SpecialtyClinical Nurse Specialist
As a girl, I had the desire to be a nurse, but thought it unachievable. My female role models were not career women, and no one in my family had attended college. But I was accepted to my state university, did well, and asked to transfer into nursing. This began my 28-year nursing career. I also had an interest in psychology, but believed "a degree in psychology and a dime could get you a cup of coffee." I knew with nursing, I would always have a job. What I didn't know was that there were psychiatric nurses. Nurses bring the biological bases to their care of patients with mental illness, like psychiatrists. As a clinical nurse specialist--a position which requires a Master's in Psychiatric Nursing--I am licensed to do individual, marriage and family therapy, and, in most states, I can prescribe medications. It has been fascinating to me to see the advances we have made in the area of psychopharmacology. I also teach and write about psychiatry. I love the variety that being a psychiatric nurse has brought to my life. If you feel the calling to be a counselor or therapist, consider nursing as your entry. Nursing training will give you a broad knowledge base, and you will have many varied opportunities. I guarantee it!