May 24, 2013

Come to the dark side...we have cookies!

I always get excited when I see new grads wanting to come to psych, or at least are interested enough to consider it.  It's a nice change from all of the grads going on about how they'll only work ED/ICU/L&D and that nothing else is acceptable.  I feel like the speciality is being taken more seriously, that we're not just thought of as the area for those "who can't cut it in other areas" or "are looking for something easier."

Neverminding that neither is really true:  you need specific skills to really flourish in psych, and psych is far from being a cakewalk.  What is a cakewalk anyway?  It sounds more delicious than easy.

Maybe they're teaching a better psych curriculum.  I remember when I was in school--psych class and clinicals were not enough to convince me to run for the cookies.  Although I was intrigued enough to look when a psych opportunity came my way...but as longtime readers may recall, it wasn't my first choice.  They must have improved something because the students/new grads I talk to are more enthusiastic about what they learned in school.  One of the leaders of my local APNA chapter stated that she's getting a lot more students in her class (psych, naturally) who are showing a greater interest in the specialty.

Or maybe it's because that new grads are finally realizing that not all of them are going to be starting off in a med-surg floor...AND it's OK if they don't.  Perhaps all of the med-surg and hospital horror stories got to them. Personally, I enjoy not being a slave to a call bell and instead telling patients, "the kitchen area is over there, you can get your own juice" and for them to make their own beds.

Maybe they realized that it's not where you work that makes you a real nurse, but passing that *lovely* little test and receiving those two or three letters after your name that makes you a real nurse.  Of course, there are those who continue to think their specialty is "real" nursing while all other specialties aren't.  But in this job market where people can't be too finicky, I see that elitist attitude diminishing, especially in the new grads who are desperate for any nursing job.

Or maybe it's because society is starting to take pysch problems a little more seriously.  Yes, there is still a stigma attached to both mental illness and psych nursing.  But a lot of communities are taking a more open and proactive view towards mental illness because they realize they need to.  In my areas, there are campaigns about mental illness, mental health awareness, and the availability of mental health services.

I tell you, where I live is a great place to be a psych nurse.  Lots of facilities, and quality ones at that.  Better attitudes towards mental illness.  People don't look at you like you're crazy when you tell them you're in psych.  In fact, you get recruited.

Anyhow, whatever the those new grads wanting/considering psych, welcome to the dark side.  We love fresh blood.  And the cookies are really good too!

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