Inroads, crossroads

Im having one of what I'm sure will be many professional development conundrums, maybe you can help:

My goal is to get into critical care (ED or ICU), but I need to get into a med/surg unit for a couple years until I take on that kind of challenge. The local hospitals are all either extremely competative for Graduate Nurse positions, or else I don't fit in with their local "culture" and get catty/evasive responses from HR drones. I feel I should point out that I personally think I'm great at interviewing, although in the past I've mainly interviewed for sales and engineering jobs.

Anyway, at the large state mental hospital that I've been writing about previously, it seems like RNs, instructors and administrators alike think I'd fit in great there and actively want me to work there. 50ish an hour. Boosh. I think I'd be great at it, and I think a lot of the computer skills I'll bring with me will really help out the RNs a great deal.

The thing is, the longer I spend in the Forensic Psych setting, it seems like I'll be getting further and further from my goal of critical care and DNP. I feel like I'm barely keeping my shiz together in acute med/surg clinicals as it is, and the problem is that I don't get enough -practice-. I can't pick this up doing it a couple times a week, with training wheels on. I need to be doing this every day to really pick up the skills I'm after. It doesn't seem like I'll get those in a forensic psych setting (or general psych, or even acute detox).

Still, There's valuable experience that I was planning on gaining in Psych at some point anyway, and if they really want me there right out of school, why fight it? Maybe its better this way, my classmates who are jumping right into the technically challenging nursing fields already have LPN or PCT experience, which I lack. Maybe this is just a way I can ease myself into practice.

I don't want to get stuck there, is the thing, and state forensic nursing jobs are sweet, sweet deals. Benefits, pay, vacation, any way you want to measure it, I'll be taking a Big Cut when I resume persuing my professional goals, which include Travel and trying out a lot of different fields (I'm a Synthesizer, at heart, it's true).

What I know for sure is that I can't do nothing, and if this is what I'm stuck with, I'll try to make the best of it.

What I need to know is how to leverage this into furthering my goals. If I took a per-diem med/surg job I think I'd have the same problem I'm having now in clinicals. A couple days a week isn't enough to really make the techniques and flow sink in for me. I really want to get certified as a paramedic anyway, maybe doing that while I'm a Psych RN will help build my assessment skills and prepare me for a critical-care RN role.

Thoughts? Criticisms?


Lauren said...

Hmmm... I understand why you're reluctant to take the job in fear of becoming side-tracked, but don't you think that despite the nice benefits and pay, you'll revert back to critical care if that is the field you truly want to get in to? And hey, what's the big fault if you get into psych, you love it and stay? I do understand where you're coming from though.

by: PM, SN said...

Yeah, I hate the idea of becoming too specialized, and I'd feel dishonest if I just used this as a stepping stone, because I think I can make a positive impact here. Plus, being able to retire with full benefits at the age of 46 is rather appealing..

In any event, it's been my intention for some time to join you EMS folk, partially because of my friend at jackofhares.blogspot.com, and the rest of the EMS blogging community. So, maybe I'll just satisfy my critical-care itch that way! Emergency will always be there, and more likely than not some psych experience will hold me in good stead.

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

I think that even a short stint in Psych can only do you some good. Critical care and ER settings is where the "crazy people" (no derision meant) come to first. You need at least a year of Med/Surg to get your time management skills honed and then specialize. That way if you ever want to go back to Med/Surg, you won't drown there. Hang in!