Up and Coming Psychiatric Nurse

By Jasmine Bratton posted 03-26-2014 07:39 PM

As a relatively new nurse starting out in the area of psychiatry I have so many different thoughts and feelings. I'm very excited to have graduated from nursing school and got into my first choice of areas to work in. Many people have looked down at my decision to be in psychiatry fresh out of nursing school. They would say things like, "You should do Med-Surg" or "Your to young to do psych that's for when you get older as a nurse and don't want to work on the floor as much." Well, what I would say to those people is I love psychiatry and from the moment I did my clinical rotation I knew that's where I belonged. There is no feeling better then being able to connect to what you do in life. I feel I connect with the study of the mind. The mysterious path of thought connected to action. All the mystery of human behavior has captured me. So, yes I'm 2 years out of nursing school, 24 years old and I am a psychiatric nurse and proud. I'm starting this blog to connect with fellow members of APNA to share thoughts, and insight on everything psychiatric nursing related. So, please don't be a stranger. Also, I'm a member of the New York Chapter incase anyone was curious.



04-12-2014 08:43 AM

I have been a psychiatric nurse for 30+ years (You lose count after a while) It is the area where you truly take care of the person, rather than the disease. Psyche is greek for soul. When we take care of our patients, they come to us as everyone else has failed them. We are often their last connection to life. So although some do not understand your desire, know that you are a holistic nurse and you are caring for those that are often most misunderstood and feared. There is a very fine line between genius and insanity (Oscar Lavant). We all have issues. Continue to be proud. One word of advice. Be sure you take care of yourself as well. It can be very challenging at times. Good luck and Be well. Susan Steffel

04-08-2014 08:37 PM

Concur with my respected colleague Kathy Johnson. It's a bummer that people in our profession are still trying to discourage new nurses from going into mental health, but fortunately we psych nurses are not afraid to "think different." I've been a psych nurse (staff nurse, APRN & faculty) for over 30 years & can't imagine a more interesting career. The ability to analyze human behavior we hone in our practice comes in handy in leadership, too. Best of luck in your career--keep us posted! Beth Phoenix

04-07-2014 08:13 PM

Hi Jasmine and Amanda. I read your comments and just had to write! We are kindred spirits...although my spirit (and everything else!) is much older than either of yours. Like you, I did not see the need for working in med surge before going to psychiatry, and Like you, faced all the questions about why I'd want to work on a psychiatric unit. That was in 1975. Aside from prison settings, I've worked everywhere that psychiatric mental health nursing care is delivered. I've been an APRN since the mid-1980s, first as a CNS and now as a PMHNPin private practice and as an Associate Professor of Nursing a the university of California San Francisco. I've never lost my passion for psychiatric nursing. As you point out Amanda, there is much to learn. On that note, You may be interested in an article that will come out in the next JAPNA by psychiatric nursing leaders Kathy Delaney and Mary Johnson on the role of psychiatric inpatient nurses. I just read it, and it's excellent.
I wish you oth continued success in your careers!
Kathy Johnson

04-04-2014 12:47 PM

Hi Jasmine. Welcome to APNA!
I had a very similar experience that you did. As a Nurse Practitioner I continue to struggle with these similar comments. I appreciate that I have less experience as a practicing nurse, but work hard and am in an environment that is supportive and encourages growth. The expert staff nurses teach me a lot everyday, but I also come with new knowledge and techniques. We can all learn from each other in the nursing world at all levels. Best of Luck!