My Psych Nursing Story - T.P.

APNA News: The Psychiatric Nursing Voice  |  March 2016 Members' Corner Edition

This month, we hear from a nurse whose time in the Navy influenced his decision to go into psychiatric-mental health:

Nursing was not my planned career. I joined the active duty Navy out of high school and saw myself in a military career. After deciding to get out at 21, I went back home and within two years began working as a corrections officer. I did not particularly like the work, but with only a high school diploma (and poor grades), it paid the bills. During my time in the Navy, I met and married a nurse.

"I received the post-9/11 GI bill. This would be instrumental in paying for nursing school."

After 18 years of being a corrections officer, I decided to try to go back to school. I had also joined the Air National Guard after the Navy in 1989. The Air Force called me to active duty after September 11th as a bomb tech.  Due to being activated, I received the post-9/11 GI bill. This would be instrumental in paying for nursing school. I started my prerequisites in 2004, and finally became an RN in 2011.

I spent my first three years on a med-surg floor honing my basic nursing skills. I recently transferred to psychiatric services while starting my BSN. Because of my many years as a corrections officer (jailer), I dealt with many people with severe mental illnesses. I was also seeing the mental health effects of years of war on my military peers (similar to my stepfather from the Vietnam War). I hope to start my DNP next fall to become a psychiatric NP. My ultimate goals is to go to work at the VA in a PTSD treatment program.

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