Getting my BS in Nursing was the most challenging academic experience of my life. It involved learning the foundational knowledge undergirding nursing practice, and this body of knowledge was all new to me. Everything else is built on this foundation. There was so much content to learn and digest. The information overload created much stress. There is also the stress a nursing student feels when treating a patient for the first time. There is a real fear of potentially harming the patient one is trying to help. First year nursing students go through this feeling of insecurity and it is tough to overcome – but, in the end, it is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do and well worth the struggle.
Psychiatric-mental health nurses work in a variety of settings including acute care, day care and mental health specialty hospitals. In addition, PMH positions are available at drug rehab facilities or community centers. Many nurses experience psychiatric mental health through clinical rotations during initial training. Since this can be a limited experience based on availability, you may wish to volunteer at a PMH setting to see if this is a good fit for your skills and psychiatric facilities or units will hire nurses without experience in the specialty. If you choose this route, be sure to select a position that has a comprehensive orientation program, which focuses on the types of patients for whom you will be caring.