SU Psych = Great Preparation for a Career in Psychiatry
If you’re interested in doing both medicine management and therapy, consider pursuing a Master’s in Psychiatric Nursing through an “alternate entry” program like I did. SU’s psych major provides an excellent foundation, and in only 3 years, you’ll be ready to practice psychiatry in a mental health facility or in private practice.
Although a lot of psychology majors know as an undergrad that they want to be a therapist some day, I had no idea! I loved social psychology and research methods (my honor’s thesis, “Running in the family or swimming in the gene pool: The role of family history and genetic risk in individuals’ illness perceptions, was published in the Journal of Health Psychology), but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Fortunately, my excellent research training at SU helped me get my first post-graduation job analyzing client satisfaction data at a local health clinic in Georgetown. I found that I loved interacting with the patients and wanted to work with them more directly, so I applied to and was accepted in UT’s alternate entry Master’s Program in Nursing. During a mental health rotation, I fell in love with psychiatric nursing, so after earning my BS in Nursing the first year, I took a break from school to work for a year in a psychiatric residential treatment facility for children. I had a great experience, and knew then that I wanted a career that involved practicing therapy and medication management with children and adolescents. Currently, I work in private practice four days per week, and I spend the fifth day at the Austin Children’s shelter. I feel like this career gives me the best of both worlds—I can prescribe medication like psychiatrists can, but I also have an excellent psychology background for therapy, like clinicians and counselors. Many SU students have since gone into UT’s alternate entry master’s program in Family Psych/Mental Health Nursing; I encourage you to check it out: http://www.utexas.edu/nursing/academics/gr_con.html#psych.