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teaching w/o med/surg experience?

Educators   (1,988 Views | 5 Replies)

ThymeRN has 4 years experience and specializes in Psych/Mental Health.

2,614 Profile Views; 43 Posts

My passion is teaching, and I've just started a nurse educator program. I'm a psych nurse, and don't have any med/surg experience. I haven't started an IV, or inserted a catheter, or seen many of the disease processes I studied in school.

But, I love psych, and I feel strongly that we need to do more education about this field. I've met many nurses who hate floating to my unit because my patient population is "scary." Psych patient's are in all units, they only come to mine after they are medically stable, and many don't need psych care every time they come to the hospital.

How much of a disadvantage is it that I don't have medical experience to a future career in education? I have requested cross training to ICU. I've floated a few times to the unit to care for patients who are detoxing, but monitoring for DTs is a bit different than reading strips and monitoring drip rates (is that even the correct term?)

Thanks for any advice

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43 Posts; 998 Profile Views

I don't think it will be a huge disadvantage. At some point you will have to teach something you don't know. I'm a critical/care med surg nurse, and I'm teaching OB content right now. I was nervous about it and even came on here for advise. It helps that I'm learning a lot of it with the students. As for the skills you mentioned, there are a lot of ways to get practice with those before you work with students. Another thing you have going for you is valuable mental health experience, which is hard to find.

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10 Posts; 957 Profile Views

With an MSN and psych experience, you are certainly qualified to teach. My experience, in smaller programs where an MSN is enough to teach, is that you have to be willing to teach more than just your specialty when you teach mental health. A med-surg background in addition to psych would make you an ideal candidate. Where I have taught, you would also have to be willing to be a clinical instructor for some lower-level med-surg courses.

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EMnurse10 has 4 years experience and specializes in CPEN.

4 Posts; 578 Profile Views

I am currently in an MSN nurse educator program right now and only have ED experience. From what I am experiencing, they teach you really well how to research, and you do a lot of research during the program. I don't think this would be a detriment to you at all, as by the end of the program you will be able to research any topic you are not familiar with if you are teaching it.

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SRDAVIS has 10 years experience and specializes in Tele, Stepdown, Med/Surg, education.

140 Posts; 6,781 Profile Views

I agree with all of the above comments but it would really be beneficially to float to med surg floors because every where I've taught you have to do a med surg clinical even if you teach a specialty. Good luck

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CraigB-RN has 40 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Emergency, Education, Informatics.

1 Follower; 1,224 Posts; 19,388 Profile Views

I haven't done med surg in about 15+ years. They laugh because it took me two hours to do a med pass on 4 patients when I agreed to fill in on a geriatric Psych unit awhile back.

Basic nursing skills area basic nursing skills. I wasn't a nurse who understands nursing, can make critical judgments and then explain why.

When it comes to clinical time, it's not so bad as clinical now isn't what it was when I was back in school Changing a bed with a patient in it is the same. Medication admin is the same and care plans are the same.

P.s. just imagine how useful you will be during your students psych rotations. :)

Thats not to say you won't have challenges. But when presented well and as part of a total package you'll have a lot of strengths.

Have you thought about doing some Med/Surg time somewhere in your system?

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