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How difficult is it to transition from working as a psych nurse in a psychiatric hospital to an ER nurse? I’ve been a psych nurse since I graduated in 2019, and I’m ready for a change. TIA!

March 31st, 2022

You would need to be ready to learn a lot of skills. Where psych nursing is a lot of listening and assessing for medication side effects etc.

In ER nursing, you would have to learn how to draw blood, start IVs, hook people up to a heart monitor or oxygen. I loved working in the ER but I did that first almost right our of nursing school. You have to learn assessment skills quickly so that you can determine if a person is in a critical emergency situation or not.

You can definitely move into the ER but realize that if you've never done it before you'll be going in as "entry level" and you would want to make sure that the ER has the capacity to train, teach and mentor you as a new ER nurse. Once you've worked in the ER you can do almost anything. GO FOR IT.

April 2nd, 2022

Having psych experience is great!

We spend quite a bit of time figuring out placement for psych patients as the ER isn’t a psych ward, but if you’re lucky and it’s a rainy day, then rejoice! The ED will become a psych ward before you know it.

But in all seriousness, most psych patients I’ve encountered in the ED present with suicidal ideation but it’s usually secondary to drug use and they just want to get away from the elements, namely the rain and cold weather. When they’re interviewed by the clinician, they have no concrete plans, they’re just really vague and it’s funny how their ideation subsides as soon as they have a bed and breakfast. Malingering is the word that comes to mind.

I believe this will be a great transition for you as you will most likely be a great communicator which is a great skill to have in ED nursing.

April 18th, 2022

It can be problematic. Each hospital will decide based on need, collective experience, and you may be required to take general medical refresher course

May 29th, 2023

It will be a difficult but not impossible change, I had a coworker decide to leave psych for the ER. One big advantage you'll have is knowing how to deal with psych pt's coming into the ER. Where I worked most of the RN's in the ER had issues dealing with psych patients and psych nurses.However, that's another story.I left step down ICU and went into psych( and never looked back) and I know how to do everything from Admission to Discharge including Utilization Review for Psych. 35 of my 40 yrs in nursing has been in Psych. I did the opposite of my classmates and went to step down ICU to make use of the skills I learned in school......then to psych to learn those skills.

May 22nd, 2023

Any hospital will give you an extensive orientation.

February 7th, 2023

You will need to be good at starting IVs, Sepsis protocols, Stroke protocols, and STEMI protocols to name a few. Knowing how to read EKGs helps. You care for patients from the cradle to the grave and you need to be good at clustering your care quickly and compassionately. It is fast-paced and you need to adapt to a crisis quickly. The ED's adage is to "turn 'em and burn 'em" or "treat 'em and street 'em" It's about throughput as quickly as you can. You may also want to become Trauma Certified if your ED has Trauma Bays, just to name a few. Good luck!

October 15th, 2022

I worked in an critical care trauma unit for 20 years then went to psyche... totally different, whole new set of skills and stresses, you will probably have to intern first but it might be fun if you like the adrenaline rush and are fast on your feet.

July 23rd, 2022

Psych to ED will likely be a drastic change. I've never worked in a psych unit, but I have worked in an ED that took in psych patients for observation. An ED is a busy place. As soon as you discharge a patient home or transfer one to the unit, another is right there. 4:1 ratio where I worked. Assigned rooms were clustered close together. I walked 4-5 miles a shift. Many nights I barely got time to use the restroom. Many mornings, at the end of my shift, I walked out of the building eating my lunch. I didn't leave the ED due to the workload. I left due to POOR management and very little precepting. I didn't know what I needed to know, had to learn it on my own. I also graduated in 2019 and the job in the ED was my first. I've not tried working in an ED at any other facility. Somewhere else would have to have been better than my experience. Good luck to you if you decide to make a change. Jumping in is the only way you'll know if it's something you'll like.