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Swithing to Psych

Psychiatric   (1,469 Views 2 Comments)
by Mettle Mettle (New Member) New Member

642 Profile Views; 2 Posts

hello all,

i've been lurking for a while and reading through the various threads about switching to psychiatric nursing. i graduated last may and i am currently working on a med/surg ortho floor. psych was the area i enjoyed the most during nursing school but i took the advice of those who say to get the year of med/surg. well the year cannot come fast enough for me, i am extremely unhappy at my job and hopeful that i will be able to land a full time psych job at the end of the summer which will be 1 year. i am also hopeful that psych will be the right fit for me. our clinicals in psych were only 4 weeks, so i did enjoy the experience; there just was not much of it.

i was looking for advice or to hear others stories about the transition to psych from med/surg or other specialties. i am also looking for decent reading material as i sold all my nursing books (poor nursing student needs to eat).


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Davey Do has 35 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

15 Followers; 1 Article; 6,341 Posts; 78,338 Profile Views


I did something of the opposite when I entered the Nursing Profession- I knew with my background in Human Services that I could easily transition into Psych Nursing. But I really wanted to do Medical Nursing. From Psych, I transitioned into Surgery, ER, Med/Surg, Home Health, and Administration. Somehow, I always ended up in Psych. So, I've accepted Psych Nursing as "My Calling".

Textbooks are great resources to learn criteria for Diagnosis and Treatments. However, I've not found a better resource for the Nuts and Bolts of true Psych Nursing dynamics than this site! Texts and Nursing Journals often paint a cold, clean, clinical, systematic perspective of Nursing. For example, Texts will say things like, "If the Patient manifests this behavior, we know that this Patient is this way and we need to respond blah blah blah..." On the other hand, we have this site were we have Real People dealing with Real Issues and are struggling to understand and deal with the Situation and Their Feelings and learn from the Experience.

I often question as to the reason why Nurses want to work Psych. In my own experience, I was informed early on that I had a "Messiah Complex". I wanted to "save" Everyone I came into contact with. Thank Goodness, a Caring Professional identified my Situation and worked with me in order that I could see Reality and understand that I was merely a Link in the Chain toward an Individual's Growth and Development. We don't "save lives" per se in Psych Nursing. We typically do no more for that Individual than to assist them in reaching an optimal level of fuctioning. Improve their quality of living, so to speak.

Sounds relatively boring and mundane, eh?

Some People go into the Behavioral health Field to get to know, and cure, themselves as they help others cure themselves. Sorry, but this just does not happen. Under this circumstance, we merely have the Blind leading the Blind. If One wants to get to know Oneself and better Onerself, then go into Therapy. And try to find a Therapist who posesses a less amount of problems than the One seeking Therapy.

I'll tell you what I get out of Psych Nursing: I get to help Mentally Ill Patients feel as safe and comfortable as possible all the while assiting them to accept their situation and better it to the best of their ability.

Again, I say, sounds relatively boring and mundane, eh?

Well, every now and then I deal with Crisis Situations. Dealing with Crisis Situations really charges my battery and gets my adrenalin and endorphins pumping. It's because I know that a psychotic Psych Patient in Crisis is bound to do ANYTHING. And I'm very comfortable in dealing with these situations. And the "warm fuzzies" I get from doing a good job at dealing with these crisis are almost totally self-administerd. It's because we, as Psych Nurses, are EXPECTED to be able to deal with these situations. And rightly so. We should be able to deal with a psychotic Patient Going Off as much as a ER Nurse is expected to know how to deal with a Patient in a Medical Emergency.

So, in summary, Mettle, if you're looking for the reality and information about Psych Nursing, you need to look no further than where you are right now. It's one reason why I'm here. And I keep coming back.

The very best to you, Mettle.


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