What to expect in my Psych rotation


Hello everyone,

My next clinical rotation is Psych, my question is: what should I expect? I am pretty nervous about this one, don't know if I can deal with trying to handle Psych patients, suppose I do or say the wrong things. Help me take away the anxiety! It is an experience everytime I start a new clinical experience but this one really takes the cake! HELP!:o


439 Posts

Specializes in ED. Has 7 years experience.

It depends on where you have your psych rotation. I did mine in an inner city hospital so we got a lot of schizophrenia and drug-related patients. Basically we just went around and talked to them, we did some group activities and I sat in on some group mettings. It's not so bad. A fight broke out in almost every class, just let the staff deal with it. Just relax and talk to them. Also, some psych patients can "smell" your fear and they'll use it to intimindate you so act confident.

stressgal, RN

589 Posts

Specializes in CCRN.

I loved my psych rotation and found it to be a great practice in theraputic communication. We did alot of our time in an adolecent unit, very sad but informative. Follow your instructor's lead, you'll be fine.


74 Posts

I loved my psych rotation! It was so incredibly eye-opening. You'll be fine. Remember that although they are mentally ill they are just people, and everything will be great!


265 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Cardiac Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

Like MikeyBSN said, it really depends on what type of setting you'll be in. I did my rotation in an inpatient setting, and I worked with patients who had mood disorders, thought disorders, chemical dependency, etc. I rotated through a chemical dependency unit, a single-lock (mood disorder) unit, a double-lock, and a triple-lock unit (both mood/thought disorder units). Talk to your instructor regarding the specifics of your rotation so you'll know what to expect. You may or may not wear your uniform; a lot of psych units do not require (or allow) their employees to wear scrubs. It is VERY important to maintain professional boundaries with your patients, so dressing provacatively is VERY inappropriate. This means no cleavage, no bare midriff, and no tight clothing in general. There is a good chance that you won't be allowed to wear anything around your neck, but even if you are, you might consider removing your jewelry before going on the unit. Necklaces and long hair make it easier for someone to grab onto you, so why take the chance? Another aspect of maintaining professional boundaries is to not share any personal information about yourself. You're there to help the patients, not to make friends with them and/or tell them your problems. While psych is definitely not for me, I learned a lot during my rotation. No matter where you work, you're almost guaranteed to encounter patients with mental health problems, so try to learn as much as you can during your psych clinicals. Good luck!

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