Published Aug 30, 2014
I am a RN student in south Georgia. I will be starting clinicals in two semesters and have my RN a year after that. My question is, where do I go after that? Fact is, I did not know until recently that applying to a job as a nurse meant choosing a certain "floor" to work on and I am looking at my long-term goal which is to graduate, gain a year or two of experience go back to school for my BSN, then obtain my Master's as a NP. Where I'm stuck at is how to decide between Home Health or Hospital. How to decide which "floor" ( I am very interested in psychiatric's, not eating disorders, but true psychiatric's like schizophrenia, multiple personality, that sort of thing.) My wife has her Master's in Speech Pathology and is currently the bread winner and I look to take that role so she can focus on her own business or being a stay at home mom which is what she wants as well. I would eventually like to be in a place where we can travel, but still work with the same title and pay etc. I'm sorry if this is long and confusing. I am trying to line everything up and i know where I want to be, but no idea how to get there as learning this journey is like learning a new language in while living in a foreign country. If there are any tips/books (yes, I have already used the internet to check, but have gotten nowhere) I would appreciate the help and information. Thank you in advance.
nurse2033, MSN, RN
If psych is your interest, research psych facilities in your area. You wouldn't specialize within psych, you'd get it all. A psych hospital would have the highest acuity patients. You won't have a lot of choices as a new grad though. Most new grads end up in med surg unless you have other prior relevant experience, like law enforcement or EMS. Use your clinical time to learn about the hospital system. The hospital is where you will get the most clinical experience that will serve you well anywhere in the future. This site has a bazillion specialities. Start reading and you will learn a lot. I encourage all my nursing students to spend time on this site. You can also look at Monster.com to see what nursing jobs are hiring in your area. These will be the non hospital jobs. Good luck.
I would recommend that you start getting your BSN right after getting your ASN, because most bridge programs are online and can be completed in a year if done full time.
Working in either a psych ward in a hospital, or in a behavioral health institution would be more beneficial than doing home health care. For one, you'll learn a lot more being in the acute care setting as a new nurse, and secondly, you'll have a better support system working in a unit as opposed to being almost all on your own as you would be doing home health.
Finally, I wanted to address that eating disorders are not "false" psychological disorders as your post would imply by calling schizophrenia etc "true" disorders. You will encounter all sorts of mental illness in a psych ward, because as far as I have seen, there's no such thing as a facility that ONLY treats schizophrenia / disassociative identity disorder / etc. Sure, in comparison, a paranoid schizophrenic might be more "interesting" and more of a challenge than someone who has depression or bulimia, but these illnesses can be just as crippling to a person's quality of life as schizophrenia or OCD, and as a nurse, it is our responsibility to help these people return to a behavioral state where they are in control of their lives.
You may go through RN school and find out that you hate psych. As someone going through his psych clinicals right now, it's kind of a mind game. You have to be on your toes much more than you would in other nursing areas about what you say and how you say it, because patients with mental disorders can be very clever with manipulation and other social engineering tactics. I'm not saying you WILL change your mind, but just be open to the possibility. After all, NPs can work in almost any specialization of healthcare.
I recommend spending some time on this forum in the different subforums to get idea of what current nursing is like. You can learn about average pay, working conditions, how to deal with various unit cultures, what to expect in RN school, tips for success, and things like that. It's a very useful wealth of information. Just remember that everyone perceives things differently, and nursing is no different. 90% of the feedback you will see regarding the career is going to be negative, because when people want to gripe, they go online to do it. Keep that in mind as you are reading, and congrats on choosing such a rewarding career!
AH.... and I guess you will also defend Alcoholism as a true disease...... Sounds like you have an eating disorder....
NAHHH I JOKE I KEED, I KEED.
But seriously. I made that statement about "eating disorders". Because all my research says that Psych has the smallest number of nurses enter its realm and of those nurses that do major in Psych, a close estimate of 90% deal w/ eating disorder. So, I so clearly pointed out that I was not interested in eating disorders for that specific reason.
And please, I may still be a student and you Mr. Miyagi, but don't do the whole "ughh well acctuuaallly fella...." thing on my posts or I will probably come across as an @$$hole.... And thank you for the valuable information, not the crappy "know it all" information.
Your clinical rotations should give you a better idea of where your heart is. I wouldn't worry too much about picking a specialty until you have some hands on experience in those settings. I always wanted to be a L&D nurse. Turns out, I did not like it. You may surprise yourself.
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