Visitors; 2 Posts

I also started in a trauma ICU where I dealt with a lot of mental health patients. I am now working cath lab and IR. I have always wanted to work in psych nursing as well. I am thinking about a per diem job too. Good luck to you. 

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Heylove has 1 years experience and works as a Adolescent psychiatric RN.

3 Likes; 3,901 Visitors; 193 Posts

On 2/21/2019 at 11:11 AM, Fursan said:

 I’ve always been interested in mental health and have made it a focus in my practice as an ICU nurse to collaborate with the ICU providers to incorporate treatments to address mental health conditions and the development of ICU delirium during their stay.

That's because every patient is a psych patient!  I absolutely love working with mental health!

I am now at the point where I want to pursue my specialty of desire and have been hired at a behavioral health facility PRN. Working PRN, I won’t have an extensive training period beyond just the week long orientation to the units. With no psychiatric nursing experience, will I be able to enter this role and transition with minimal training and orientation? I care for a lot of patients with mental health illnesses in the ICU but I have never worked in a behavior health facility and I am for the most part unfamiliar with the structure of their treatment in these facilities. Will this be a difficult transition? Will I need to request an extended training period?

I see that this post is older, so how is it going for you? 

I don't think one week is enough, but that's my personal opinion.  You will need to know who to call in certain situations, you will need to know what you need to chart, and what you don't.  You will need to know how to work with certain coworkers, because each shift is different depending on who you work with.  

How many training shifts would be adequate for a new psychiatric nurse to function independently? 

I would say at least two to three weeks of three days per week, since you already have nursing experience.  I can't remember now how many weeks our new hires work before they are on their own, maybe six?

May I ask the reverse question?  I have worked 1.5 years in psych (straight out of nursing school) and am now considering ICU/neuro ICU.  How many weeks of orientation do you think would be appropriate?  I am so nervous, and I feel like our facility would do a good job of making sure I am comfortable, I just don't know how many weeks that would be.   Please consider that I haven't worked an IV pump, with tubing, drips, or placed an IV since nursing school.  None of those were used in our facility (except for on the seniors unit, occasionally.)

Good luck!

 

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Seeing Myself Out has 6 years experience.

28 Likes; 1,090 Visitors; 52 Posts

Don't do it.

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